Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Think of something at your residence that needs repair (an appliance, a piece of furniture, a car, etc.). What would need to be done to restore it, that is, to make it good as new? What skills would be necessary to do this? What might the cost be?
2. Think of yourself or another person. What would it take to make a person as good as new? Consider also restoration of emotions, reputation, and relationships. What would be necessary to do this? Is such restoration even possible? If so, what might the cost be?
Read Psalm 34:1-7.
1. Preceding this psalm, an explanation is given to describe David’s situation when he wrote it. Briefly review 1 Samuel 21:10-15. (Note that the reference to Abimelek [literally, father of the king”] in Psalm 34 is probably a title given to the Philistine Achish, ruler of Gath.) In what ways was David’s life a broken mess?
2. What do you think of when you hear the word “deliver?” How is this word used in Psalm 34: 4, 7)? Who was being delivered? From what? According to verse 7, how was that deliverance accomplished?
3. Circle words in verses 1-7 that describe the desperate situation a person is in without God’s presence (afflicted, fears). Then underline words that describe the situation of the same person who recognizes God’s presence (rejoice, radiant). What’s the lesson here?
Read Psalm 34:8-10.
4. When restoring a car or a piece of furniture, the first step is one of deliverance—changing it from its broken state to its renewed state. The second step is one of maintenance—we regularly wash, paint, and polish to ensure our restored piece stays as good as new. What does David say about the maintenance the Lord provides for those he delivers? Look in these verses for words that speak about protection and nourishment.
5. Although the English word fear appears in verse 4 and again in verses 7 and 9, two different Hebrew words are used. When speaking about the fear of outside threats (v. 4), a word meaning “storehouse” is used. In other words, without God, we are a bundle of fears! When speaking about the fear of the Lord (vv. 7, 9), a word meaning “reverence” is used. How does the kind of fear we have affect our state of mind?
Read Hebrews 2:17,18.
6. When an extremely valuable art object is restored, it may be placed under the care of a curator, a person who oversees and preserves the precious artwork and who fully understands the nature of the restored object. How does Jesus preserve those he restores? (See also 1 John 1:9.)
7. How does Jesus’ understanding of our nature qualify him to act as the curator of our souls? (See also Hebrews 4:15.)
8. When we think of objects such as furniture, appliances, or cars, there may come a time when they are in such bad shape that they are not worth restoring. According to God, is that ever true of a human being? How does that change our view of ourselves and others?