0 12 mins 4 weeks

5.6 Summary
In the fifth lesson, “Singing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land,” the focus is on Psalms that describe the experience of God’s children in the midst of suffering, injustice, and the challenge of evil. Various Psalms illuminate the emotional journey of the psalmists through crises, doubts, and the search for comfort and hope. Summary of Key Themes:

  1. Dealing with Suffering and Crises:
    • The Psalms reflect the real challenges faced by believers, whether it’s personal suffering, the presence of evil in the world, or the apparent absence of God.
  2. God’s Action in the Midst of Evil:
    • The Psalms emphasize the certainty that God acts in the midst of suffering and injustice. They call for hope in God’s justice even when evil seems to temporarily prosper.
  3. Change of Perspective in the Sanctuary:
    • A central aspect is the change of perspective that occurs in the sanctuary. There, the psalmists recognize God’s sovereignty and gain insight into God’s greater plans despite present challenges.
  4. Trust in God’s Character:
    • The Psalms encourage trusting in God’s character and faithfulness despite apparent injustice. The promises of God’s judgment and justice provide comfort and hope.
  5. Confession, Repentance, and Hope:
    • The psalmists confess their folly, seek repentance, and turn back to God. This leads to a deep hope based on the certainty that God hears their prayers and acts justly.
  6. Redemption through Christ:
    • The lesson concludes with a look at redemption through Christ. The certainty that Christ will return to establish justice gives believers hope and comfort amid challenges. Overall, the lesson “Singing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land” teaches the importance of holding onto God’s sovereignty amid difficulties, hoping in His justice, and relying on the hope of redemption through Christ. The change of perspective in the sanctuary and trust in God’s character are at the center of these instructive Psalms.

Comfort and Hope: Psalms as Companions in Daily Life

The lesson “Singing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land” has several relevant connections to our everyday lives and faith:
  1. Dealing with Suffering:
    • Psalms remind us that suffering and challenges are a natural part of life. In daily life, these Psalms can encourage us to bring our own difficulties before God and hope for His guidance and comfort.
  2. Change of Perspective in Crises:
    • When faced with personal crises, the lesson can inspire us to seek a change of perspective. By consciously remembering God’s sovereignty and justice, we can look beyond current difficulties to a greater hope.
  3. Trust in God’s Character in Daily Life:
    • Psalms encourage us to trust in God’s character and faithfulness in our daily lives. Regardless of the challenges we encounter, faith in God’s goodness and justice can strengthen us on our journey.
  4. Confession and Repentance:
    • In everyday life, we can learn from the psalmists to approach God honestly, confess our folly, and seek repentance. This attitude fosters a deep relationship with God and allows us to rest in His forgiveness and grace.
  5. Hope in Christ in Daily Life:
    • The certainty of redemption through Christ impacts our daily lives by providing unwavering hope. We can live each day in anticipation of Christ’s return, influencing our actions and decisions.
  6. Solidarity with the Suffering:
    • In our daily lives, we can empathize with those who suffer. The Psalms encourage expressing compassion and support while collectively hoping for God’s justice.
  7. Prayer as Communication with God:
    • Psalms are expressions of prayer, and in daily life, they remind us of the importance of communicating with God. Prayer allows us to bring our thoughts, concerns, and joys before God and maintain a deep connection with Him. Overall, the themes of this lesson provide practical applications for our daily lives and faith. They encourage us to trust in God’s sovereignty and justice amid the highs and lows of life, relying on the hope in Christ.

Discussion Questions:

1.What tensions did the psalmists experience in the face of evil? What similar tensions have you experienced, and how have you dealt with them? How do you maintain your faith in these times?

The psalmists experienced various tensions in the face of evil, as evident in the Psalms. Some of these tensions include:

  1. Feeling of God’s absence: The psalmists sometimes felt abandoned by God or experienced apparent absence, leading to deeper spiritual tension.
  2. Injustice in the world: Observing injustice and the triumph of the wicked created tension between God’s justice and the apparent lack of punishment for evil.
  3. Personal suffering: Some Psalms describe personal suffering, whether through illness, persecution, or other forms of distress. This tension between pain and God’s goodness was often prominent.
  4. Doubts and tests of faith: The psalmists had times of doubt and testing of their faith, leading to internal tension between trust and uncertainty.

Similarly, many people have experienced similar tensions:

  1. Feeling of God’s distance: In times of difficulty or loss, believers may feel that God is distant. This creates tension between the desire for divine closeness and the perceived absence.
  2. Injustice in the world: Observing injustice and suffering can raise questions about God’s justice, creating tension between understanding God’s sovereignty and desiring a just world.
  3. Personal suffering: Illness, loss, or personal challenges create tension between trusting in God’s goodness and experiencing hardship.
  4. Doubt and faith tests: Phases of doubt or personal challenges can lead to internal tension between faith and the search for answers.

