The Wild Places Bible Guide – 1 - Reservoir Church
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The Wild Places Bible Guide – 1

March 11, 2019

The Wild Places – Introduction

Monday, March 11

We begin our guide with our longest passage – a poem of encounter and discovery in wild places. 

Psalm 107 (CEB)
“Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
        because his faithful love lasts forever!”
That’s what those who are redeemed by the Lord say,
    the ones God redeemed from the power of their enemies,
    the ones God gathered from various countries,
    from east and west, north and south.
Some of the redeemed had wandered into the desert, into the wasteland.
    They couldn’t find their way to a city or town.
They were hungry and thirsty;
    their lives were slipping away.
So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
    and God delivered them from their desperate circumstances.
    God led them straight to human habitation.
Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
    and his wondrous works for all people,
    because God satisfied the one who was parched with thirst,
    and he filled up the hungry with good things!
10 Some of the redeemed had been sitting in darkness and deep gloom;
    they were prisoners suffering in chains
11     because they had disobeyed God’s instructions
    and rejected the Most High’s plans.
12 So God humbled them with hard work.
    They stumbled, and there was no one to help them.
13 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
    and God saved them from their desperate circumstances.
14 God brought them out from the darkness and deep gloom;
    he shattered their chains.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
    and his wondrous works for all people,
16     because God has shattered bronze doors
    and split iron bars in two!
17 Some of the redeemed were fools because of their sinful ways.
    They suffered because of their wickedness.
18 They had absolutely no appetite for food;
    they had arrived at death’s gates.
19 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
    and God saved them from their desperate circumstances.
20 God gave the order and healed them;
    he rescued them from their pit.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
    and his wondrous works for all people.
22 Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices
    and declare what God has done in songs of joy!
23 Some of the redeemed had gone out on the ocean in ships,
    making their living on the high seas.
24 They saw what the Lord had made;
    they saw his wondrous works in the depths of the sea.
25 God spoke and stirred up a storm
    that brought the waves up high.
26 The waves went as high as the sky;
    they crashed down to the depths.
The sailors’ courage melted at this terrible situation.
27     They staggered and stumbled around like they were drunk.
    None of their skill was of any help.
28 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
    and God brought them out safe from their desperate circumstances.
29 God quieted the storm to a whisper;
    the sea’s waves were hushed.
30 So they rejoiced because the waves had calmed down;
    then God led them to the harbor they were hoping for.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
    and his wondrous works for all people.
32 Let them exalt God in the congregation of the people
    and praise God in the assembly of the elders.
33 God turns rivers into desert,
    watery springs into thirsty ground,
34     fruitful land into unproductive dirt,
        when its inhabitants are wicked.
35 But God can also turn the desert into watery pools,
    thirsty ground into watery springs,
36     where he settles the hungry.
They even build a city and live there!
37     They plant fields and vineyards
    and obtain a fruitful harvest.
38 God blesses them, and they become many.
    God won’t even let their cattle diminish.
39 But when they do diminish—
    when they’re brought down by oppression, trouble, and grief—
40     God pours contempt on their leaders,
        making them wander aimlessly in the wastelands.
41 But God raises the needy from their suffering;
    he makes their families as numerous as sheep!
42 Those who do right see it and celebrate,
    but every wicked person shuts their mouth.
43 Whoever is wise will pay attention to these things,
    carefully considering the Lord’s faithful love.

Points of Interest

  • This is a poem of rescue, to be sung by “the redeemed” – people who God has found and helped while in all kinds of out of control situations. The theme of the song is God’s “faithful love” – that the love and help of God is available for all people, at all times, in all circumstances. 
  • As we consider the tight jams of this psalm, see if at least one describes a time in your past that is mercifully over. If so, thank God for rescue, however it came. Let’s also see if one of these situations poetically describes your own current wild place. 
    • The desert wasteland – a time of hunger and thirst, where there’s not enough of what you need
    • Darkness and deep gloom – the hopeless, hard living that comes with addiction, oppression or any other form of being trapped
    • The distress that follows foolishness – the suffering and ill-at-ease sensation that comes with regret for what we have or haven’t done
    • Over one’s head at sea – what might have started as exhilaration is now out of control chaos that leaves you anxious or discouraged
  • There’s a pattern in these stories: people notice the chaos, they cry out to God, they find God is with them, and God makes a way through and out of suffering. 

A Direction for Prayer

Pray that, by Easter, our church will be filled with stories of encounter, discovery, and rescue, people learning things of great value, and experiences of God with us, and God’s help for us.

Spiritual Exercise of the Week

Honest Prayer and Requests for Encounter, Discovery, and Rescue – This week, you are invited to name a place in your life where you are out of your element, beyond your resources, or out of control. Tell God about this. How is it that you want to experience God’s faithful love with you? What do you hope to learn in this season? How is it that you would like God to rescue you?