Summary: When we are in the spiritual dessert, we need to keep in close touch with God or we will shrivel up with spiritual dehydration. The Psalmist explains his experience in the spiritual dessert, and points us in the right direction.
As the Deer Panteth for the Water
Psalm 42 and 43
Rather then spend a lot of time introducing the Sons of Korah and relating their role to the modern Christian, I thought I would share just a little bit about them each week.
1. Descendents of the Korah, a branch of the tribe of Levi. Some branches of his family did not follow him in his rebellion, thus they were spared.
2. In David's time, the Sons of Korah a choir and orchestra. Playing at the Tabernacle/Temple. The Sons of Asaph were another group.
3. The Jewish men who lived in Jerusalem would go the Temple 3 times a year and benefit from hearing them. Many once a year, others once every several years.
4. As far as possible context: the Psalmist is with David during his exile. Or it could be an unrecorded exile that occurred when one of the ungodly kings ruled Judah. The Psalmist is living in modern day Syria, in the dessert south and west of Damascus. He longs to be back home where he can enjoy the blessings of participating in the Jewish festivals and Temple rites and where water is plentiful.
5. Thus the dessert becomes a figure for times of spiritual challenge.
Main Idea: When we are in the spiritual dessert, we need to keep in close touch with God or we will shrivel up with spiritual dehydration. The Psalmist explains his experience in the spiritual dessert, and points us in the right direction.
I. Sometimes We MISS What We Once Had With the Lord (42:1-6a)
A. The Psalmist knew God was OMNIPRESENT
B. But his spiritual ROUTINE was upset
C. He felt THIRSTY for God (1)
D. He CRAVED to be at the Temple (2)
• Why the temple or tabernacle in particular? Did he think God was there and no where else? The "special" presence of God perhaps. Better yet, it was the Jewish view of Mitzvah, commandment, that he has in mind. The Jews viewed the commandments as opportunities to obey God. Men were given more commands than women, so men thanked God that they were born men because they had more opportunities to fulfill more mitzvot.
• Christians who are an active part of a church can fulfill mitzvot that independent Christians cannot, such as (1) obeying the elders of a church, (2) using their gifts to build up the body and fulfill the "one another" commands, or (3) singing to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and (4) joining with the group in worshiping God, which differs from worshiping him alone.
E. Non-believers MOCKED him (3)
F. He remembered being part of the Festival GROUP (4)
G. The Unifying QUESTION (5-6a)
Application: It is part of the normal Christian life to go through times when God seems distant. You may miss
• the idealism of your newly converted condition,
• the enthusiasm of initially realizing you are clean before God,
• the novelty and discovery of the Christian life,
• the wonder of it all.
• But the wonder can live on; you just have to dig deeper
II. We Find Ourselves in Miserable ENVIRONMENTS Hostile Toward God (42:6b-11)
A. Our soul feels CRUSHED (6b)
B. We must live AWAY from home (6b)
C. We feel like we are DROWNING (7)
D. Yet God SUSTAINS us (8)
• During dark nights, as we pray & sing to God, we can appreciate his love for us
E. We EXPRESS our confusion to God (9-10)
F. The Unifying QUESTION (11)
Application: For some of you, this environment is your family or family situations. For others, it is work or school, perhaps a secular college where the professor and most students hold Christians in contempt.
III. We Find Strength Believing that God is a God of the TOMORROWS (43:1-5)
A. He will DELIVER us in time (1)
B. We can believe even when we feel REJECTED (2-3)
C. We can look FORWARD to what awaits us (4)
This helps us endure the down times.
Seasons of the Soul by Michael and Stormie Omartian
"Whenever Summer dreams start to fade and lose their light, And when the Spring in your heart seems so cold, it can't be right, And you feel like you've lost control, And the valley's seem so low, Well it's not forever, just a season of the soul.
"Walkin alone in the desert at night, searching for the rain, How can this happen to me it's not right, when Jesus is my friend, Everything was going fine, I was standing on the line,
Where did I go wrong? Suddenly the sky was gray, Looking like it was gonna stay, Far too long.
"Up on a mountain I heard His sigh, like an angel's call, If you don't rest when the Winter is here, what will you bear in the Fall, A time to cry, a time to sing, There's a time for everything, Nothing lasts that long. Don't look at what you see, And just keep your eyes on Me, I won't let you go wrong.