Psalms 88–150 contain praise for the Lord’s mercy and goodness. Included are psalms that express gratitude for the word of God (Psalm 119) and declare children to be cherished gifts from the Lord (Psalm 127). Psalms 140–45 contain a few of David’s prayers to God pleading for deliverance from his enemies.
Display several items that help provide people with direction or guidance, such as a flashlight, a compass or GPS, a map, and a picture of a lighthouse.
What do all these objects have in common?
How can each of these objects provide someone with guidance and direction?
What are some situations in which youth today may need divine guidance and direction?
Invite students as they study Psalm 119 to look for what can help give guidance and direction for our lives.
Explain that Psalm 119 is a poem containing eight verses of scripture for each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Invite a student to read Psalm 119:1–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Psalmist said makes a person blessed. Explain that the word blessed in these verses means happy and that the word undefiled in verse 1 means to be pure or free from sin.
According to the Psalmist, what makes a person blessed or happy?
What do you think it means to “walk in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 119:1)?
How can obeying God’s words and commandments bring us happiness?
Point out the word precepts in verse 4. Explain that precepts are commandments or teachings to live by. Other words used as synonyms for God’s words and teachings in this psalm include testimonies, statutes, law, commandments, ordinances, and ways. Consider listing these words on the board.
Explain that the writer of Psalm 119 used symbols to describe his love for the word of God and the blessings that can come through diligently studying and obeying His words. To help students understand these symbolic expressions, write the following references on the board (do not write the words and phrases in parentheses):
Divide students into five groups, and assign each group one of the references on the board. (For smaller classes, you may need to assign several references to individual students.) Display the following objects or pictures of these objects: a hymnbook, coins (or something representing riches), honey (or something sweet), a picture of a path, and a picture of a counselor (for example, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Church or a school counselor). Provide each group with the following handout, and invite them to complete the activities listed:
After students have had sufficient time to complete the instructions on the handout, ask them to select one student from each group to read their group’s assigned scripture passage to the class, display their item, and share what they discussed in their groups.
Invite a student to read Psalm 119:105 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Psalmist compared the word of God to.
What did the Psalmist liken the word of God to?
You may want to dim the lights in the room and turn on a flashlight.
How might the word of God be like a lamp or light to us as we study it? (Write the following truth on the board: As we study the word of God, we can receive guidance for our lives. You may want to suggest that students write this truth in their scriptures next to Psalm 119:105 or in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.)
What are sources of God’s word that provide light and guidance for our lives?
To help students understand what we can do to obtain guidance from God’s word, invite a student to read Psalm 119:11, 15–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Psalmist did with the word of God.
What did the Psalmist do with the word of God?
What do you think the Psalmist meant in verse 11 by the phrase, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart”?
Write the following question on the board, and ask students to ponder it and then write a response in their class notebooks or scripture study journals: When has the word of God been like a lamp or light to you, giving guidance for your life?
After sufficient time, invite a few students to share what they wrote. You may want to share how God’s word has helped guide and bless your life.
Invite students to write down a specific goal for what they will do to become more familiar with the word of God so they can receive the promised guidance.
Display a picture of children to the class. Read the following scenario, and ask students to consider how they would respond:
A friend says to you, “Having a family seems like a burden that would prevent me from doing other important things with my life. When I get older, I think I would be much happier if I did not have children.”
How would you respond to your friend?
What are some priorities people might put ahead of having children?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Psalm 127:3–5. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what these verses teach about children.
Explain that the word quiver in verse 5 refers to a case for holding arrows.
According to verse 5, what did the Psalmist say about the man who has a “quiver full” of children?
What principle do these verses teach about children? (Although students may state it differently, help them identify the following principle: Children are gifts from the Lord and can bring parents great happiness. Write this principle on the board.)
To help students understand why children are cherished gifts from God, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“It is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for [the] spirit children of God. We believe in families, and we believe in children.
“When a child is born to a husband and wife, they are fulfilling part of our Heavenly Father’s plan to bring children to earth. …
“Families are central to God’s eternal plan. I testify of the great blessing of children and of the happiness they will bring us in this life and in the eternities” (“Children,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 28, 31).
Why do you think bearing children is a “crowning privilege” for a husband and wife who are able to do so?
How can children bring parents great happiness?
How can remembering that children are gifts from the Lord influence our attitude toward having and rearing children?
You may want to share your testimony of the blessings and happiness that can come from having children.
Explain that Psalms 140–45 contain a few of David’s prayers to God.
Write the following scripture references on the board: Psalm 140:1, 4; Psalm 141:4; Psalm 142:5–6; Psalm 143:8–10; Psalm 144:11. Invite students to pick two of the scripture passages and read them silently, looking for what David prayed for.
What did David pray for?
What modern enemies might we pray for Heavenly Father to deliver us from?
Write the following phrase on the board: A principle I can learn from David is …
Invite a student to read Psalm 145:18–20 aloud, and ask the class to follow along, looking for principles David taught in these verses. Explain that in verse 18 the word nigh means to be close or near and that to call upon God “in truth” implies praying with real intent and with a sincere heart (see Moroni 10:4).
Ask students to complete the statement on the board in their class notebooks or scripture study journals based on what they have learned from these verses.
Invite a few students to share with the class the principle they wrote. Students may identify a variety of principles, but make sure it is clear that as we pray to God in sincerity and truth, He will be near us and if we love God, He will spiritually preserve us.
What does it mean to have God near us?
What blessings do you think come from having God near us?
Conclude the lesson by encouraging students to pray with sincerity as David did.
To help students memorize Psalm 119:105, invite them to write the words of the verse on a card or small piece of paper. Encourage them to place the paper on or near a lamp or a light switch in their home for the next week and to quote the verse each time they see it.
Before class, print or write the words from Psalm 127:3 on a piece of paper and make several copies. Cut each word out, and place the words in an envelope or small bag. Do this for each copy you made. Divide the class into small teams with two to four students on each team. Give each team an envelope or bag containing the words from Psalm 127:3. When you say “go,” each team is to arrange the words in the correct order to form the passage. The first team to complete the passage wins. Invite each team to repeat the verse until they can say it together in unison without looking at it.
Note: Because of the length of this lesson, you may want to use this activity on another day when you have more time.