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Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it, one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. Here at “Word For Life Says,” I want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons and my personal summary notes that I use when teaching. May God bless you!
“Rejoicing in Restoration”
Psalm 34:1-10; Hebrews 2:17-18
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings!
Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2014 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original tounless properly quoted/cited. I am glad you like to read my personal summary notes, musings, and thoughts that I use when teaching, but as always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well. Blessings!)
In a cave, dark and dank, is supposedly where this story takes place (according to the superscription written at the beginning of this psalm which states, “A Psalm of David, when he changed his behavior before Ahimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.”) With a musty smell invading the senses as moisture gathers on the walls and water drops may be heard echoing their song throughout, there stands a lone soul.
This cave is a place of hiding because the enemy has sought David’s life (more on this later). But, this cave is also a place of decision for David. Does he let the circumstances which caused him to be here take over and have their way with his heart, mind, and emotions? Or, does he continue in faith?
In this cave, David had to choose to believe or not to believe; to praise or not to praise. The choice was his. The choice is ours.
May something in this lesson speak encouragement to your heart and spirit that you would grab hold to faith in a new and energized faith, even in the most difficult of circumstances, and “Taste and see that the LORD is good,” for yourself and find your truest restoration in Him.
Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Praise is easy to come by when all is good, when all the wheels are turning in one’s favor. But, life doesn’t consist of all rainbows and roses; sunny days without a cloud in the sky. Some days are hard. Some days have tears. Some days have trouble. And, some days have doubts.
Being actively pursued by an enemy is one of those troubling times David faced. As if in a weird game of cat and mouse, David was repeatedly forced to run for his life and hide as King Saul chased him down wherever he went.
Fleeing to find refuge elsewhere, David went to “Achish the king of Gath,” (1 Samuel 21:10; note: Achish is another name used in the place of Ahimelech which we see written in the superscription noted above). But, instead of being able to blend in unnoticed, David unintentionally caught the attention of the servants of Achish.
The truth was, David had a reputation. First, he is known as the one who struck down the mighty champion of the Philistine army, Goliath, and killed him, who also happened to be from this very city where David was attempting to hide in now (see 1 Samuel 17:23). Secondly, when David fought with his fellow countrymen against the Philistines at the command of Saul, and returned home victorious, the women sang songs, saying, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands,” (1 Samuel 18:5-7; 21:11). Therefore, when he entered Gath, David was recognized.
Upon hearing that his identity was exposed and realizing he might not be as safe here as he thought, David became afraid (1 Samuel 21:12) and literally acted like a madman in front of everyone. “He changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard,” (1 Samuel 21:13; compare to the superscription above in Psalm 34).
David put on a very convincing show that saved his life. He was released from there and “escaped to the cave Adullam,” (1 Samuel 21:14-22:1) where it is believed by many this psalm was penned.
After not just this trying ordeal, but in all that he has been through, David knows that God is worthy to praised. And, not just in times of blessings and prosperity, peace and good fortune. Even in the dark caves of life; even on the run for his life; even when he feels dejected, rejected, and neglected by others – he declared, “I will bless the LORD at all times.”
David could not see a time when God wasn’t worthy to praised. For David, that time didn’t exist. David has always been a praiser and he wasn’t going to let times of affliction stop him now. Therefore, he says, “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
“His praise” must be emphasized here. What David was writing and singing about were not just random words to a rich melody done at the moving of his heart. No, this was so much more. This exaltation was for God. This sweet anthem recognizes who David, and we, stand before in the good times and the bad, and it is He that is worthy to be praised. This is “His praise!” All glory always belongs to Him, no matter what.
Yes, there will be days of tears and days of trouble, but there will never be a day when God is not worthy to be praised.
Psalm 34:2 “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.”
With that, David declared, “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD.” There is nothing in our human flesh and ingenuity worth boasting about, and David knew that. Even the Apostle Paul taught in the New Testament, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord,” (1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17).
