March 26, 2023 – Psalm 119:97-168

Lesson Date: March 26, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: Psalm 119:97-168

AIM: To lead students to discover reasons the psalmist’s loved God’s Word, and to encourage them to ask God to give them greater and deeper love for the Bible.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Psalm 119:89-176 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the word “Love” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Love” written on the board.  Tell them we use that one word to express many different degrees of affection (for example, we might say, “I love football,” or “I love ice cream,” or “I love my spouse, child, or parents”).  Ask: “Which is the deeper love: your love for a hobby, a favorite food, or a person?” (your love for a person).

Ask the students to think of a person they love very much.  Ask them to silently answer the following questions concerning their love for that person.

  • “Do you spend time with that person?” Say: It’s hard to believe you really love someone if you never spend any time with them.
  • “Do you enjoy being with that person and do you look forward to time together?” Say: It’s hard to believe you really love someone if you have no desire to be with them.
  • “Do you value that person?” Say: It’s hard to believe you really love someone if you don’t think they are valuable – deserving of your time, care, and attention.
  • “Do you care about what that person thinks?” Say: It’s hard to believe you really love someone if you don’t value their opinion.
  • “Would you try to defend that person from harm or verbal attacks?” Say: It’s hard to believe you really love someone if you won’t stand up for them.
  • “Do you feel hurt or anger toward those who mistreat, slander, or overlook that person?” Say: It’s hard to believe you really love someone if you don’t care about their feelings.

Tell the class the title of today’s lesson is, Love God’s Word.  As we study Psalm 119, we will learn some of the reasons the psalmist loved God’s Word, and evaluate our love for the Bible.

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the students this is our third and final study from Psalm 119, the longest psalm, and the longest chapter in the Bible.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Lean on God’s Word; looking to the Bible for help, strength, and comfort).
    • Ask: “In what ways have you leaned on God’s Word this week?”
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Ps. 119:89).
    • In verses 89-96 the psalmist praised and desired God’s Word because it endures forever.
  2. Love God’s Word Because it is Valuable.
    • Read Psalm 119:97.
    • Ask: “How much did the psalmist love God’s Word?” (he thought about it all day long, just like a person in love thinks about the one they love).
    • Ask: “Be honest with yourself – do you think about God’s Word all day?”
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:98-102.
    • Ask: “According to verses 98-100, why did he consider God’s Word valuable?” (it gave him wisdom and understanding).
    • Tell the class that the person who knows God and His Word is wiser than the most educated of lost persons (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Eccl. 12:13).
    • Ask: “According to verse 101, what change had the Bible made in the psalmist’s life?” (it kept him from sin).
    • Tell the students that the Bible will keep us from sin, or sin will keep us from the Bible.
    • Read Psalm 119:103-104.
    • Ask: “How much did the psalmist value the Word of God?” (it was sweeter to him than honey).
    • Ask: “According to verse 104, why did he hate false ways?” (because the truth of God’s Word gave him understanding).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:105.
    • Ask: “What does the Bible do for us?” (illuminates our path).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:111-113.
    • Ask: “According to verse 111, what does God’s Word do?” (brings us joy).
    • Tell the class in verse 113 the psalmist said he hated vain (useless, empty) thoughts, but he loved God’s Word.
    • Summarize: The psalmist loved God’s Word because of its great value. We should love it for the same reason.
  3. Love God’s Word Because it is True, Pure, and Beneficial.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:127-128.
    • Ask: “According to verse 127, how much did the psalmist love God’s Word?” (more than money and fine jewelry).
    • Ask: “What did he say about God’s Word in verse 128?” (everything it says is true and right; see also verse 160).
    • Ask: “Do you have that kind of trust in the Bible?”
    • Ask: “How did the psalmist feel about false ways?” (he hated them).
    • Tell the students we live in a world that rejects the absolute truth of the Bible and clings instead to ridiculous lies; we must trust God’s Word and reject the world’s lies.
    • Read Psalm 119:129-133.
    • Ask: “According to verse 130, what benefits come from reading and believing God’s Word?” (it gives light and understanding).
    • Ask: “What’s the thirstiest you have ever been? How much did you long for a drink of water?”
    • Tell the class verse 131 says that’s the kind of desire the psalmist had for God’s Word.
    • Ask: “According to verse 133, what benefit comes from obeying God’s Word?” (it keeps us from the domination of sin).
    • Tell the students verse 133 is a prayer we ought to pray.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:136.
    • Ask: “What made the psalmist weep?” (people did not believe and obey God’s Word; see also verse 158).
    • Tell the class that many kids grow up with no exposure to the Bible, so they become adults who have no regard for Jesus or His Word; that should move us to tears and action.
    • Read Psalm 119:137-140.
    • Ask: “According to verse 140, why should we love God’s Word?” (because it is very pure).
    • Summarize: The psalmist loved God’s Word because it is true, pure, and beneficial. We should love it for the same reason.
  4. Love God’s Word Because it Helps in Times of Trouble.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:153-157.
    • Tell the class when troubles and hard times come, many people stop reading the Bible and drop out of church.
    • Ask: “According to verse 153, what did the psalmist do when he was afflicted?” (he did not forget God’s Word).
    • Ask: “In verse 154, on what basis did he ask God to deliver him?” (according to His Word).
    • Ask: “According to verse 155, what comes through God’s Word?” (salvation; see Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23).
    • Ask: “In verse 156, what did he ask on the basis of God’s Word?” (for mercy and quickening [life or renewal]; see also verse 159).
    • Ask: “According to verse 157, where did he turn when he was persecuted and attacked?” (to God’s Word).
    • Summarize: The psalmist loved God’s Word because of the help and strength it provided in times of trouble. We should love it for the same reason.
  5. Love God’s Word Because of its Awesome Power.
    • Read Psalm 119:161.
    • Explain that powerful people were persecuting the psalmist.
    • Ask: “How did he feel about God’s Word?” (he stood in awe of it).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 119:162-165.
    • Tell the class the following:
      • Verse 162 says God’s Word brings great joy.
      • Verse 163 says the psalmist hated lies but loved God’s Word because it is true.
      • Verse 164 says God’s Word is righteous.
      • Verse 165 says God’s Word brings peace and strength.
    • Read Psalm 119:166-168.
    • Tell the students the following:
      • Verse 166 says God’s Word brings hope and salvation.
      • Verses 167-168 says God’s Word teaches us how to live in a way that pleases God.
    • Summarize: The psalmist loved God’s Word because of its awesome power to bless and guide him. We should love it for the same reason.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that the title of today’s lesson is Love God’s Word.  Tell them the psalmist loved God’s Word because it is valuable, true, pure, beneficial, helps in times of trouble, and has awesome power.

Ask again the questions you asked at the beginning of class, substituting “the Bible” for “that person.”  Here are those reworded questions.

  • “Do you spend time with the Bible, reading it?” Comment that it’s hard to believe you really love the Bible if you never spend time reading it.
  • “Do you enjoy reading the Bible and look forward to time you can spend in it?” Comment that it’s hard to believe you really love the Bible if you have no desire to spend time in it.
  • “Do you value the Bible?” Comment that it’s hard to believe you really love the Bible if you don’t think it is valuable: deserving of your time, care, and attention.
  • “Do you care about what the Bible says?” Comment that it’s hard to believe you really love the Bible if you don’t value its teachings, warnings, and instructions.
  • “Would you try to defend the Bible from those who attack it?” Comment that it’s hard to believe you really love the Bible if you won’t stand up for it.
  • “Do you feel hurt or grief about those who slander, ignore, or disobey the Bible?” Comment that it’s hard to believe you really love the Bible if you don’t want others to love and obey it, too.

Tell the class that this is a very convicting Sunday School lesson: probably all of us fall short in the area of loving God’s Word, the Bible.  Tell everyone to ask God to give them greater love for the Bible, as you voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Psalm 119:105 and 128.  Encourage them to read the Bible every day (the Daily Bible Reading Guide found on pages 4-5 of their Sunday School quarterly can be a good place to start).  Suggest that they ask God every day to help them love His Word more than ever before.

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