God has placed Psalm 42 directly at center point in my heart. I have read it over and over again in these past few weeks. So, I'm going to take a journey through Psalm 42. I'm going to see what the LORD has in store for me and hopefully others will come along. Psalm 42:1 (NKJV) As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God. I love the way the Psalmist opens this particular writing! See, I'm not particularly fond of deer (or any sort of wild animal creatures) and I couldn't readily connect with the visual image. I know that sounds goofy but that's just how I am wired. I read something and immediately try to connect it to a visual picture in my head. Deer are not my forte'! But anyway, the LORD began to show me that the "thirst" is great in the deer. So great that it's actually panting for water. I've been pretty thirsty before but I'm not sure I've ever panted for water! More importanly, have I ever panted for Christ? I don't think that as an American I have ever felt the level of thirst that some in the Third World countries do. A deep, physical thirst that just won't go away. I am blessed with the ability to turn on a faucet and get a glass of water. I complain sometimes that the water tastes funny and actually spend money to buy bottled water. How bizarre. But I'm more interested in a deep, spiritual thirst that just won't go away. Do I have that? Do I have that spiritual thirst for the Word of God? Am I pant at the Brook of Life? Am I crawling on hands and knees to get to that River of Life, that spiritual oasis that Christ offers His beloved Bride? Am i willing to crawl through the desert that is my life and seek out this brook? Can I be like a deer that rushes through the forest with one thing on it's mind . . . find water. Find that substance that will quench the agony of the body and in my case the utter agony of the spirit? Is my soul panting for you O, God or am I just skimming the surface? Never really letting myself feel that deep desire to grow closer to You. Am I keeping myself fat on the "water" of the world so that I don't even feel the true dryness of my spirit? Am I settling for cheap store bought water when I could be drinking deep from the fountain of everlasting life? LORD this is my prayer for today : Please make me desperate like the deer! LORD let me pant and run after what will quench my spirit! Let me humble myself and admit just how much I need YOUR Living Water, let me see how much I have polluted my spirit with the water of the world and let me toss it aside for what is real. What is clean and what is true. You. M.
Psalm 42:2 (NKJV)
My soul thirsts for God, the Living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Now we get to the meat of it! It's no longer abou thte dder, it's about ME! "My soul thirsts for God, the Living God." I believe that this thirst is universal to all mankind. We all hear the call of God at some point in our lives. Some hear the call and run to the LORD and others ignore it, hoping it will pass and still others run the opposite direction . . . straight to the enemy.
This thirst for God is programmed into our being, it's just buried under Adam's seed of sin. God breathed life into Adam therefore His influence, His very breath is in every one of us. When the Sons of Korah wrote this Psalm they wrote it for all of us. You can feel the sadness in the writing of their longing to be in the house of God again. "Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere" as the popular worship song goes. Dont' we, as Christians, long to be in the house of the LORD as opposed to this present darkness? I hope that when I get to heaven that I can meet with the Sons of Korah!
Now back to the verse. . .
There are so many other verses that deal with this "thirst" we have for the Word of God. The need for water speaks to the very core of our human nature. Without water we get dehydrated. With dehydration comes a myriad of symptoms and side affects that can really knock us for a loop! So if the physical lack of water can tear our bodies down how much more will the lack of spiritual water tear us down? I think it's more dangerous than we realize. I can tell you from experience that being in a spiritual desert is heartbreaking. Walking in dryness of the soul, not hearing from God, feeling the well run dry slowly every day is torture for a Christian. So when I write these things about this Psalm I am preaching to the choir amen?
This Psalm speaks to that Christian event of spiritual dryness and the Psalmist tackles it head on in the first two verses. Alot of people (especially Americans) walk around in a state of physical dehydration. All sorts of physical ailments are caused because we simply don't drink enough water. (And listen folks -you especially hubby!- soft drinks and sweet southern iced tea do not count for water intake!) We suffer with headaches, nausea, malaise, body aches and other things all because we simply don't drink enough water every day. So what do you think is happening to us spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically when we don't drink of the Water of Life? The symptoms are endless and tragic to a Christians life.
