Lesson for Nov. 7, 2010: God Is Awesome (Psalm 66:1-12)

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This week’s treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson (for November 7) is written by Jason Jones, an elementary school principal in Clinton County, Ohio.


God is Awesome (Psalm 66:1-12)

By Jason Jones

It was a simple family outing on a lazy, late-summer Saturday. A cool breeze kept the smell of fresh kettle-popped popcorn permeating through the fairgrounds. My 4-year-old boy was having the time of his life riding a real train, jumping on giant inflatables, and playing alongside other like-minded toddlers. My baby girl observed from her stroller and laughed at every silly dance move her brother performed for her. The best part of the day for me was watching my wife expertly attend to every need of both of our precious children. A bottle for the baby. Snacks for the boy. No request or cry went unanswered. Life couldn’t possibly get any better, and I found myself thanking my awesome God for the undeserved blessings in my life.

And then a short item, quickly and thoughtlessly nestled between the weather report and the evening’s sports recap on the nightly news, brought me up short. A 2-year-old boy had been battered beyond recognition by a caregiver. As if a dislocated shoulder and fractured skull weren’t abuse enough, the defenseless boy also was scalded by boiling water. How could the same God who gave me such a beautiful and perfect family allow such evil to exist? Did he even care? Was he even out there?

From awesome to absent. That is quite a status change for the Lord.

Thankfully, we know better. It is often difficult, even for the faithfully strong among us, to sift through the awfulness that people can create and find the awesomeness of God.

Psalm 66 helps us with perspective.

Awesome God

In the first 12 verses, the author reminds us of the easy things. God is awesome and powerful. All the earth sings praises to his name. God’s enemies fear him. He reigns forever.

But then there are the historical reminders from Israel’s past. According to the psalmist, the Lord led the Israelites to be enslaved. The Lord brought to them the experience of hard labor. The Israelites were tested and tried and refined like silver in the fire. But this same God ultimately led them to a place of abundance.

This God who gave his chosen Israel a fresh start is still the God of second chances. And we are also reminded in another passage that we simply cannot impart the logic of man onto the actions of God. Romans 8:28 says that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. In all things—even child abuse, drug and alcohol-ravaged homes, house fires, divorces, and job loss—he works for the good.

No Mirage

It is ironic that renowned God-hater and German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche borrowed from the refined silver imagery of Psalm 66 when he said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Whether Nietzsche was quoting Scripture or not, it is profoundly sad to think there is absolutely nothing at the end of the road of misery and heartache. Sure, a life of hard knocks would help toughen the spirit. But with no reward in sight, the fight could very well fracture the soul.

I used to enjoy reading the popular books that taught you what to do if you ever faced rare but terrifying life-threatening situations. I recall learning that if I were ever stranded at sea, one of the best things I could do to keep my spirits high would be to envision and think of land—sort of a self-imposed, deep-sea mirage.

Our prize is no mirage. Our God promises us the land of abundance that he once promised to Israel. But our promised land is Heaven. Even thinking about my perfect Saturday several weeks ago doesn’t compare to the wonders I will see when I reach my Father’s heavenly home.

In Exodus 16, we read that some of the Israelites began to cave under the pressures and hardships of their escape from Egypt. In verse 3, some cried, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” They were willing to return to their oppressors in Egypt rather than trust that the Lord would deliver on his promise.

Worth the Bumps

There is simply nothing this life can throw at us that is worth giving up on God. Our past can never be so horrible that we fall outside of the grace of God. His timing and his reasoning might test us, but we ultimately will emerge as beautiful and pure as the refined silver that Psalm 66 mentions.

Our God is awesome, and his promise at the end of the road is worth the bumps along the way.

__________________

*All Scripture references are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.

HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS
Nov. 1: Judges 10:10-16
Nov. 2: 1 Samuel 7:3-13
Nov. 3: 1 Samuel 17:31-37
Nov. 4: Psalm 40:1-5
Nov. 5: Psalm 66:13-20
Nov. 6: Psalm 22:19-28
Nov. 7: Psalm 66:1-12

ABOUT THE LESSON WRITER: Jason Jones is a graduate of Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University. He and his wife, Sara, have two children, Jackson and Chloe. Jason serves as an elementary school principal in New Vienna, Ohio.

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7 Comments

  1. I read the Nov 7 lesson from the Christian Standard written by Jason Jones. I must say, I read all the lessons for every Sunday school and enjoy all of them by different writers. Their way of bringing out their point about the lessons inspire and encourage me. I am one of the adult women Sunday school teachers at my church. Their points help me shed some light on my messages. Thank you for allowing me to respond about the Sunday school lesson.

  2. I am a teen Sunday School teacher and the information I receive from other teachers enhance my teaching points to my students.

  3. God is awesome. He chose me back in 2007 because i didn’t know which way to go at the time — lost and life slowly leaving me. Oh what a mighty God we serve. He is truly worthy to be praised. Thanks for another wonderful God filled lesson

  4. Thank you Mr Jones, you are a God sent servant. You have simplified this lesson. Whereas we can stop trying to make the word of God so complicated so the people we are teaching can understand what is being taught. Thanks again.

  5. I am junior teacher at my church and enjoy studying the adult lesson . . . Thanks for the lesson [treatments], they help a lot ………..

  6. Thank you for the reminder that our God is an awesome God! I enjoyed your commentary regarding the struggles we face. It is good to know that at the end of the struggle, through the struggle and at the beginning of the struggle, God has prepared a wealthy place for His people that love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose. Amen!

    I am holding on to the promises of God.

  7. When I think about about how awesome God is, it just make me want to praise God for he has done in my life. God wants us to praise him for who is is in our life. God is Awesome!

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