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)