Anything one can do or have is because God has made provision for it or allowed it to be so, right down to our very salvation, deliverance in a cave experience, or with just day to day life. All glory goes to God. He is our boast. He is our reason to praise! He is the focus of our worship!
It is even through the difficult days, when one decides that they are going to still praise and honor God, that they are actually acknowledging Him in His sovereignty over all. David says in essence, “My soul celebrates God in everything!”
“The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” Likeminded praisers don’t mind getting happy about God! The opposite of “humble” is prideful. Those who are prideful won’t acknowledge anything outside of self to be worthy of acclaim. But, the humble gets on board with letting God be the center of praise, and they are “glad” as the truth of Him rings out.
Psalm 34:3 “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
We use the word “magnify” to mean to enlarge. We can’t make God bigger than He already is. 1 Kings 8:27 declare, “The heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.” But, we can exalt and praise Him – we can lift His name up at the joy of what He is doing in the lives of His people. We can make our praise of Him bigger than the circumstances we face. We can make our praise of Him grow and grow until it affects the lives of those around us. Through our worship, we can’t help but to enlarge His territory and gain back spiritual ground in the lives of those who witness what God is doing in us. So, David encourages those who hear this song to, “Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” God’s people are invited to corporately worship Him together!
We allow things to grow when we feed them properly. In the hard times, it is easy to pay attention to and be filled up with things that shouldn’t be getting so much attention from us. But, David chooses to do something different. Instead of making his problems bigger, he made God bigger by determining to magnify the Lord through it all!
If you feed faith, faith with grow. If you feed into the fear, then fear will grow. Which one will you choose to magnify today?
Psalm 34:4-7 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
David had a prayerful heart and he knew where to take everything he faced. He said, “I sought the LORD.” When he tried other avenues of deliverance he found none (as the superscription notes), but when he turned to God, “he heard me,” David declared.
Sincere prayer reaches the ears of God. In an article I previously published titled, Know That God Hears, I wrote:
“God has so many wonderful characteristics and attributes, but one of the things that always strikes me as impressive is the fact that He hears my prayers, Psalm 54:2. In all lowliness of mind and heart, we come before Him freely. The Sovereign of the universe becomes attentive to us, to our needs, and bows down His ear to take on our concerns. He doesn’t have to, but He is mindful of us, Psalm 8:4. He centers Himself to focus wholly and completely on us.”
But, the wonderful thing David noted is that not only did God hear him, but He “delivered me from all my fears.” In the same article noted above, it goes on to say:
“God responds! Our deepest heart’s desires do not fall on deaf ears. God is not playing cat and mouse with us. He wants us to seek Him that He may be found. “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near,” (Isaiah 55:6, NKJV). Then, He can respond!” (WordForLifeSays.com)
When hearts are earnestly seeking after Him, He responds! How awesome is that!
And, this is not just for David alone. David joyfully exclaimed, “They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed” pointing to others outside of himself. Any who look to God, any who have Him as their focus and their soul pursuit, will not be put to shame. Rather, they will radiate with the joy of knowing God is on their side and with them through it all.
Therefore, no matter how dim, gloomy and bleak it may seem, we are not in this alone. We have a Strength that is beyond our human capabilities. We have a Force fighting for us that cannot be reckoned with by human standards. We have the one and only true God and He is on our side! We are looking to Him, and we are not ashamed!
“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed,” (Romans 10:11; see also Romans 9:33). Look to Him and shine without shame!
While expressing the poorness of his state, which could refer to his humble background, present troubles he is in, or even his spiritual state, David once again made it known that through “all his troubles,” regardless of their origin in life, “the LORD heard him, and saved him out” of them all. God brought him through even the toughest of situations that he is facing now and has faced in the past. David knows he didn’t do it himself, but rather recognizes God’s hand, mercy, and power working through even the difficult times of life.
He goes on praising God for His protection by stating, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” God has spiritual forces in line for the protection of His people!
