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Psalms - Week 4

Posted by CF Study Guide Team on

LEADER INTRO

Be sure to encourage your group to check out Daily Steps, Cornerstone's companion devotional guide — a resource to help spend one-on-one time with God throughout the week using daily readings from the Psalms.


Check out our sermon series resource page for additional information. If you need help with conducting your group meetings online, take a look at this guide


CONNECT
In this section, your group will spend time catching up since your last meeting together.

This week, Pastor Steve Madsen led us through Psalm 23 verse by verse. In your group this week, we encourage you to do the same, spending time on the phrases that most deeply resonate with your group members. Select the sections that make the most sense for your group, do not feel pressure to get through all of the questions. Your group might also want to check out this week's Daily Steps that includes daily readings to help you learn to rest in God's presence as David describes in Psalm 23.

  • What do you know about sheep? Have you ever seen a flock of sheep? Smelled a flock of sheep? Have you ever watched a shepherd or a sheep herding dog interact with sheep? What comes to mind when you think about sheep? 

  • Pastor Steve began by explaining that sheep have a herd mentality, are defenseless, have a less than appealing aroma, require a shepherd to keep them safe and healthy, and are not known for their intelligence. He went on to say that King David explains that we are like sheep. Which of these descriptors do you tend to resist the most? Which of these descriptors do you find yourself actively defending against?

THINK
In this section, your group will dive into the themes and Scripture passages from this week’s sermon, and learn more about their meanings and relevance for us today. 

Consider what part of being compared to a sheep you actively resist. How can you better understand God as your shepherd to find comfort in the metaphor that you are His sheep?

Read Psalm 23 together in several different Bible versions, choosing at least one literal translation (i.e. ESV, NIV, or NASB) and one paraphrase translation (i.e. The Message, New Living, or The Passion Translation).

Now, let’s take a deeper look at Psalm 23 line by line using the two versions of the Bible your group selected. Remember, you don’t have to discuss all the questions. Feel free to cover only the ones that seem most relevant for your group. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want:

  • Compare the literal translation to the paraphrase for this line of the passage. Which one speaks to you more and why?

  • Pastor Steve said, “If I truly need it, God will provide it.” What makes it difficult to distinguish between your wants and needs? 

  • What needs do you have right now that you can ask God to meet?

  • Is there anything you need to stop “pining for” that your shepherd hasn’t provided?

  • How does the contentment David describes in this Psalm compare to Paul’s description in Philippians 4:12? In what ways do you need to find contentment in what our Shepherd provides?

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. 

  • Compare the literal translation to the paraphrase for this line of the passage. Which one speaks to you more and why?

  • Pastor Steve said that for a sheep to lie down in green pastures it would need to be well-fed and feel safe. Can you identify parts of your life that are “well-fed?” In other words, where has God met you in the last week, month, year?

  • The waters a shepherd leads his sheep to are calm, slow-moving, and safe to enter or drink from. What are the safe places in your life? Who are the safe people whom God has brought into your life? 

  • Where can you go to find rest? What are some of the rhythms and habits in your life that help you truly rest and get re-charged?

  • Has your soul taken a beating? What has bruised you (either in this last week or last few years)? What is your soul searching for?

  • In what ways do you need the restoration work of the Holy Spirit to heal your soul? What do you need to pray for? How can your group pray for you?

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

  • Compare the literal translation to the paraphrase for this line of the passage. Which one speaks to you more and why?

  • Sometimes we miss the path of righteousness because we are tempted by other paths. What paths tempt you the most? Where does your mind, soul, body want to go that may be different then from where God wants you to go?

  • Are there times in your life when you’ve had to choose to follow God down a righteous path? What other path choices did you have? Are you just beginning down this path or have you been on it for a while? What have you learned that you can share with your group?

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 

  • Compare the literal translation to the paraphrase for this line of the passage. Which one speaks to you more and why?

  • Pastor Steve said that the rod and the staff are used for protection and comfort. 

  • Are you living with fear? What is it that you are afraid of? How does knowing that your Shepherd will always defend and protect you help lessen the fear?

  • In what ways are you longing for God’s comfort. In what ways do you need his protection?

  • Have you experienced God’s comfort and protection? What encouragement can you share with your group?

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

  • Compare the literal translation to the paraphrase for this line of the passage. Which one speaks to you more and why?

  • Pastor Steve explained that typical enemies of sheep are biting flies that lay eggs in their wool. When the shepherd massaged oil and sulfur into the sheep’s wool, they would find relief and protection from the insects.

  • Right now, what seems to be working against you? What isn’t working or making it difficult to get through your days?

  • Your shepherd is anointing and protecting you. When you look back on your weeks, months, years, can you find evidence of this anointing and protecting? What can you do this week to be looking for evidence of his protection?

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

  • Compare the literal translation to the paraphrase for this line of the passage. Which one speaks to you more and why?

  • What are some signs in your life that God is pouring out His goodness upon you? 

  • In what ways have you experienced the mercies of your kind Shepherd this week?

  • How does focusing on God’s promise to be our Shepherd forever, eventually bringing us into His eternal fold in heaven, comfort you and encourage you in the here and now?

This section started with the challenge to consider what part of being a sheep you actively resist. What did you learn or realize through your group's discussion that helped you answer that challenge? This week, how can you let God shepherd you?

ACT
In this section, your group will discuss how to apply what you’ve learned from the Scripture passages to real life.

Read John 10:1-18 together.

The Old Testament predicted a coming shepherd who would lay down His life for His sheep — Jesus. Pastor Steve said that Jesus wants to teach us how to be good shepherds — people who can be depended upon to lead others to paths of righteousness. 

  • What can we learn from this passage in John 10 about being shepherds like Jesus?

  • How is it possible for us to be both obedient sheep and shepherd-like leaders at the same time? 

  • In the coming week, what do you think God might be asking you to do or learn more about when it comes to being both a sheep and a shepherd?

  • What are some things we can do to better recognize the voice of our Shepherd?

TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore the Psalms.

Have you checked out Daily Steps?

Daily Steps is a weekly devotional message designed as a companion to this sermon study guide. You will be guided as you spend time with God through personal reflection, Scripture readings, and prayer prompts. 

DAILY STEPS - PSALMS - WEEK 4

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