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A Season of Psalms - Psalm 42:1-4a

Psalm 42:1-4a

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul…

English Standard Version (ESV)

What do you long for? The answers are limitless and can encompass almost anything: good health, financial stability, restored relationships, community, children, grandchildren, peace and quiet, the Cowboys (or the Texans) to win the Super Bowl. Believe it or not, even in our current state of contentedness when we find satisfaction in what we have, we still want more. Despite our best efforts to fill it, it remains. Blaise Pascal knew this and understood when he said, “There is within every man a God-shaped vacuum, an emptiness that only He can fill.”

Psalm 42 begins Book Two of the Psalter. The lament is sung not by David, but by the Korahites, who were the temple keepers and temple singers during the reigns of David and Solomon. Scholars suggest that it was composed while Israel was in exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C., for at that time the people of God were far away from the temple and thus felt removed from the presence of their Lord. Their great longing was to return and be restored (v. 5). A return to Jerusalem wasn’t just a hopeful wish. They thirsted for it, yearned for it, as a deer yearns for cool streams of water. Israel wanted to drink from the refreshing streams of the goodness of God, but instead they were far away from their utopia and were forced to live out their days in “a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” They thirsted to be in the presence of God and to find their whole satisfaction in Him. In their lament, they long for the “good old days” when they would parade into the temple among crowds of worshippers “with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.”

John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Are you satisfied in Him? Has your longing for Him dried up? Come to the fountain, drink of the living water that Christ gives, and you will never be thirsty again. “The water that I will give Him will become in Him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Are you thirsty? Drink up!

Further Reading: John 4:1-26; Psalm 143

Pray with me: Lord Jesus, draw us to the fountain and let us drink deeply of the water of life. Fill us to overflowing. You alone are our heart’s desire, and we long to worship You. In Your name we pray, Amen.

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