“August 15–21. Psalms 49–51; 61–66; 69–72; 77–78; 85–86: ‘I Will Declare What He Hath Done for My Soul,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“August 15–21. Psalms 49–51; 61–66; 69–72; 77–78; 85–86,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
The writers of the Psalms shared deeply personal feelings in their poetry. They wrote about feeling discouraged, afraid, and remorseful. At times, they even seemed to feel abandoned by God, and some psalms carry a tone of frustration or desperation. If you’ve ever had feelings like these, reading the Psalms can help you know that you aren’t the only one. But you’ll also find psalms that can encourage you when you’re having such feelings, because the psalmists also praised the Lord for His goodness, marveled at His power, and rejoiced in His mercy. They knew that the world is burdened by evil and sin but that the Lord is “good, and ready to forgive” (Psalm 86:5). They understood that having faith in the Lord doesn’t mean that you’ll never struggle with anxiety, sin, or fear. It means that you know Who to turn to when you do.
Reading these psalms may prompt you to ponder the ways that some people put their trust in something other than God for redemption (see Psalm 49:6–7). How is your life influenced by your testimony that “God will redeem [your] soul from the power of the grave”? (verse 15).
The pleas for mercy in Psalm 51 are attributed to King David, who was guilty of adultery and murder (see 2 Samuel 11). Even when our sins are less serious, we can relate to the need for mercy expressed in this psalm. We can also learn something about what it means to repent. For example, what words or phrases in Psalm 51 teach you about the attitude we need in order to repent? What do you learn about the effect the Savior’s Atonement can have in your life?
You might ask the same questions as you read Psalms 85–86. You could also look for phrases that describe the Lord. How do these phrases strengthen your faith that He will forgive you? (see, for example, Psalm 86:5, 13, 15).
Ponder how you gained your testimony of Jesus Christ and His atoning power. Then, as you study Psalms 51:13–15; 66:16–17; 71:15–24, think about how you can invite others to “come and see the works of God” (Psalm 66:5). What does it mean to you to “talk of [His] righteousness all the day long”? (Psalm 71:24). How will you tell others “what he hath done for [your] soul”? (Psalm 66:16).
Several psalms describe, in vivid language, what it’s like to feel distant from God and to desperately need His help. You might consider looking for such descriptions in Psalms 63:1, 8; 69:1–8, 18–21; 77:1–9. What do you find in Psalms 63; 69; 77–78 that gave these psalmists reassurance?
When you are distressed, how does it help you to “remember the works of the Lord” and His “wonders of old”? (Psalm 77:11). Some of those wonders are described in Psalm 78. As you read about them, ponder what helps you “set [your] hope in God” (verse 7). What experiences from your family history inspire you?
Consider how you might teach your family what it means to have a broken heart. For example, family members could take turns breaking open something that has a hard shell, like an egg or a nut. How are our hearts sometimes like that shell? How can we open our hearts to the Lord? Reading Psalm 51 together might provide some ideas.
Family members might enjoy drawing pictures of the symbols in these verses and discussing how Jesus Christ is like a high “rock,” “a shelter for [us],” and “a strong tower.”
Psalms 71:17; 78:5–7.
What does the Lord want you to “make … known to [your] children”? (Psalm 78:5). Perhaps each family member could share an example of the Lord’s “wondrous works,” such as a scripture story, an experience, or a personal testimony, that helps them “set their hope in God” (Psalms 71:17; 78:7).
Psalm 72 was written by David about his son Solomon, but much of it can also apply to Jesus Christ. As your family reads this psalm, they could hold up a picture of the Savior when they find verses that remind them of Jesus Christ. How can we help fulfill the desire that “the whole earth be filled with his glory”? (Psalm 72:19; see also Doctrine and Covenants 65:2).
This verse could inspire a discussion about events of the Restoration of the gospel—how the Book of Mormon is truth that “[sprang] out of the earth” and how heavenly messengers came “down from heaven” (see also Moses 7:62). The video “Preparation of Joseph Smith: Tutored by Heaven” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) depicts some of these events.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “I Need Thee Every Hour,” Hymns, no. 98.