From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 42:1-11

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” 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. 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. 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. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me—A prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your 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, The help of my countenance and my God.           NKJV

Psalm 42 was a song written by the sons of Korah to Israel’s music director. It is a Psalm designed to test the spiritual temperature of God’s people—whether or not we are where we ought to be as Christians in our relationship to God. In this Psalm, there are three questions we can ask to determine our spiritual temperature.

Question number one—do we thirst go be in the presence of God? (vs. 1-2) The metaphor in verse one is that of a deer thirsting for water during a drought (Joel 1:20). Do you thirst for God? (Psa. 63:1-2, Psa. 16:11) The Psalmists desired to be in the presence of the Lord (v.2). Do you desire the same? Do you desire the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? (Tit. 2:13, I Cor. 1:7, Phil. 3:20) Given a choice, would you have Jesus come right this moment? (Rev. 22:20) Or would you prefer to have Him delay His coming for some reason? Do you long for His presence?

Question number two—do we face mockery for our reliance on God? (vs. 3, 9-11) If we have a good spiritual temperature—if we’re what we ought to be in our relationship with God—like the the sons of Korah, we too will face mockery (II Tim. 3:12, Jn. 15:18-20, I Jn. 3:13, I Cor. 4:13, II Chron. 36:16, Jer. 20:7, Prov. 29:27, Psa. 119:157, I Pet. 4:14). Israel had fallen into a spiritual drought. Worship service attendance was way down (v.4). The same thing has happened to the United States of America. Since 1955, regular church attendance in the USA has dropped from 75% to 20%. Christians, how is our church attendance? It’s one measure of our spiritual temperature.

Question number three—is our spirit lifted up because we focus on the Lord ((Heb. 12:1-2). In our text, we see three ways in which the Psalmists focused on the Lord.

First, the sons of Korah focused on the Lord by reading and mediating on the scriptures. All of the places and events in verses 6-7 are recorded in the scriptures. The scriptures remind us of who God is, what pleases and displeases Him, and what wondrous things He has done for us as His people (Psa. 139:17).

Second, the Psalmists focused on the Lord by singing His praises (v.8). Singing praises to God is a remedy for the depression and discouragement that sometimes afflicts us as God’s people (Acts 16:25), and it will lift our spirits (Isa. 61:3).

Third, the sons of Korah focused on the Lord by praying (v.8). As Christians, we need to have a regular, continuous, daily prayer life (I Thess. 5:17, Col. 4:2, Heb. 4:16, Jer. 33:3).

Christian, how is your spiritual temperature? Do you spend time daily with the Lord in prayer? Do you sing praises to Him? Do you thirst to be in His presence?

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