How did we see God move this week as we tried to live out the Spirit’s leading? What challenges did we encounter? What victories can we celebrate?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. 19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

20 The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24 So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26 with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27 For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

28 For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. 29 For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30 This God– his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?– 32 the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. 33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. 36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.

Recall from Sunday:

Psalm 18:1-6, 16-19 – Cry out to the Lord in our distress

Psalm 18:20-27 – Reexamine our own faith and walk with God in light of our struggle

Psalm 18:28-36 – God refines us through struggle, training us to walk in spiritual authority

Reflect: What sticks out to you personally from the passage?

What impacted you on a personal level from Sunday’s sermon?

When David felt crushed beneath the weight of his troubles, he cried out to the Lord to rescue him. What is your response when trouble or attack comes? Do you fight or flee? If you fight, how do you fight? If you escape, how do you escape? And to where/what things do you run?

When things go well, it’s easy to believe we’re doing well. But when we’re attacked/judged/criticized our masks come off and we discover defensiveness, hurt, fears, anger, judgements and lies we believe. Has there been a struggle or challenge that taught you more about who you are deep down and where God needed to work on you?

For troubles to become an opportunity for God’s refining work, we need to take the time to reflect on our responses to that trouble in prayerful conversation with God. If you are presently in a time of trouble, or have just come through one, now may be an important time to do some prayer, reflection, and journaling on your responses and what they reveal about your heart. Allow God to dig through the layers and reveal what’s underneath.

Pray for yourselves and others going through trouble that God would lead you to cry out to him and refine you in the process.