Introduction: How would you feel if most people opposed
Christianity and thought it to be a dangerous teaching?
Because the readers of these studies are located all over
the world, some know exactly what that feels like. But those
of us in the United States have no idea. When I was young
and living in Michigan, most people claimed to be
Christians. Of course, there were a few rebels. But no one
claimed that Christianity was harmful, it merely got in the
way of having “a good time.” That is changing. An ever
growing number of Americans no longer believe the Bible,
instead they believe that its teachings are toxic to human
relationships. Even within the church many argue that people
have been harmed by the way some Christians share the truth.
What is the actual complaint about sharing from those who
claim to be God’s people? That the truth is being shared
without apology? Or that those sharing are inartful? Our
Psalms this week discuss living for God in a hostile
environment. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible!

I. Plea for Help

A. Read Psalm 74:3-4. What disaster is described
here? (Read Psalm 79:1. This is a reference to the
destruction of the first (Solomon’s) temple and
the capital city of Jerusalem. Everything in God’s
sanctuary is completely destroyed.)

1. What is meant (Psalms 74:4) by “Your foes have
roared?” (They have rejoiced in victory over
God. All the things that pointed to the power
of God all point to the power of God’s

B. Read Psalm 74:5-6. How are the enemies of God like
woodcutters? (God’s enemies have taken the same
approach to the beautiful carved wood in the
temple that they would take to cutting down a
stand of trees in the forest!)

C. Read Psalm 74:7-8. What is the worst thing that
has happened to the places of worship? (They are
all burned down!)

D. Read Psalm 74:9. What is especially discouraging?
(They have no idea when God will intervene to help

II. Frustration and Shame

A. Read Psalm 74:10-11. When you find yourself
defeated by something, do you appreciate being
mocked for it? Do you enjoy the shame of defeat?
(The answer is obvious: No!)

1. The psalmist is asking God why He allows
Himself to be shamed? Do you think this is a
good strategy? If you were God would you
appreciate this kind of comment?

B. Let’s consider some other Psalms for reasons why
we blame God for not fixing our problems. Read
Psalm 77:7-9. What reasons are suggested here?
(God has forever rejected the psalmist. God no
longer loves us. God’s promises have an expiration
date and we are past that date. God has become
angry and has forgotten to be gracious.)

1. If you were God, would you appreciate those

C. Read Psalm 74:12. What does the psalmist suggest
is the reason why God is not acting? (The psalmist
answers his own question. God is an experienced
God. He has been working for the salvation of
people for a long time. God must have a strategy
in this to help save people.)

D. Read Psalm 77:14-16 and Psalm 77:19-20. What
positive view about God’s willingness to help do
we see here? (Working wonders is part of God’s
nature. He took slaves in Egypt and He walked them
through the sea!)

E. Read Psalm 74:13-17. What reason does the psalmist
exclude for God not acting?(God’s delay does not
reflect his inability to act or his weakness. God
has experience cracking the heads of monsters.
More than that, He controls the seasons!)

F. Read Psalm 74:19-23. Who do you think the psalmist
is really worried about? (This is where we find
the truth. The words “dove,” “poor,”
“downtrodden,” and “needy” all refer to God’s
people. While the psalmist is undoubtedly
concerned about the name of God (He is after all,
the psalmist’s God), what he is really concerned
about is himself! Don’t forget us, God!)

1. Is that a cynical answer, or is there some
logic to it? (The logic is that God can take
care of Himself. God’s people cannot.)

G. Read Psalm 41:7-9. What other cause for shame must
we endure when God does not intervene to defeat
the bad guys? (Others blame us! Those who hate us
“imagine the worst,” but this is even true for “my
close friend in whom I trusted.”)

H. Read Psalm 41:10. What great idea does the
psalmist have after God intervenes for him? (He is
going to “repay” those who hate him and,
apparently, his trusted friend.)

1. What kind of repayment do you think he has in
mind? (Read Psalms 41:11. The most positive
answer is that repayment comes in the form of
them seeing him return to power.)

III. What We Deserve

A. Read Psalm 41:12. The psalmist claims that God has
saved him “because of [the psalmist’s] integrity.”
What do you think? Isn’t this at the heart of the
original allegation – that the psalmist was not
protected because of his failures?

1. Read Psalm 41:4. To what does the psalmist
admit? (That he is a sinner!)

2. Read Psalm 38:3-5. Albert Barnes Commentary
says that this text describes the same
Psalm 41:12 psalmist who is talking about his
“integrity.” What point is the Bible making to
us? What lesson should we learn? (We cannot
trust ourselves to make an honest evaluation
of our integrity.)

B. Read Luke 13:1-5. What does Jesus say about our
belief that our relative goodness protects us?
(Jesus says that without Him our sins would cause
eternal death. We all deserve death. We are all

1. Does that mean that the underlying view that
sin causes harm and adverse consequences is
wrong? (No. The general idea that obedience
and protection are related is true. That is
one reason why God gave us His rules – to
protect us. The point made by Jesus is that we
cannot claim to be good. Unless we repent,
meaning unless we rely on Jesus’ goodness, we
all deserve death. Plus, we cannot depend on
our self-assessment of our integrity.)

IV. The Road to Triumph

A. Read Psalm 37:1-2. What is the fate of those who
trouble us? The fate of those who do evil? (They
will fade and die.)

B. Read Psalm 37:3-4. What is the natural result of
having a relationship with God? (He will give you
“the desires of your heart.”)

C. Read Psalm 37:5-7. What is the most important
thing for us to do in the face of trouble? (Trust
God. Be patient. Try not to worry.)

D. Read Psalm 37:8-9. Recall the psalmist in
Psalm 41:10 who said that when God put him back on top
he would “repay” those saying bad things about
him? What does this suggest is the better
response? (Don’t be angry. In God’s time you will
be on top.)

E. Read Psalm 37:12-15. What will happen to the
wicked? (They will suffer what they have in mind
for God’s people.)

1. We just studied the story of Esther. What
comes to mind? (Haman was hung on the gallows
he created to hang Mordecai. Esther 7:9-10.)

F. Read Psalm 37:16. With what should we comfort
ourselves until God rescues us? (The little that
we have is better than all the things owned by the

G. Friend, God will win! We don’t deserve to win, but
God does and He has graciously offered to make us
winners too. Will you repent and accept His offer
right now? Will you wait patiently for God’s

V. Next week: I Will Arise.

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.