NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: Psalm 31:1-8
Discussion Question: What are some things that lift your spirits when you’re feeling down?
Food for Thought by Lynn Pryor:
Sometimes we just get down. I’m not referring to clinical depression; that’s a whole different matter. Some call it the blues, the blahs or the doldrums. But whatever it’s called, we’re not at our best.
Jan. 18, 2021, has been identified as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. For 15 years, the third Monday of January has been identified as a depressing day because the excitement of Christmas is well past. Many have failed in their New Year’s resolutions by this time and are facing the bills and debt accrued at Christmas. All this as the weather remains bleak.
Well-meaning family or friends will try to “talk us out of” our feelings. “What have you got to be sad about?!” “You just need to turn that frown upside down.” In my experience, those clichés don’t help. But the issue remains: What do we do when we have a bout of the blues?
King David wrote some amazing psalms of praise, but he also wrote psalms that reflected his troubled soul. Through his words in Psalm 31, we find the best answer to the blues.
In Psalm 31, David was not explicitly fighting depression, but he was facing circumstances that weighed heavily on him. Although we’re not sure of the exact circumstances, many scholars think King David wrote this psalm at the time his son Absalom was attempting to take over the kingship. It was evident from David’s instructions to his soldiers to treat his son gently that he loved Absalom deeply (2 Samuel 18:5). He wept bitterly when he heard Absalom was dead (v. 33). But earlier, David had to run for his life because of a threat from his own son, the very one he loved and cared for (17:21-22). Such circumstances were not just an external challenge; David surely felt heavy-hearted at his situation. I can only speak for myself and say that if one of my two sons rebelled and sought to take my life, I would experience more than the blues!
David’s problems and concerns may have weighed heavily on him, but he looked to the God he knew and trusted. Whatever weighed him down was no match for a righteous God. Just as David cried to God for His help and righteous intervention, so can we.
In our moments of despair and depression, we may feel no one sees or cares; but God sees, knows and cares. In those moments when we’re in a tight spot surrounded only by depressing thoughts and feelings, let’s remember that God will always deliver those who choose to look to Him in spite of circumstances. God will set us free from the tight space of depressing thoughts and bring us to a spacious place.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at biblestudiesforlife.com.
Lynn Pryor is transitional interim pastor at Fair Haven Baptist Church in Shelbyville, and leads the team that develops and produces Bible Studies for Life.