In another article titled, God Fights for His People, and Wins, I wrote:
“Sometimes I don’t think we really understand the scope of God’s power and strength. Our God is mighty! Oh, we are used to quoting it and singing about it but do we really understand the strength behind it. For instance, when Elisha and the city he was in were faced with a multitude of warriors on horses and chariots, he was not moved. In fact, he told his servant, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them,” (2 Kings 6:16). After that, he prayed, “LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha,” (2 Kings 6:17).
There is no might that can stand against God’s might. There is no earthly or spiritual force that can contend with His awesomeness. God is surrounding His people even when we don’t see it. God is fighting for His people even when we don’t feel it. God is defending His people even when it looks like all odds are against us. Nothing can hold God back from victory. Nothing can stand in the way of the will He wants to accomplish in your life.” (WordForLifeSays.com)
David believed and knew that God protected him with the might of heaven’s army to deliver him.
Psalm 34:8-9 “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.”
Experience is everything. Many people can talk about knowing God from an external point of view, but they don’t know Him for their selves deep on the inside. They haven’t experienced the depths of intimacy involved in being in a real relationship with God (for more encouragement see my article, The God We Feel).
David had experience with God. Even before he was on Saul’s radar he had encounters that let him know that God was there for him. There was a time when he faced off with a bear and lion and came out victorious (1 Samuel 17:34-35).
God Himself dubbed David to be “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will,” (Acts 13:22) because of his walk with Him. David was not a stranger to God. He was a frequent worshipper, a frequent prayer-er, and frequently inclined to look to God, do what He said, walk with Him, and guide his life by His holy standards.
David knows what it’s like to get hooked up with God and let that hookup be your life foundation. With that, he calls others to reach out and try Him for yourself. Don’t let this moment or day go by without knowing and experiencing God on that same personal level David did. He encouraged them to, “Taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (compare 1 Peter 2:3).
God is good (see Psalm 100:5; Nahum 1:7; Matthew 19:17) and God does good (see Psalm 119:64; Genesis 1)! God cannot separate Himself from who He is and what He does. And, David wants people to know it, taste it, experience it for themselves!
For “there is no want to them that fear him.” As in previous lessons, when we are talking about fearing God in this sense we are talking about that reverential respect that we are to show Him, to highly esteem Him for who He is and to walk with His principles, commandments, and statutes before one’s face. “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him,” (Acts 10:35).
The proper “fear” of the LORD is what “prolongeth days,” (Proverbs 10:27). Respectful fear of God is seen as a “fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death,” Proverbs 14:27). The “fear” of the LORD will keep one’s heart steadfastly fastened on God, thus keeping one from the inclination to follow the things of the flesh and world that promote sinning against God.
Those who put God at the focal center of their life and decisions, those who recognize the sovereignty of God over all will be supplied by Him. God provides for His people. God cares for His people. “He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them,” (Psalm 145:19; see also Psalm 23:1; Proverbs 10:24).
David has experienced the hand of God’s care over and over again, and he assures others they can to if they follow Him.
“The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” Lions are ferocious predators who are experts in hunting down their prey. But, even they will come to a point where circumstances may cause them to “lack, and suffer hunger.” But, for those that “seek the LORD” they shall be abundantly supplied with all they need. In the New Testament once again, we see the Apostle Paul backing up what David is saying here. He said, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19).
Does this mean that God is to be treated like a genie in a bottle for us to rub and expect wishes to be granted at the drop of a time? No! Unfortunately, many people misconstrue these verses to make it appear that’s the offer on the table.
What both verses are telling us is that in our time of need, God is there for us to supply for our care. We may not have all the questions of why some go without or why some faithful people appear to be in great need, but what we do have is an unfailing promise from God that He is there with us all through it all. He is the best “good thing” that anybody could ever need or hope for. When it is God we are seeking for, we shall never lack to find Him (see Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13).
God’s care for David has been very prevalent in his life up to this point and in many points after. Many of the psalms he pens are in rejoicing devotion to the great and wonderful God who has been his help through it all.
