Psalm 32: 1-11, Happy Are Those
Note to the Teacher
Happiness, a word that we don’t usually associate with the Lenten season. Lent is often seen as a more somber time of reflection a preparation of our hearts for the coming of Easter, becoming aware of our transgressions toward God so that we can engage in repentance in order to fully embrace the celebration of Easter and the empty tomb. Lent is a time that we often strip things down to their core in preparation for Jesus’ resurrection, the only thing we truly need to be sustained or—even more of a bold statement—to be happy. This lesson encourages students to get to the root of their happiness and joy in Christ, because that is truly the joy that will never disappoint or let us down. The Ice Breaker will have the youth critically think about the most important things to them in their lives and to their own happiness. The Discussion encourages students to think about the role that “hope” plays in our Lenten Journey. The activity allows youth to think about what it would be like to be a psalmist writing a song of hope for others to draw inspiration from. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.
Description of activity (time)
1. Ice Breaker: Virtual Time Capsule (10 minutes)
How to play: Divide people into teams of at least three and give them a large piece of paper and some markers. Have them draw or write words of twenty things they would want in a time capsule that would show people in the future what was important to them and made them happy. Once they are finished invite each group to tape their paper on the wall and share with the group what they wrote and why they wrote it. Keep them up as a visual reminder throughout the lesson. When appropriate, you may be able to reference the papers as an illustration or application question.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our Psalm today is a song of hope and happiness, not something that is always associated with Lent. Let’s unpack this with your youth and get them on the same page with why Lent is a time of extreme hope, happiness, and faith.
Read Psalm 32: 1-11.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
What do you think is the true secret to living a truly happy life?
- If you were to look at this passage, there are other words that we can substitute in for “happy”. Can you think of any other words that would work? (relieved, blessed, comforted, etc.)
- The book of Psalm is full of different songs and prayer, and they all serve a variety of purposes. They can be songs of lament, wisdom, penitence (meaning songs of repent), and many more. What kind of Psalm do you think this is?
- How would you describe “hope” to someone who had no idea what hope is?
- The Webster’s Dictionary definition of “hope” is; a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
- What are things that you have currently placed your hope in? What is it that you are hoping for?
- When was a time that you had hoped for something and it didn’t happen? How would you describe the feeling of getting your hopes up?
- How does getting your hopes up affect the hope you have in other things?
- Read Romans 5: 1-5.
- Where can we place our hope so that it is not misplaced in something that will let us down?
- Hope is a precious thing. This psalm has a lot to do with hope and inspiring hope in the reader. It reassures us that there is hope for God to make us whole through forgiveness and reconciliation. But what happens when we place our hope to be made whole in worldly things?
- What are material and worldly things that people place there hope in to be made whole?
- Will the things of this world ever be enough to fill the void we fill in our lives? Why or why not?
- The Lent season is a time where we are made aware of our transgressions and sins that separate us from God. Our own sin can seem so overwhelming when we really sit down and start to think about it. When you feel like you are about to be crushed by the sins you bear, remember there is something that you can place your hope in to relieve you of that sin and place true happiness in its place. That something is the grace poured out on the cross the day Jesus was crucified.
- Where does our hope lie as Christians?
- Look at verse 8. What are we supposed to do with the hope we have found in Jesus? (Go out and instruct others in that same hope)
- How can you spread the hope of Christ to those around you?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Let’s take a crack at being a psalmist ourselves! The Psalm we covered today started with statements of “Happy are those . . .” Have your own students write a psalm that has five different “happy are those . . .” statements. While the students are writing you can turn on some non-distracting worship music as you are able. After giving the students a fair bit of time, ask if any of them would like to share the psalm that they had written (this would be a good time for you to go first if no one is chomping at the bit to share).
Close your group by praying for them to find the hope of Jesus during this Lenten Season, the hope that will never let us down or fail us.
- Poster board for the opening ice breaker
- Paper and pencil for closing activity