March 19, 2023 – Psalm 119:41-88

Lesson Date: March 19, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: Psalm 119:49-56, 65-88

AIM: To lead students to discover circumstances and ways the psalmist leaned on God’s Word, and to encourage them to look to the Bible for help, strength, and comfort.


Before class: Read the notes on Psalm 119:41-88 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  If possible, bring a walker, cane, or crutch to class.  Another option (especially if you teach young adults) would be a baby walker.  If you don’t have access to one of these items, bring a picture.  Display it at the front of the class.  Have enough copies of theLean on God’s Wordhandout for your anticipated attendance.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the walker, cane, or crutch.  Ask:  “What is this?” (a walker, cane, or crutch).  Ask: “What is it used for?” (to help an elderly or injured person walk; to give them stability).  Ask: “Why do people need to use such a device?” (because they are weak or their balance is not good and they need something to lean on).  Ask: “Have you ever used one of these, and if so, why?” (because they were injured or weak).  Stress that people use walkers, canes, or crutches because they need something to lean on.

Ask: “What are some other things people lean on?” (stairway railings, walls, chairs, desks, friends).  Ask: “Have you ever experienced grief or sadness so bad that you needed to lean on a friend’s shoulder and cry?”  Tell the class that sometimes we lean on the encouragement and support provided by our friends or family.  Ask: “Again, why do we need to lean on things or people?” (because we are weak; we don’t have strength enough in ourselves to stand alone).

Tell the students the title of today’s lesson is Lean on God’s Word.  As we continue our study of Psalm 119, we will learn that the psalmist leaned on God’s Word for strength, hope, and encouragement.