David knows what it is to be up, and he knows what it is to be down (as today’s lesson explains). He knows what it is to be favored (2 Samuel 7:11-16; Acts 13:22), and he knows what it feels like to need restoration (Psalms 32 and 51).
All humanity ultimately needs restoration to enjoy fully a relationship with God. The greatest reason for rejoicing is when we find that restoration through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jumping over to the New Testament portion of our lesson we learn exactly how that plays out.
Hebrews 2:17-18 “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
Jesus became like us to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves: permanently heal the brokenness that sin has caused between us and a holy God.
“It behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.” Jesus knows what living in the flesh, but not of the flesh, feels like (because although He was in the flesh He didn’t succumb to the temptations of the flesh – more later).
Experience is a great teacher of life. As a matter of fact, it was Albert Einstein who said, “The only source of knowledge is experience,” (Brainy Quote). Why is that? Because, unless you really have been there and done that and gone through this, you really don’t know on a personal level how it feels. Walking through this life, He didn’t withhold Himself from our infirmities. Being made like “unto his brethren,” He knows what it is to experience the very things every human being experiences daily. From birth to the day of His death, while still maintaining His divinity, He put on humanity to experience first-hand knowledge of all the woes, hurts, troubles, and cares that come with it.
Jesus stood in the gap for mankind. Jesus Christ paid the price throughout all eternity for all who believe and trust in Him. He became a “merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (compare Hebrews 7:26) by His own blood. Colossians 1:20 reaffirms this by telling us, “And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things on earth, or things in heaven.”
If heaven is your goal, the ultimate place of restoration, I’m here to tell you that Jesus is the only way there. While on earth Jesus spoke, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6). The only way to get to where God is, is through the door of Jesus Christ Himself; through accepting Him as Savior (John 10:9). There is no other way around it.
“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Not only is Jesus our High Priest, but going back to His experience in humanity, He even knows what it is to be “tempted,” yet “without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15) to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Rejoice in all that God had done and continues to do through every area of our lives.
Standard Print PDF: Rejoicing in Restoration Sunday School Lesson Summary Standard Print
Large Print PDF: Rejoicing in Restoration Sunday School Lesson Summary Lage Print
Below are activities that support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Activity Sheet: SInce many associate tasting with the tongue, I repurposed this old activity sheet to go with this week’s lesson. We can’t taste God, but we can know Him through experience. This activity sheet is just a fun way to remember our wonderful God. Use crayons, cronstruction paper, or any way your heart desires to decorate this sheet. Might I even suggest, gluing small candies to it for an extra treat (with wrapper on of course 🙂 ) Enjoy! Rejoicing in Restoration Activity Sheet
Memory Verse: Rejoicing in Restoration Memory Verse
Below are Activities/Links/Resources that support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Psalm 34:10 Children’s Activities” (With wonderful hands on activities, crafts, science experiment, and a lion video to help supplement this lesson. Enjoy!)
“Taste and See Printable” (Your students will absolutely love this sweet printable idea. Enjoy!)
“The Good Song (Psalm 34:10)” (Here you will find several printables and ideas to explore this week’s lesson with your students. Enjoy!)
“God is so Good (Psalm 34:8)” (Ideas and links for others resources will help even the youngest of students to see that God is Good! Enjoy!)
Can Dr. Suess help teach this week’s lesson? Yes! Click over to childrensministry.com and find out how Green Eggs and Ham can help you bring out Psalm 34:8. (Scroll down to the “Sharing Jesus” section for details. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Crafts for Kids” (Incorporate any one of these activities to fit with our lesson. I particularly like the “Standing Jesus Pic,” instead of writing Jesus loves me, you can write “Jesus is My Mediator.” Enjoy!)
“Our Great High Priest” (Coloring and printable activities. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Our High Priest” (Lesson helps and printables geared toward preteens. Enjoy!)