Stop the dehydration!!! Take a drink from the Well of Life daily. More than once a day!
The next part of the verse says: "When shall I come and appear before God?"
Wow! How many times do we, as Christians, think about that? When will I appear before Jesus Christ? When will I get to hear Him say, "Well done good and faithful Servant?" I get choked up thinking about my face to face meeting with Jesus because I want that so badly. My entire being longs to go home. To see the place He has prepared for me. I'm an alien here and sometimes it becomes too much to bear but we have to move forward in this life not become stagnant amen?
Even in my current state of spiritual dehydration I continaully think on that moment when I will "appear before God" and I can lay down my burden and rest in Him. When I can simply fall into Him and realize my full potential as part of the Bride. Where I can see my glorified state and simply fall down at His feet giving thanks and praise to Him who has made me whole!
Thank you Abba Father for this Psalm and for Your spiritual water that heals on so many levels. May we always drink deeply of from Your well.
Other verses that deal with "water" and "thirst":
Ps. 36:8, 9
Is. 41:17; 55:1
Jer. 2:13, 14:1-9; 17:13
John 4:10; 7:37,38
Rev. 7:17; 21:6; 22:1,17
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on thirst for the Lord and spiritual dehydration. I totally agree with you that we were wired to be filled with God. The bible says we should live by every word that proceeds from His mouth.
"Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: "Since you are God's Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread." Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God's mouth." (Matthew 4:2-4 MSG)
A lot of us know this, yet never actually experience it for any significant amount of time. We hear a wonderful word like the one you just shared and vow to change, for as long as our conscious effort can last we try harder until we fall back again. If lasting change is to take place, we need to dig a bit deeper. A great part of the issue lies with most of us not having a deeper revelation of God's unconditional love. The way God set up the new covenant was that we would serve Him in the power of an inner motivation(His love) and not external injunctions(the law) as the old covenant did.
"But now, Jesus has been given priestly work which is superior to theirs, just as the covenant which he arranged between God and his people is a better one, because it is based on promises of better things. If there had been nothing wrong with the first covenant, there would have been no need for a second one. But God finds fault with his people when he says, "The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will draw up a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. They were not faithful to the covenant I made with them, and so I paid no attention to them. Now, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel in the days to come, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. None of them will have to teach their friends or tell their neighbors, 'Know the Lord.' For they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs." (Hebrews 8:6-12 GNB)
When we know in truth How much God loves us, we would respond back in love and that love will eventually flow out to others. This now takes us back to a point you made about the influence of the world. A lot of the stuff in the media does not reveal God's true love and sadly neither does a lot of teaching in the church. I suppose you can only share what you know. A bit like the elder brother in the Prodigal son story, He was so busy serving his Father, he missed out on enjoying his love.
"We love Him because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19 MKJV)
"And we have known and believed the love that God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16 MKJV)
"The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love. In this the love of God was revealed in us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. "(1 John 4:8-11 MKJV)
We need to soak ourself in the knowledge of God's intense unconditional and unwaning love till we are completely smitten with it. We won't need much reminding to spend time with Him. A very intimate love affair awaits us, with the greatest love of our lives.
"We know it so well, we've embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day--our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life--fear of death, fear of judgment--is one not yet fully formed in love." (1 John 4:16-18 MSG)
Fear is the devils lasso
Condemnation, His stick
Love, God's ultimate motivation
Which one persuades you?
My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, "Where is your God?"
(vs 3a) "my tears have been my food day and night"
Seems to me that the Psalmist is showing that his sorrow passes a huge shadow over everything in his life, right down to the most mundane of things like eating and drinking.
He finds no joy even in the things which should be enjoyable.
cf example: Psalm 102:9 I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.
In a spiritual drought your lack of fellowship with Abba Father makes everything around you bland. Everything seems to lack any sparkle or glimmer that used to catch your eye.