  1. Review.
    • Tell the class that this is the second of three lessons on Psalm 119.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Long for God’s Word; desiring God’s Word).
    • Ask: “Have you had a greater desire or hunger for the Bible this week?”
    • Ask if any volunteers would recite last week’s memory verses (Ps. 119:9, 11).
    • Remind the students that the words law, judgments, statutes, precepts, testimonies, and commandments are all used in Psalm 119 to refer to God’s Word, the Bible.
  2. Lean on the Bible for Hope and Comfort.
    • Read Psalm 119:49-53.
    • Ask: “According to verse 49, what did God’s Word give the psalmist?” (hope).
    • Tell the class verses 50-51 reveal that the psalmist experienced affliction and persecution.
    • Ask: “According to verse 50, where did he find comfort?” (in God’s Word).
    • Ask: “According to verse 51, did he stop reading the Bible when he was afflicted?” (no).
    • Ask: “According to verse 52, what happened when he remembered God’s Word?” (he was comforted, in spite of his affliction).
    • Tell the students verse 53 reveals that the psalmist was horrified because the wicked forsook the Bible; sadly, we’re not shocked by this anymore.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:54-56.
    • Ask: “According to verse 54, what did the psalmist do to get hope and comfort from God’s Word?” (he sang it).
    • Read Ephesian 5:19-20 and Colossians 3:16.
    • Tell the class that we should try singing God’s Word when we need hope and comfort.
    • Ask: “Think of a time when you needed hope. Where did you turn for hope?  Who or what did you lean on?”
    • Ask: “Think of a time when you felt afflicted and needed comfort? Where did you turn for comfort?  Who or what did you lean on?”
    • Summarize: We can lean on the Bible for hope and comfort.
  3. Lean on the Bible in Times of Affliction.
    • Tell the class that verses 57-64 reveal that the psalmist clung to God’s Word in spite of his afflictions.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:65-68.
    • Ask: “What does verse 67 reveal about the psalmist before he experienced affliction?” (he was straying from the right path and from God’s Word).
    • Ask: “What did his afflictions cause him to lean on?” (God’s Word, the Bible).
    • Explain that sometimes God lets us go through afflictions and trouble so we will get our focus back on Him and His Word.
    • Ask: “According to verse 68, what did the psalmist learn about God during his afflictions?” (that God is good and everything He does is good).
    • Read Psalm 119:69-72.
    • Tell the students that proud and arrogant sinners crafted lies against the psalmist, but he clung to God’s Word with his whole heart.
    • Ask: “According to verse 71, the psalmist was wise enough to learn a valuable lesson through his affliction. Why did he say it was good that he had been afflicted?” (it caused him to learn God’s Word; the troubles he experienced drove him to the Bible).
    • Ask: “Do troubles drive you to the Bible, or do you lean on friends, your own reasoning, or secular counselors?”
    • Ask: “According to verse 72, how much did he value God’s Word?” (more than money).
    • Ask: “Think of a time when you went through affliction or trouble. Did that trial cause you to learn more about God and His Word?”
    • Summarize: Our trials and afflictions should drive us to lean on God’s faithful Word.
  4. Lean on the Bible for Mercy.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:73-75.
    • Ask: “According to verse 73, what did the psalmist know about God?” (He made him and fashioned him).
    • Tell the students that God created us and knows what is best for us.
    • Ask: “What did he ask for in verse 73?” (for God to give him understanding so he could learn God’s Word).
    • Tell the class verse 74 reveals that our trust in God’s Word is evident to other believers.
    • Ask: “What does verse 75 say the psalmist knew about God?” (everything He does is right and for our ultimate good; see also verse 71 and Rom. 8:28).
    • Read Psalm 119:76-80.
    • Ask: “What did he ask God for in verses 76 and 77?” (His merciful kindness and tender mercies).
    • Ask: “According to the last half of verse 76, on what basis did the psalmist ask for God’s mercy?” (on the basis of [“according to”] God’s Word).
    • Explain the following:
      • Because of God’s Word, the psalmist knew he could ask for God’s mercy.
      • He needed God’s mercy to comfort him (verse 76) and to sustain his life (verse 77).
      • Verses 77 and 78 reveal that the psalmist delighted in God’s Word and meditated upon it (Ps. 1:2).
      • Verse 80 says when our lives are grounded upon God’s Word, we will not be ashamed.
    • Ask: “Think of a time when you needed mercy. Where did you turn?  What did you lean on when you needed mercy?”
    • Summarize: We can lean on the Bible when we need God’s tender mercy.
  5. Lean on the Bible When All Else Fails.
    • Tell the class the psalmist felt desperate and almost hopeless.
    • Ask: “Have you ever felt that way?”
    • Ask them to listen as you read Psalm 119:81-88 for phrases that show how desperate and needy the psalmist was.
    • They should identify the following:
      • His soul fainted (v. 81)
      • His eyes failed (v. 82)
      • He felt dried up and useless like a leather bottle that had been smoked to a state of being dry and brittle (v. 83)
      • He felt like he was at the end of his endurance (v. 84)
      • His attackers were laying traps for him (v. 85) and persecuting him (v. 86)
      • His enemies almost killed him (v. 87)
    • Ask: “The psalmist was at a point of desperation when everything else had failed him. What did he lean on?  Where did he turn for help?” (God’s Word).
    • Lead the class through verses 81-88 once again, asking them to locate evidences of the psalmist’s dependence on, trust in, and leaning upon God’s Word.
    • They should identify the following:
      • He hoped in God’s Word (v. 81)
      • He desired God’s Word (v. 82)
      • He did not forget God’s Word (v. 83)
      • The truths of God’s Word enabled him to recognize and avoid traps (v. 85)
      • He trusted God’s Word enough to ask God for help (v. 86)
      • He clung to God’s Word (v. 87)
      • He obeyed God’s Word (v. 88)
    • Ask: “Have you ever been at a point where you felt the bottom had dropped out, your world came crashing down, and everything you had depended on failed? Where did you turn for help?  What did you lean on?”
    • Summarize: We can lean on God and His Word when all else fails.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students attention once again to the walker, cane, or crutch.  Remind them that people use these devices because they don’t have the strength or stability to stand alone; most healthy young people do not use them because they do not need them.  Tell the class we lean on things when we feel the need for strength, help, or stability.

Tell the students when the psalmist needed hope and comfort he leaned on God’s Word, when he was afflicted he leaned on God’s Word, when he needed mercy he leaned on God’s Word, and when all else failed he leaned on God’s Word.  Doing so gave him the comfort, stability, and strength he needed to stand.

Ask: “When troubles, doubts, fears, or worries come your way, what do you lean on to make it through?”  Remind the class that the title of today’s lesson is Lean on God’s Word.  We have learned today that we should lean on God’s Word in our times of trouble.  We should turn to the Bible for help.

Give everyone a copy of theLean on God’s Wordhandout.  Tell them the verses listed on the handout can give them help, strength, and encouragement in difficult times.  Note that there are also some blank lines on the handout.  Suggest that they write some of their own favorite verses on those lines.  Tell them to keep the handout in their Bibles.

Encourage everyone to lean on God’s Word.  Tell them that building our lives on the Bible in good times will enable us to lean on it when trouble comes.  Lead a closing prayer of thanksgiving for God’s Word, committing to lean on it for help, strength, comfort, assurance, and stability.


CONCLUSION: Tell the students when they see someone leaning on a cane or walker this week to remember that they need to lean on God’s Word for comfort, strength, and stability.  Ask them to memorize Psalm 119:89.  Tell them next week’s lesson is about loving God’s Word.

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