Dealing with these tensions and maintaining faith often requires:

  • Prayer and community: Communication with God and interaction with other believers offer comfort and a change in perspective.
  • Biblical reflection: Immersing oneself in biblical texts, including the Psalms, can be a source of encouragement and wisdom.
  • Self-examination and humility: The willingness to examine one’s heart and beliefs allows for a deep understanding of God’s ways.
  • Hope in Christ: Awareness that Christ is the source of hope and redemption helps maintain faith in challenging times.
  • Perseverance and patience: Understanding that God’s timetable is often different than human understanding requires perseverance and patience in the faith journey.

Individual experiences and coping strategies may vary, but the connection to God, the Bible, and the community of believers plays a crucial role in navigating these tensions.

 

2.Where should we seek answers when our faith in God is tested by trials or by people whose own suffering leads them to question the goodness and power of God?

When our faith in God is tested, especially by trials or by people whose own suffering causes them to question the goodness and power of God, we can seek answers in various areas:

  1. The Bible:
    • The Holy Scripture is a central source for answers to questions of faith. The Bible contains numerous texts addressing suffering, the goodness of God, and the challenges of faith. For example, Psalms, the Book of Job, the New Testament letters, and the teachings of Jesus provide insights into these topics.
  2. Prayer and Relationship with God:
    • In prayer, we can bring our questions, doubts, and challenges directly to God. A deeper relationship with God allows us to seek understanding in dialogue with Him and be guided by His Spirit.
  3. Community of Believers:
    • Engaging with other believers and participating in communities provide opportunities to share experiences and learn from one another. The diversity of faith stories and the support of the community can be strengthening and encouraging.
  4. Theological Teachings and Sermons:
    • Theological resources and sermons can contribute to understanding theological perspectives on suffering and God’s character. Theologians and preachers often provide explanations of biblical teachings that can help clarify difficult questions.
  5. Christian Literature:
    • Books and articles by Christian authors addressing matters of faith and theological themes can offer additional perspectives and insights.
  6. Historical Theologians and Faith Role Models:
    • The teachings and experiences of past theologians and faith role models can be inspiring and instructive. Their writings and life stories can provide wisdom and encouragement in times of doubt.
  7. Pastoral Care:
    • Seeking help from pastors or spiritual mentors can be an important resource. These individuals can offer personal support and guidance, helping to navigate individual challenges of faith.

It is essential to seek balanced and biblically grounded answers from these sources. Additionally, maintaining humility, being led by the Holy Spirit, and being open to growth in faith, even when not all questions can be fully answered, are helpful attitudes in such times.

 

3.How do you answer the frequently asked question about evil in a world created and sustained by an all-powerful God of love? How does the Great Controversy motif help address this challenging question—at least partially?
The question about evil in a world created and sustained by an all-powerful God of love is a profound and complex issue that has long occupied theologians and believers. The Great Controversy motif, present in various religious traditions, including Christian doctrine, seeks to address this challenging question, at least in part. Here are some possible approaches:
  1. Free Will and Responsibility:
    • The concept of free will emphasizes that God has granted humans the freedom to choose between good and evil. Evil arises from the decisions of free moral agents (both humans and angels) rather than from a lack of God’s goodness.
  2. Influence of Satan and Evil Forces:
    • The Great Controversy motif depicts a conflict between God and Satan, involving fallen angels and malevolent powers. These rebellious forces seek to undermine God’s creation and are sources of evil in the world.
  3. Necessity of Testing and Maturation:
    • Some theological approaches underscore that trials and challenges, including the existence of evil, are necessary for spiritual growth. In such trials, the character and loyalty of created beings are revealed.
  4. God as Judge and Redeemer:
    • The idea that God acts as a judge, and that there will be a final judgment where evil is defeated, provides hope. God’s redemptive work through Christ enables the overcoming of evil, ushering in a new creation.
  5. Limited Human Perspective:
    • The Bible teaches that God’s thoughts and ways are superior, and human perspective is limited. There might be things beyond our complete understanding, and trust in God’s actions and promises is emphasized.
  6. Call to Love and Justice:
    • The Christian commandment of love and justice encourages believers to actively combat evil and be part of the solution. The community of believers is urged to bring light into the world.
The Great Controversy motif underscores an active conflict between good and evil, explaining the reality of suffering and challenges. Simultaneously, it assures believers of the certainty that God will ultimately triumph. This perspective can contribute to understanding certain aspects of the question of evil and provides hope for a future where evil is overcome.