It's like biting into a nice piece of your favorite cake only to realize that your taste buds aren't working! What a let down! So what's the use of taking another bite of something you cannot taste to enjoy? There is no joy in it.
God's Word promises that He will hear us when we cry out for spiritual quenching. When we need to fall into the refreshment of the Living Water, God hears and offers us not only a pool but a downpour of water as well.
(vs 3b) While they continually say to me, "Where is your God?"
Have you ever felt that enemy whispering in your ear, "So where is your God now?" "Why isn't He here to protect you, to comfort you, why does He feel so far away?" "Your God doesn't care."
I've dealt with the unbelief from the enemy and my own flesh for the entirety of my Christian walk. To be at the foot of Jesus' throne, crying out to Him, only to hear the enemy's taunting voice.
"Where is your God?" You can almost hear the Psalmist' enemies saying it with a smirk and a complete arrogance. We have to remember in these times of spiritual warfare and even in times of actually people questiioning our God that we are to stand on the truth of the Gospel. Without wavering and without side stepping any issues. If someone questions your God put an end to it immediately! Even if you don't feel Him near you, say outloud . . . "MY GOD IS HERE! MY GOD IS POWERFUL! MY GOD LOVES ME SO GET BEHIND ME SATAN!" How fast do you think those naysayers would turn and run?
LORD, make us strong even in our utter weakness. LORD always let our eyes and heart focus on YOU and not our surrondings or those who would speak against You. And LORD, let us always find joy in our lives through You.
When I remember these things I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise. With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
That's exactly where I am today! I remember how I felt at the beginning of my salvation and my soul seems to pour out of me, yearning for that "feeling" again. I remember how involved I was in church and how I was at the head of the line to do things for Christ.
I realize that constantly yearning for that "feeling" I had at salvation shows my lack of understanding about how you truly grow as a Christian. I didn't realize this fact until I started reading a book that our women's group will use in our Bible study next week. It's called, "The Prayer That Changes Everything" by Stormi Omartian. It's simply about worship and praise and how that affects our lives. I read the introduction and basically knew immediately that God intended for me to read this entire book. I knew when Stormi talked about being in that "dark night of the soul" and living through real spiritual depression that the LORD was going to speak to me through this Bible study. And as I sat there holding back the tears I realized that the enemy was going to try and sabotage this immediately. And true to his lying form, he did to a degree but I'm going to take it back.
I want to succeed and get back to the time where I "go with the multitude" and worship with the "voice of joy and praise". I know with all my heart and soul that Jesus will bring me back there. I just have to show some obedience and faith. I have to stop letting the temptations of the world distract me from what I am supposed to be doing in order to show obedience and to hear from God.
Why are you cast down O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, for the help of His countenance.
"why are you cast down O my soul?"
When you are in spiritual depression you can actually feel yourself slipping. It's as if you are standing on the edge of a huge hole in the earth. Your toes are dug into the very edge, the ground is soft underfoot and you begin to feel yourself losing grip. Instead of simply taking a step back onto solid ground you simply stand there and stare at your feet in awe as they slowly slide down the side of the hole. The question, "why are you cast down" shows a knowledge of feelings. A knowledge that you have allowed yourself to fall into the crevice of spiritual dehydration and if you don't do the right thing quickly the descent will get faster and faster!
See slipping over the edge is a gradual event. You begin to lose sight of Jesus here and there. The world takes you away from your quiet time over and over again. You stay up watching tv instead of going to bed at a decent time to you can spend some time on your knees before God. Instead you stay awake watching garbage. Garbage in . . . garbage out amen? So instead of filling yourself with the goodness and peace of Christ you are filling yourself with the toxic sludge of the enemy and the world around you. You are now over the edge and heading down the slope that leads deeper into the hole.
Now your descent will become faster and faster. You'll stop reading your Word completely. Months will go by and you won't have read one single word from God. You'll stop praying and thereby cutting off all communication between you and the LORD. You'll become a robot and do all the movements entailed in the "christian programming" you received at church. You'll become an empty shell sitting in a pew on a Sunday morning thinking about what's going to happen on Desperate Housewives instead of letting the praise and worship minister to your soul and certainly without hearing the pastor bring God's message. You are now on a very rapid trip to the bottom of that hole.
