Psalm 42:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses
To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
Have you ever been really thirsty, for water? I have.
--Water from Granddad's pump, I recall, best of all.
--David had a thirst, also, but for the Lord God!
--Listen! "My soul thirsts for God, the living God."
Look at Psalm 42. David in a cave. Thirsting.
--Picture our Scripture. He is chased by King Saul.
--Several times David saved Saul's life; now hunted by King Saul, seeking to take David's life.
--Married Saul's daughter! But Saul was jealous.
--So David was running for his life, hiding in caves.
--Praying for God's help. Provision. Protection.
David looks out of the cave, sees a deer, running.
--Running for his life; and the deer is very thirsty.
--The deer is being hunted. Panting. Hot, thirsty.
--Goes for water, from a cool pool. David watches.
David feels for that young dear. Both very thirsty.
--Both being chased by hunters. He thirsts for God!
--"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, 0 God" (v 1). Longs for communion!
--"My soul thirsts for God, the living God" (v 2).
--Only a "living God" can help, and satisfy his need.
--David was holding on to hope!
My friend, do you ever get down? Problems multiply?
--Your family not going well. Or job. Or finances.
--Maybe you are there in some way now. What to do?
--David goes to God, says, "My tears have been my food day and night .. I pour out my soul" (v 3,4).
--Where do you go, each new day, or in tough times?
Amid disappointments and difficulties, have faith!
--Let your faith grow - even if it is small or weak.
--Faith "small as a mustard seed" with Jesus, "..moves mountains." Only trust Him! Nothing any better!
--Remember what Jesus said in John 7:37, ".. if anyone thirsts (has a need), let him come to Me and drink."
--You see, Jesus is the "water of life" we need.
We may not know it, but we all have a thirst for God.
--People go wild. Do murderous things to people.
What a splendid witness for Jesus, the Amish gave.
--Five precious young lives snuffed out, yet the killer's widow is welcomed among them, in love.
--When many, in the Middle East or here, take revenge!
--Friend, we need more like these Amish believers!
--Like David, and others. Like Jesus, and His cross.
--Laying down His sinless life, for sinners, as we.
Hunted. Innocent. Running for his safety and life!
--Yet. David says, "I shall yet praise (God), for the help of His countenance," God's presence (v 5, 11).
--David was not ashamed to confess the Lord!
We may not be aware, but all are being chased.
--That's right. By the devil, our greatest enemy!
--Satan allures. Deceives. Defeats. Destroys.
--It was the devil in Saul that sought David's life!
David wrote Psalm 42, in a time of difficulty.
--At times this old world can get us discouraged.
--When troubles come, don't curse, nurse, or rehearse.
--But disperse them to God, in prayer, as did David.
--Strong, believing saints know to do that.
--They keep thirsting after God! His Word! His grace.
--David said, "My soul thirsts for the living God."
Are you "thirsting for the living God?" His promises?
--God has plenty of precious promises to cheer us.
--In His Word. For any to claim. Feed on each day.
--I have found them trustworthy. So comforting.
We should also "thirst" for God's protection.
--Day by day. For self. Loved ones. Youth. Others.
--Our troops. Protect our faith! Our freedoms.
--The ACLU, and terrorists, seek to destroy them.
--Bless those who seek to protect all that is dear!
In godly living, let's "thirst" for God's provisions.
--To "provide all our need according to His riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). For His care of us.
Thirsting for His presence. His great possibilities.
--God has a plan for good for each to choose!
--Seek it. Desire it. Just don't miss it!
--David was thirsting for all of these, from the Lord.
We read, "All things are possible with God" (Mt. 19:26).
--Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23).
--If it is God's will, it can be done.
--If it is not God's will, it can be done, without.
--Keep this in mind, for God is "able to do more than we can ask, or even think," when. in His holy will.
--A thirst for God is the key - to heaven and His help.
I am often asked what to do when problems arise.
--May I suggest things I believe that David, and others in Scripture, did .. that you and I can do?
I. LOOK AT THE PROBLEM - TO ANALYZE IT.
--Read I Samuel for the background and details here.
--David had problems, greater than most of us.
--He looked at it, from all sides. Analyzed it long.
--He evaluated it. Was it real? Was it serious? Yes.
--Asked, "Am I at fault?" Was quick to make amends.
--Was it another person at fault? That needs prayer.
--Calls for wisdom. Patience. Understanding. Care.
--He asks, "What can I do to resolve, or reduce, it?"
--He thirsted for God! "For the living God"to help.
Let's be honest. Admit our faults. Confess sins.
--Admit any mistakes. Do everything on our part.
--Let's not leave it all up to God. Or another.
--You will never go wrong, to make things right!
--Analyze your life. Look at it, as God does.
--David was doing that, "When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me" (Psalm 42:4).
II. LOOK BEYOND THE PROBLEM - AGONIZE OVER IT.
--What do we mean agonize? That surely is not worry!
--Worry gets us nowhere. Solves nothing; never wins.
--Worry never paid a bill. Or does God's will.
--The agonizing I speak, is genuine, fervent prayer!
--Not some little quick, ditty. But in earnest!
That's what David was telling here in Psalm 42.
--Verse 3, "My tears have been my food day and night."
--His prayers mingled with his tears! Were his meat.
--He was so engaged in intercession with the Lord, he forgot to eat! Or was "fasting and praying."
--Like Jesus' tears in Gethsemane, before His cross.
Jesus agonized in prayer in Gethsemane before a cross.
--Listen to Him, "Not My will, but Thy will, be done."
III. LOOK THROUGH THE PROBLEM - ORGANIZE IT.
--Not just look at, or beyond, but look through it.
--Not just analyze, agonize, but organize it with God!
--David put it all in perspective. Broke it in parts.
--Focused on God; not the problem!
--Life is hard by the yard; but a cinch by the inch!
What life hands you, organize it - with the Lord.
--David learned that. Partnered with God; was blessed.
--In the end, the Lord brought David success!
In John 4 Jesus is at Jacob's well, where we've drunk.
--About noon. They were hot. Thirsty, from walking.
--A woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink" (4:7). You know the story.
--A conversation ensues - and Jesus told her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst .. the water I shall give him will become .. a fountain of water springing up in everlasting life."
--Refreshing, life-giving words! Amazing, true promise.
--It is in Jesus! True for many then. True today.
In Isaiah 43:2, God promised, "When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown"(LB).
--My friend, a "born again" believer is ever blessed!
We think of Jesus on the cross, saying, "I thirst."
--Of course He did! "I thirst" fulfills Psalm 69:2.
--Thirsting for water! But for more than water!
--Jesus was thirsting for our faith in Him!
--Our obedience to Him. For our "righteousness, love."
Long ago this same prophet Isaiah, in 55:1, cried, "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come .. you who have no money .. buy and eat .. without money and without price."
--Feed upon the Lord, by faith. Drink of His fountain!
--You and I can come, enjoy; for Jesus "paid it all."
Psalm 42 ends with these words of David, "Hope in God."
--Only trust Him, in Jesus!
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD.