Psalm 42:1-4 New American Standard Bible
Thirsting for God in Trouble and Exile.
For the music director. A [a]Maskil of the sons of Korah.
42 As the deer [b]pants for the water brooks,
So my soul [c]pants for You, God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and [d]appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 I remember these things and pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go over with the multitude and walk them to the house of God,
With a voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude celebrating a festival.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Moses had to quickly flee into the desert after being discovered to have killed an Egyptian. He had not nearly enough time to outfit and provision himself for the long journey to wherever it was going to take him. Moses was a strong man, and a strong leader, he was truly well versed in surviving desert environments when he has had that large number of others serving his needs and also providing for each and every last one of them before he needed to ask or command for them.
Now, it was all going to be different now that he was discovered to have killed the Egyptian. He needed to leave and leave quickly or risk his own arrest and his humiliation, and the humiliation of the very throne of Egypt and then his death. No time to plan for provisions – for water and for food and for transportation by some means other than great chariots pulled by all the very mightiest of horses. He would be on his own now. He would be traversing the vast wilderness, desert upon his own two feet. Not one could help him, else they’d risk their own lives.
On your own. Thrust by circumstances both seen and unforeseen, in unfamiliar territory. Not knowing where to turn or when to turn for help. Enveloped deep within a situation for which there seems to be no visible nor evident solutions. We walk alongside Moses in such times as this held captive by our thoughts and our actions we cannot take back or move forward from. Homelessness, poverty, a total lack of resources and lack of even basic day to day provision to survive.
We have our own inner resources – our wits, our life skills which our parents had given us as we grew up. We learned about surviving life as life was thrust at us at a pace, we allowed ourselves to believe was wholeheartedly manageable. I have been there and done that more times than I can count, and I believe myself to be a strong person as I am sure each of those who read these few words also believe themselves to be a strong person capable of surviving whatever comes.
That is … until when the irresistible force of our pride and vanity runs headlong into that immovable brick wall, we are unceremoniously stopped in our tracks. There are no more survival skills for us to fall back on – that well has dried up. We are in that penultimate place where we literally have nowhere else to turn. No direction of the compass can we travel where there is any resemblance of that which we can call a living hope for a living and prosperous hope for our future. There is not one single hair follicle from our head that is left unpulled. No food, water is apparent to us as we navigate this most unwanted barrenness.
That is, until we chance to look up from out of our vast misery to see that quiet scene as the Psalmist did those thousands of years ago. That tranquil scene of one lone deer prancing and walking up to that source of water we had not seen nor even considered taking notice of, but which had always been there before us. A deer, coming out of the wilderness, seemingly without a care in the world approaches the edges of a flowing stream, sets itself to the business of taking a long cool drink to slake its lingering thirst. Such a tranquil scene, courtesy of the Lord our God in that exact moment when we needed to see and learn from it.
A scene which suddenly, now totally distracts us from the worst of the worst we had assigned to our limited fields of vision. A deer quietly reaches its head down to the still and quiet waters flowing and running before it. Lo! Placed before us is a brand-new survival skill. “LOOK UP!” NOTICE ALL THE QUIET WHICH IS ALWAYS AND FOREVER THERE BEFORE US! If the one deer is drinking quietly, why aren’t we? It is not as if that deer does not have anything else to be leery of, such as predators lurking nearby, it is just that in that exact moment, it knows it needs to drink, it recognizes its thirst, it recognizes the water as its survival. It’s absolute need for survival in that moment, overwhelms all its worst fears.
Such a tranquil and inspiring and empowering scene, for me, leads me away to the few remaining quiet places which remain unidentified deep within my soul.
It places a great, and much needed pause in all my most sorrowful pleadings: “WHERE ARE YOU, GOD, WHEN I NEED YOU THE MOST? LIKE RIGHT NOW!”
It encourages me to look OUTWARD and therefore, move myself FORWARD.
• It challenges us look at the real “dry places in our life” being our prayer life.
• It urges us to look up into the reality of God’s creation and to worship.
• It directly and decisively confronts the dynamic vibrance of our sin life.
• It helps us to enter the battlefields of the whims of our flesh versus God.
• It breathes a new and EVER living hope into us when we are under attack.
• It opens our eyes to the greatness of God and the power of His salvation.
• It mightily, quietly, softens the “immeasurable” blows of disappointment.
• It molds and shapes our minds into the greater SHALOM and plan of God.
The intense heart-soul – spirit yearnings of the Psalmist for the Lord and his deep pleading enquiry to know the whereabouts of his God, resounds like the repetitive tolling of a thousand, thousand blasts of the great Shofar through the intensely personal and sorrowful pleadings of Korah, in his Psalm – before he finally reached God’s victory in his heart and a deep satisfaction within his soul.
The soul which mightily thirsts for the Lord and heavily and zealously pants for the presence of its living God and keep on and on thirsting and panting for Him is the one for whom the Lord Himself will provide His deep well of satisfaction, brimming to over-abundance, overflowing with the refreshing waters of His life – living water that revives, restores revitalizes and reinvigorates the man or woman whose deepest inner being cries out; “I thirsteth!’ for more of my Jesus.
The one who asks, and indeed, mightily, thirstily, pleads for more of Jesus and keeps on asking will surely receive. The one who seeks the Savior and keeps on seeking will find Him and the one that thirsts and pants and keep on thirsting and panting for more of Jesus – will have their mightiest of thirsts quenched!!!
2 Corinthians 4 New Revised Standard Version
Treasure in Clay Jars
4 Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth, we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture— “I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
When our wells seem to be at their driest, in all times and in and from all places, when we are in the very smallest or the very greatest of needs of revival, may we all in humility of heart, and the thirstiest of souls and gentleness of spirit thirst and all keep on thirsting for God, for the more deeply we sense our need of our Lord, Savior Jesus, the more passionately we’ll pursue the Living Waters of life.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us now seek the quiet, tranquil places from where even the deer will pray,
Heavenly Father, I thirst! therefore I pray that You would develop within me a deeper and more personal thirst for You with each passing day, for it is only as I drink deeply of You that my soul can be satisfied – only as I am refreshed by Your Living Waters of life… may I be used as a conduit through whom Your refreshment may be poured out to other thirsty souls, in Jesus’ name I pray, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! AMEN.