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The Comfort of Praise

Our need for comfort can arise from a number of different sources. We might experience a terrible loss, endure a seemingly impossible challenge, or grow tired of grueling circumstances that appear to have no end. It may even be that we are the focus of spiritual warfare—the Enemy attempts to discourage us as we faithfully serve God.

No matter what our situation, the one thing we know to be true is that we must turn to the Lord so He will soothe our souls, restore our joy, and give us the strength to go on.

A. Read Acts 16:6-40 and answer the following questions.

1. Where were Paul and Silas going before they were redirected (Acts 16:6–7)?



2. Who told Paul and Silas to go to the region of Macedonia (Acts 16:10)?



3. According to Acts 16:12, in what city does this account take place?



4. What were Paul and Silas doing when they were sentenced to prison (Acts 16:16-21)?



5. How would you have reacted if you were humiliated, flogged, and put in chains for obeying the Lord? Would you complain that it was unfair? Would you doubt Him?



6. How did the two men of God respond to being disrobed, beaten, and jailed (Acts 16:22-25)?



7. Why do you think they were singing praises to the Lord?



8. How did the Father respond to their hymns of adoration (Acts 16:25-30)?



9. What was the effect of Paul and Silas’s testimony and faithfulness to God (Acts 16:30-34)?



Perhaps you noticed that the Lord sent Paul and Silas into harms way—to the city of Philippi where they would be falsely accused and imprisoned. They were merely doing what they knew to be right: obeying God, preaching the gospel, and freeing a slave girl from the demons that possessed her. Why would the Lord allow them to be treated so unfairly?

Apparently, this thought didn’t plague their minds. Instead of blaming God, they expressed their trust in Him and sought His comfort. Paul and Silas did not rehearse all the wrongs committed against them; rather, they focused on the character of the One who would free them. And because they did, God was glorified, Paul and Silas were liberated, and the jailer and his entire family were saved.

B. Read Philippians 4:4–9.

Many of the Philippians had personally witnessed the miracle of Acts 16. In fact, the recipients of Paul’s letter may have included some of the jailer’s family. No doubt when they read his words, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:4–5), the Christians of Philippi would have recalled how God had rescued Paul and Silas from the prison. They would know for certain that what the apostle taught them was true.

1. Write down one area where you need God’s comfort.



2. Why do you think praise is so powerful when you are in a difficult situation?



3. When you express your thankfulness to and adoration for the Lord, what does it say about your faith in Him?



4. Why do you think God responds so positively when you express your trust in Him?



5. Spend time worshipping the Lord and singing His praises, especially with regard to the area of concern you listed in question number 10.



Closing: In Psalm 22:3-4, the psalmist tells God, “You . . . are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted; they trusted and You delivered them.” When we sing God’s praises despite our circumstances, we are acknowledging that He is on the throne—that He is still in charge—no matter how dire our situation may seem (Ps. 103:19). Through our adoration, we remember the character and loving-kindness of the One who has never let us down, and our hope is renewed.

Prayer: Whatever trial is currently buffeting your life, do not despair. Rather, express your unwavering faith in God (Heb. 10:23). Praise Him. Thank Him for His goodness to you. Tell Him you trust Him to help you. Allow His comfort to flow into your heart and reveal the path to triumph in your situation (Rom. 8:28). The Father loves to respond when you express your faith with such passion and confidence. Because not only are you deepening your relationship with Him; you are also showing others that He is the only One truly worthy of honor, glory, power, and praise (John 12:32).

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