Hungry for God

Week One: March 3rd 2019

Intimacy with God (Psalm 139)

You cannot be closer to God than you are just now. There may be days when you feel closer to God, but you will never be closer.
The people who wrote the psalms knew that God was with them. They did not always feel his presence but they knew he was there and that they could talk to him.
We can’t hide from God. Wherever we are he can take a good look at us. This week we are going to invite God to take this good look. This is going to need a bit of courage. You cannot make God speak to you but you can decide not to run away from him or hide from him.
The more you appreciate the love of God the more you will be able to engage with Psalm 139.

These notes are to help you explore the weekly theme, please use them in your own time at home - why not try getting together with a friend or two - the idea is to discover God together.

Talk outline:

  1. People often avoid the last few verses of this psalm. We will not be avoiding them this week.
  2. Psalms like this one help us to get to grips with God’s love. Our exercises this week may seem risky but they will help us to trust him.
  3. God knows us better than we know ourselves. We cannot escape from God or his Spirit. Anywhere. He can and will hold us.
  4. He made each one of us wonderful and unique.
  5. God’s thoughts are better than ours. But we can still aim to think like he thinks.
  6. We can offer to God our honest thoughts and ask him to test us. Don’t worry about being ‘polite.’ Tell God honestly what you are thinking.
  7. Be ready for God to speak to you during this week. He may (or may not) tell you about things you need to change.

Thanksgiving (Psalm 139)

Try these exercises at home, in housegroup or with friends. You may find it helpful to write down your thoughts in a notebook or on your electronic device.

Before you look at the psalm think for a while about the things that are on your mind today. Are you angry? Afraid? Upset? Note your thoughts before you look at this psalm. You will need them later.

Read verses 1-6 several times:

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (NIV)
How do you feel when you read these verses? Glad? Afraid? Vulnerable? Talk to God about this.

Be still for a while.

Read verses 7-12. Do you feel able, like the psalmist, to thank God that he will hold your hand no matter where you go? If so, thank him. If not, ask him to help you.

Read verses13-16. Can you thank God now that he made you wonderful and unique? Please do so if you feel able. Otherwise be still for a while.

Read verses 17-18 a few times slowly. Let them sink in. Speak them out to God. Admit that God’s thoughts are better than yours.

Read verses 19-23. Go back to your thoughts at the
start of this exercise. Offer them to God. Ask him to test you. Don’t be ashamed before God at this point. Honesty is the best policy. He already knows the truth about you.

Has anyone challenged you or provoked you recently? Think about the things they said to you. Don’t try to defend yourself. Just offer your thoughts to God

Read verse 24 several times.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Then be still and try to listen. Note anything you think God may be saying to you. Be on the lookout for any way God may be leading you today.

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