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 into your life! Expect great things!
Preparation for 14th Sunday After Pentecost
Your love has brought us together, O Lord, and it is your love that sustains us through each day.
We pray that you will keep us faithful.
Even as we watch for signs of your kingdom, strengthen us to work with you to bring about, here and now, your reign on earth.
Give us the courage to witness to your presence in the world, today, tomorrow, and into the future.
We pray in the name of the One who comes, Christ our Savior. Amen.
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes)
- Share one word to describe how it is with your soul today.
- In pairs of 2 share your experience you’ve been a part of a revival? What was the experience like?
Scripture: Psalm 85 (New International Version)
1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.[b]
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
The land of Canaan was given to Israel as part of God’s covenant with them. The repetition of the word “land” in Psalm 85 is significant (v. 1, 9, 12). God chose Israel to be His treasured possession and gave them the land. But when they broke the terms of the covenant, God took the land away from them. So, all of the psalmist’s prayers in Psalm 85 are centered around the covenant relationship—either lamenting its brokenness or hoping for its restoration. In Jesus, God has made a new covenant with His people. This time that covenant is between God and people from every tribe and tongue who confess Jesus is Lord. So, the hope of “righteousness and peace” kissing each other, is fulfilled on the cross, and seals for us a New Covenant.
1. In the first three verses of Psalm 85, the psalmist looks back on the blessings his people had received from the hand of God in the past—the tangible blessings, but especially the forgiveness of their sins. As you think about your own life, what blessings have you received from God?
2. The psalmist prays “restore us again… revive us again.” What does He mean? And what would it look like for us, as Christians, to experience revival today?
3. One of the many glorious truths of the gospel is that the righteousness of God and the mercy of God “kiss” or find their perfect balance in one act. Yet for many of us, we tend to view God more through one lens or the other—either God as righteous Judge or God as merciful Savior. Which do you tend toward? Why is that? What can we do as a group to better keep both truths in mind?
4. Verses 10-13 describe a future hope for the psalmist and the people of God at a time before Jesus came to earth. Jesus’ incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension were phase one of that glorious future hope. For those of us living now, between Christ’s first and second coming, how would you describe our future hope?
5. How does the cross impact the way you view yourself? How does it change not only your identity, but also your self-image? How does it change the way you view other people?