Take time to welcome everyone back after the holidays (over drinks or snacks if possible), then discuss the following question.
Over this term we’re looking at a series from the Bible’s song book, the Psalms, as we seek to navigate life together looking to God in the variety of seasons we face.
Ask for a volunteer to read Psalm 1 to the group, praying a short prayer that, however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together
The imagery within Psalm 1 contrasts two groups of people.
The psalmist divides humanity into two groups, ‘the righteous’ and ‘the wicked’. On first reading we may think this refers to their morality or behaviour.
Unlike most of the Psalms, Psalm 1 is not itself a prayer. It’s a meditation on the Psalms themselves.
The word ‘law’ (Hebrew torah) is used in a range of ways in the Bible, and comes from the verb ‘to teach.’ Sometimes ‘law’ refers precisely to the first five books of the Bible (such as in Luke 24:44). Elsewhere the term clearly refers to other words from God (see Isaiah 1:10). In the Psalms, ‘law’ most commonly refers to the whole Bible, including the Psalms that follow.
In English, the word ‘instruction’ helps us grasp the sense of the Hebrew word. Whilst we associate ‘law’ with restriction, the psalmist’s sense is more positive: God’s ‘instruction’ helps us learn the truth about him and the way the world works.
The type of meditation the psalmist speaks about in verse 2 isn’t related to that found in some Eastern religions. Meditation in Eastern religions is associated with emptying your mind, but biblical meditation refers to digging down deep into truth.
To meditate, then, is to think deeply about what God has said to us in the Bible, personally internalising all that God says is true. The instruction to meditate ‘day and night’ doesn’t mean God expects his people to read the Bible 24 hours a day. Rather, God is calling his people to let Scripture sink so deeply into their hearts that his word becomes integral to their thinking.
Here how’s Ray Ortlund puts it: “The message of Psalm 1 is clear. If you want to worship God, shut the distractions out and pick up your Bible. Open it, read it, believe it, meditate on it, delight in it, obey it. God will show you Christ. He will refresh you and help you, from now on into eternity, by the power of grace. It is that simple, that profound.”
Psalm 1:1 shows us that we can allow different voices and influences to shape us.
Spend some time praying as a group asking God to help everyone, wherever they’re at, to experience the goodness of allowing God’s word to shape their lives.
Drought is common in the Middle East, where this psalm was composed. The psalmist knew that it is important to find true refreshment when times are arid.
Thank You – Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
Ask – Ask those who are new to reading the Bible if they’d like to explore Uncover, a set of sessions in Mark’s Gospel, allowing them to investigate one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life alongside one of you.
Church and CU – What does the CU have planned ahead? And what help would group members value in finding a local church?
Others – Who else could you invite to join your CU Impact Group next week? These friends don’t need to be followers of Jesus and may really appreciate being invited.
See You Soon – Tell the group where and when you’ll meet next week, and arrange who will bring snacks. (You might like to alternate healthy and less healthy weeks!). See if anyone would be up for sharing a meal or just hanging out in the meantime!
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