Lesson 12, Series 2, Psalm 34, Lectio Divina

Psalm 34 (NLT)

I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

PREPARATION

Sit in a quiet place with your Bible and journal.  Before you begin to read, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on being in the presence of God—in the quiet.  Take a few moments to quiet your heart and mind and enter into a time of listening to God.

LECTIO

Read through the entire Psalm, aloud if possible.  As you read, mark the sections that stand out to you.  Return to these sections and read through them a second time, more slowly.  Highlight or note in your journal the words or phrases that speak to you.

MEDITATIO

Return to the words or phrases that you highlighted.  Repeat them several times, letting the message seep into your heart.  Reflect on why these words caught your attention and record your thoughts in your journal.  Be open to what God is saying to you.

ORATIO

This Psalm speaks about justice, and praises God for being a God who carries out justice.  We can find comfort and hope in the fact that we worship and serve a God who cares about the injustices in the world.  As you spend time in prayer, consider situations of injustice and evil in the world that you are aware of and bring them before God in prayer.  Be sensitive to what the Spirit is bringing to your attention.

CONTEMPLATIO

As you complete your study today, spend some time in silence.  Consider a situation of injustice or evil that bothers your conscience and make a decision to pray about that situation every day.  Ask God how you can be an instrument in the Kingdom.

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