So my soul longs for You
Psalm 42 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Thirsting for God in Trouble and Exile.
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants 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 say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
The psalmist says: As the deer pants (longs) for the water brooks, So my soul pants (longs) for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. In truth this is nothing that the psalmist boasts; the reality is that every soul longs and thirsts for God. We are created in His image and likeness, our soul, the eternal part of us, recognizes the eternal God and longs to be united to Him. In Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.” The soul longs for God. It is in the heart and the mind that the question of whether we will love Him lies. Jeremiah 17:9 says: The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? The world says follow your heart, but why should we follow something that is deceitful; desperately sick? If we follow our heart, our mind too will be subject to deceit. Unlike our eternal soul, our heart and minds are subject to and focused on what is carnal; not what is eternal. While our soul longs for God, our hearts and minds seek to satisfy the flesh. The psalmist says: Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. O my God, my soul is in despair within me. Our soul despairs because it is imprisoned in our fleshly bodies. What is within us longs for God, but we are affected by what is around us; whether our desires or our fears, our doubts and worries. What is the answer? Galatians 5:16-25 says: Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also ]walk by the Spirit. Like the soul, the spirit is eternal and the spirit of person with faith in Christ is unified with the Holy Spirit. If our spirit will yield to the Holy Spirit, then our soul will prosper.
The psalmist says: The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, 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 a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. In Deuteronomy 31:6 God says: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” In Isaiah 53:3-6 it says: He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
In Matthew 27:46, when Jesus was on the cross, He cried out: "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" Sometimes it may feel as though God has failed or forsaken us. It feels as though He has forgotten us because of the oppression of the enemy. Jesus was forsaken so we would not be. It is then, in the midst of despair that we must, like the psalmist, praise the Lord. The enemy, our enemy has been defeated. In John 19:30 Jesus said: “It is finished.” If our deceitful heart and our mind try to tells we are losing the battle, Romans 8:31-39 assures us saying: If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Heavenly Father, along with my soul, my heart and my mind long for You. My spirit longs to be one with Your Spirit. Because of the finished work of the cross, I am victorious. I praise You and bless Your name regardless of the situation or circumstances I am in, because I know that You will never forsake me; nothing can separate me from Your love. Amen.