Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak in to your life! Expect great things!
Kind and gracious Lord, you are the creator of all things, the author of life, and our loving God. We thank you for your faithful presence in our lives, and we thank you for the Word of God.
As we prepare to study your Word together, we ask you to open our minds. Help us clear away the clutter and quiet any outside voices so we can hear only what you long to speak to us.
Scripture: Psalm 139 (Common English Bible)
Lord, you have examined me.
You know me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
3 You study my traveling and resting.
You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.
4 There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord,
that you don’t already know completely.
5 You surround me—front and back.
You put your hand on me.
6 That kind of knowledge is too much for me;
it’s so high above me that I can’t reach it.
7 Where could I go to get away from your spirit?
Where could I go to escape your presence?
8 If I went up to heaven, you would be there.
If I went down to the grave,[a] you would be there too!
9 If I could fly on the wings of dawn,
stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—
10 even there your hand would guide me;
even there your strong hand would hold me tight!
11 If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me;
the light will become night around me,”
12 even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you!
Nighttime would shine bright as day,
because darkness is the same as light to you!
13 You are the one who created my innermost parts;
you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb.
14 I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
15 My bones weren’t hidden from you
when I was being put together in a secret place,
when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my embryo,
and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me,[b]
before any one of them had yet happened.[c]
17 God, your plans are incomprehensible to me!
Their total number is countless!
18 If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand!
If I came to the very end—I’d still be with you.[d]
19 If only, God, you would kill the wicked!
If only murderers would get away from me—
20 the people who talk about you, but only for wicked schemes;
the people who are your enemies,
who use your name as if it were of no significance.[e]
21 Don’t I hate everyone who hates you?
Don’t I despise those who attack you?
22 Yes, I hate them—through and through!
They’ve become my enemies too.
23 Examine me, God! Look at my heart!
Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts!
24 Look to see if there is any idolatrous way[f] in me,
then lead me on the eternal path!
‘On Second Thought’ is a phrase that expresses openness to “thinking about something again.” We may think we know everything we need to know about faith in God, but every now and then, it’s important to be open to think again.
In this passage, the psalmist is thankful for being created by God and vengeful towards those he despises. This hymn writer may need to reconsider his faith!
- What is a word, phrase or image that comes to mind when you read or hear the text?
- In the first half of this passage of scripture, we find an affirmation and reminder that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made by God.” In the second half, the psalmist expresses hatred for those he despises. In the end, the writer asks God to examine his heart. What do you think God sees in this person’s prayer? Do our prayers sound like this one sometimes? Is it possible to see an enemy as “fearfully and wonderfully made, too?”
- What does this scripture teach you about pride?
- What does God invite you to do, change or be through this passage?
Discipleship Huddle Questions:
- How is it with your soul?
- How does your soul prosper?
God, who lifts up the humble, give us guidance to see how we might be part of your mission of the redemption of the world. Give us the hands of compassion to extend your love and grace. Amen.