“Unit 23: Day 2, Psalms, Part 3,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 23: Day 2,” Old Testament Study Guide
Psalms 88–150 contain praises for the Lord’s mercy and goodness. Included are psalms that express gratitude for the word of God (see Psalm 119) and declare children to be cherished gifts from the Lord (see Psalm 127). Psalms 140–45 contain a few of David’s prayers to God, pleading for deliverance from his enemies.
Consider the following remarkable story about Psalm 100:
Elder B. H. Roberts of the Seventy was a chaplain in the United States Armed Forces during World War I. The war finally ended, and the peace treaty was signed on November 11, 1918. Two weeks later, on Thanksgiving Day, a group of American soldiers were gathered together in France “in one grand Thanksgiving service.
“The large attendance included high-ranking military officers and the services were conducted by the chaplains, who were seated on the grandstand.
“Elder Roberts was relegated to one of the rear seats. He had not been asked in advance to participate on the program, therefore, it was with great surprise that he heard the chaplain in charge announce: ‘Elder Roberts, the Mormon chaplain from Utah, will now step up and read the Thanksgiving Psalm.’
“Elder Roberts had never heard of the Thanksgiving Psalm but, hiding his personal embarrassment and possible impending embarrassment to the Church, he arose and walked to the podium, not knowing what he should say.
“Years later he testified that, during the long walk to the front, he distinctly heard an audible voice announce: ‘The 100th Psalm.’
“It was as clear as though another person had spoken at his side.
“Elder Roberts faced the crowd, paused, then opened his Bible and read Psalm 100. …
“After Brother Roberts had closed his Bible and was returning to his seat, he noticed that his fellow chaplains refused to look at him; their eyes were immovably fixed on the floor.
“It was then he realized that his part on the program had been a deliberate attempt to embarrass him, the Church and the priesthood. He acknowledged the help which he had received from the Lord in his moment of need and, when he returned to his tent that night, he checked the Book of Psalms, discovering that the 100th Psalm contained the most pertinent and appropriate sentiments on Thanksgiving” (“Inspiration Key to Thanksgiving Psalm,” Church News, Nov. 22, 1975, 12).
- Study Psalm 100, and ponder what you can be grateful for in your life. In your scripture study journal, record things that you are most grateful for.
Consider the purpose of the following items: a flashlight, a map, and a lighthouse. How can each of these objects provide someone with guidance and direction?
Ponder situations in which youth today need divine guidance and direction.
As you study Psalm 119, look for what can help give guidance and direction for your life.
Psalm 119 contains eight verses for each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
What do you think it means to “walk in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 119:1)?
Think about a time when you felt happy because you walked in the law of the Lord.
The word precepts in verse 4 refers to God’s commandments and teachings. Other words used as synonyms for God’s commandments and teachings in this psalm include testimonies, statutes, law, ordinances, and ways.
The writer of Psalm 119 used symbols to describe his love for the word of God and the blessings that can come through diligently studying and obeying His words. To understand these symbolic expressions, read the following references, looking for what the Psalmist compared to the word of God. Write what you find in the space provided. The first reference has been completed as an example.
Psalm 119:14, 72, 127 Riches, or gold and silver
- In your scripture study journal, write how each of the objects used by the Psalmist can help you understand the importance of the word of God or the blessings that can come from the word of God.
Read Psalm 119:105, looking for something else the Psalmist compared the word of God to. (Psalm 119:105 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
Think about how the word of God is like a lamp or a light to you as you study it. One principle this verse teaches is that as we study the word of God, we can receive guidance for our lives. Consider writing this principle in the margin of your scriptures next to verse 105.
What are some sources of God’s word that can provide light and guidance for your life?
To understand what you can do to obtain guidance from God’s word, read Psalm 119:11, 15–16, looking for what the Psalmist did with the word of God. You may want to mark what you find.
The phrase “Thy word have I hid in mine heart” (Psalm 105:11) may mean continually reflecting on the Lord’s word. It may also suggest the value of memorizing the word of the Lord.
- Complete the following in your scripture study journal:
Ponder and then answer the following question: When has the word of God been like a lamp or light to you, giving guidance for your life?
Write a specific goal for what you will do to become more familiar with the word of God so you can receive the promised guidance.
To help you memorize Psalm 119:105, write the words of the verse on a card or small piece of paper. Place it on or near a lamp or a light switch in your home, and say it each time you see it until you have memorized it.
- Recite this verse to someone in your family, ward, or branch, and ask that person to describe a time when he or she received guidance from the scriptures. Write about the experience by summarizing it in your own words.
Think about how you would respond in the following scenario: A friend says to you, “Having a family seems like a burden that would prevent me from doing other important things with my life. When I get older, I think I would be much happier by not having children.”
What are some priorities people might put ahead of having children?
You may want to mark what the Psalmist said about the man who has a “quiver full” of children.
These verses teach the truth that children are gifts from the Lord and can bring parents great happiness. Consider writing this truth in the margin of your scriptures next to Psalm 127:3–5. The phrase “children of the youth” in verse 4 refers to children born in one’s youth, meaning early in marriage while the parents are young.
To understand why children are cherished gifts from God, read the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“As we look into the eyes of a child, we see a fellow son or daughter of God who stood with us in the premortal life.
“It is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for these spirit children of God. We believe in families, and we believe in children.
“When a child is born to a husband and wife, they are fulfilling part of our Heavenly Father’s plan to bring children to earth. …
“Families are central to God’s eternal plan. I testify of the great blessing of children and of the happiness they will bring us in this life and in the eternities” (“Children,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 28, 31).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think bearing children is a “crowning privilege” for a husband and wife who are able to do so?
How can children bring parents great happiness? (You might consider asking a family member who has children this question and writing his or her response in your scripture study journal.)
How can remembering that children are gifts from the Lord influence your attitude toward your family now and having and rearing children after you are married?
- Reread the scenario at the beginning of the section on Psalm 127. In your scripture study journal, write a response to your friend in the form of a letter. Include truths you learned from Psalm 127 and the teachings of Elder Neil L. Andersen. You might also want to use language and doctrines from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (see Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129) to support your response.
Psalms 140–45 contain a few of David’s prayers to God.
Read the following scriptures, looking for what David prayed for: Psalm 140:1, 4; Psalm 141:4; Psalm 142:5–6; Psalm 143:8–10; Psalm 144:11. The phrase “strange children” in Psalm 144:11 refers to foreigners.
What modern enemies of righteousness might we need to pray to Heavenly Father to deliver us from?
Read Psalm 145:18–20, looking for principles David taught in these verses.
Psalm 145:18 states that “the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him.” What do you think it means to have God near you? What blessings do you think come from having God near you?
Complete the following statements:
A principle I can learn from Psalm 145:18 is that as we pray to God in sincerity and truth, He will .
A principle I can learn from Psalm 145:20 is that if we love God, then He will .
It is important to understand that the preservation of those who love God does not always include preserving or saving them from accidents or physical death. Those who love God, and who show that love by their obedience to the commandments, most certainly are preserved spiritually and are blessed eternally.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied the Psalms, Part 3 lesson and read the assigned psalms and completed it on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: