Jesus, our Good Shepherd, wants to give us victory over the Evil One, victory/peace in our relationships (over enemies) and victory/peace in our heart.
– Psalm 23:4. In Jesus, we have victory over the Evil One. Satan deceives and condemns. What is his biggest deception? How does Satan condemn us?
– What were the rod and staff used for? How does this comfort you when you are in the valley of the shadow of death?
– What does it mean to not fear the Evil One? Who are we to fear instead (Luke 12)? Why are we to fear this Person over the Evil One? What does it mean to fear Someone?
– Psalm 23:5. In Jesus, we can have victory or peace in our relationships. Recall the example of the person who keeps changing jobs because he thinks a change of circumstances will solve everything. What is God most interested in changing?
– What about fr-enemies in the church? Who might they be and who might have sent them? What can we learn from Jesus’ warning about the church being a mixed bag of wheat/tares and sheep/goat?
– When it comes to God’s people, He is gracious. When it comes to His enemies, He is wrathful. Cite some examples in Scripture where you see these principles occurring. How do you distinguish a loving person who has discernment versus a humanistic person who lacks discernment? What are some examples in Scripture of someone who was humanistic toward evil and what were the consequences?
– Recall 2 Sam 1 and King David’s treatment of the Amalekite. Why is it critical to have discernment about who we allow into our inner circle or to whom we lend our ear for counsel?
– Psalm 23:5. This verse is a portrait of victory in the midst of battle. Table with feasting. Cup overflowing. Enemies bound. What is the significance of our heads being anointed with oil? How does this truth help us to achieve victory in Jesus?
– Psalm 23:3b. In Jesus, we can have victory or peace in our hearts. 1 Tim 1:15 – Paul’s testimony is that he is the foremost sinner. He is speaking in present tense. How do you evaluate this statement and how might it be connected to Heb 4:12-13? How is the Lord speaking to you about the condition of your heart?
– Num 22. Balaam is an example of someone who had right actions (he prayed), but he had wrong motives (he wanted money). When your motives are wrong, you’re only going to hear what you want to hear. In Jesus, God can set us free from sinful actions, sinful thought/attitudes as well as sinful intentions/motives. Ask the Lord to search your heart and He will show you plenty of things that need His healing touch.
– What if I fail to hear His voice and make a wrong decision? Rom 8:28 – if you love God, He works all things for our good, including our wrong decisions. The focus is not being perfect in our decision making, but having a right heart. Psalm 37 – if you trust in the Lord, delight in the Lord and have committed your way to the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart. If you have a right heart, just make a decision and He will work out all things for your good. Do you find that this truth relieves some of the burden of hearing the Lord accurately for every little decision?
– 1 Kings 19. The Lord was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire. He came through a low whisper, a still, small voice. God is intentional about making it difficult to hear Him so that we would lean in and move closer. And finally, He grabs us and says, Gotcha! Continue to bring your requests, petitions and decisions before the Lord. Ask Him for discernment regarding evil. Learn to consult Him in big and small decisions. But more important than getting through our lists, spend time with Him this week by just resting in His embrace.