You better do something quick. Reach a hand out to the only One who can save you from this disaster. Jesus Christ, your LORD and Savior.
(the 2nd part of the verse will be in the next post)
Show us when we are slipping. Father, open our eyes to the traps in our lives that pull us down into that pit. Father, give us strength and courage to get rid of them no matter how hard that might be. LORD reach out to those of us who have fallen already and are sliding down that slope. Father, let us look up long enough to see your hand stretched out for us! Let us reach for rescue and hold on for dear life. Amen.
To those reading this blog:
I apologize for neglecting this particular thread. I admit that the enemy has gotten me off course lately.
I will continue very soon.
Your Sister in Christ,
(v6) O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar.
My Bible commentary says that this verse is referring to a change in the Psalmist condition. From drought to drowning. From the fire into the frying pan! I watched a show the other day about survival. These two men were sailing off the coast of Mexico and their boat was caught in bad weather that pummeled the vessel and ultimately tossed them into the sea. With the wreckage of their boat they washed up on the shore of a desert island only 12 miles off the coast of mainland Mexico. This was an actual desert island! No vegetation except for one cactus on the beach. The rest of the landscape was simply rocks and nothing more. By mid-afternoon they were scorched with 100+ degree weather and the sun beat down relentlessly on them. They had no fresh water source and it was two days before they began to cut into the cactus and drink the bitter, slimy fluids from the meat of the plant. They were tormented as their skin was burned to a crisp and at night they were bitten by thousands of sand mites that brought on unbearable itching and eventually infection. Dehydration set in and they began to hallucinate and contemplated swimming the shark infested canal waters to the mainland which was 12 long miles away. This is a season of intense drought.
I watched this horrific story unfold and I was overcome with tears as I watched these men recount their experience. They never really gave up. They kept their sense of humor and even after four days without water or food they kept each other sane and they survived! I was just blown away at their resilience and how they were determined to live no matter what. I compare that to my own spiritual struggles and wonder how in the world I can just give up so many times and admit defeat. Although my spirit is scorched and I am blistered to the bone I have Someone who stands beside me and says, "You are going to survive this! Your Rescue is not too far away." The Holy Spirit does His job so very well! He's the Comforter and there are times when I am in that scorched land that I forget He's right there with me. The story of these two men really touched my heart and opened my eyes concerning my spiritual struggles.
To get back to the verse, the Psalmist is saying "Look I've had a drought. I'm not hearing from you, I'm sick in my soul. And now, the water is coming and will overtake me. I'm going to drown." He goes from one spiritual extreme to another. I have been there before, tossed from a cracked, dry connection with God to feeling as if I am drowning in my inadequacies and in my lack of faith. I often cry out to God, "Lord help my unbelief!"
(v7) Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
My commentaries say that this is a verse that acknowledges that God is ultimately responsible for the oceans of trials in which the Psalmist seems to be drowning. I totally agree with that observation but I have one of my own that seems to sit more profoundly within me when I read this verse. I believe this verse is talking about the fact that the Lord has to call us to deep, intimate knowledge of Him. A deep, intimate love of Him. A deep, intimate need for him. We should never desire to stay Christians who are content with just treading water, barely keeping our heads up. We should abandon all fear and dive down deep to where the meat of this relationship with Christ lies. To me this scripture is telling me I need to seek more from Christ and not be content with my run of the mill ideas about Him or my surface knowledge of His Word. I believe the Lord is saying in this verse that the rescue from spirtiual drought and drowning is to stop fighting the current, relax and dive deep down into the Living Water. He will meet you there with open arms and He'll be excited to see you there! He wants us to seek Him, "with our whole hearts" because that is when the true, wonderous romance can flourish between you and Christ.
As Steven Curtis Chapman says in his song, "I'm goin' deep!"