Summary: What s this hope that Christians have through Jesus? How is it we live in hope, that have a hope for the future, that we have hope to share with the world?
Read Psalm 42.
I’ve had a few things to celebrate this week it was good to come home from Mosgiel on Wednesday morning and catch up with Janaki (daughter) the team here at the Corps after the trip south. We had caught up with Louis (son), Hannah (daughter-in law) and Sophia (grand-daughter) and were able to celebrate Sophia’s first birthday with them. We had a good flight home also, I noticed an add that Air New Zealand are running on the planes during winter just now for the New Zealand Blood Service that states, “Give Blood, Give Plasma, Give Hope.” It was quite striking as if you needed one of those fluids and it was not available it would be a hopeless situation. Being one of those people who connects things it got me thinking about the Hope that we have received through Jesus' blood being shed on the cross.
I talked with someone last week who declared they had, had one of those days, well they said one of those weeks.
We all have days that start out not quite how we expect, we even have days when we wonder why we got out of bed. I know there have been a few days that I’m more than happy to see the end of. However, some of those days have made life more than a little interesting and are worth resharing the stories of but others not so much. I guess we all have had a few of those days?
The Psalmist in psalm forty-two had had more than one or two rough days, it is thought he was a Levite Priest who for some reason was at the time of his writing this poem, s physically distant from Jerusalem and the temple, perhaps exiled. Scholars believe that he may have been in exile with King David somewhere beyond the Jordan.
This man was missing being in the presence of God at the temple. It should be remembered that at that time God was worshipped at the temple You may remember me preaching about how the Holy of Holies was the place of Gold and the that glory of God hovered between the Cherubim’s wings on top of the Mercy seat on top of the Ark of the Covenant, behind the curtain. Also the gold and silver of the temple, literally tons of these precious metals and polished bronze, just the shining sceptical of the temple courts would have left the people there in awe of the Lord.
However, the despairing priest who wrote Psalm 42, compares the state of his soul to the thirst of a deer as it pants for need of water. He feels it is only within the presence of the Living God that he can be refreshed. Not only that, but he’s also grief stricken at the thought of not being able to be in the presence of God.
He is challenged by some of those around him who ask him, “where is your God?”
On being challenged he remembers where his God is, where he used to go to worship God with the multitude of the people; leading the procession of the people to the house of God, to the temple, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving, among the festive noise and bustle. This man knew what it was to be in God’s presence and to be joyfully praising God.
When he remembers he addresses himself saying and I’m paraphrasing, “Get it together man, why are you so down, why such a mess. Put your hope in God, you’ll be praising him yet; he’s your saviour and your God. I’m down but I’m not out, so I will remember Him. I may be distant from the place I worship God but I will remember him where I am.” A realisation kicks in for the man that he is always in God’s presence and that God is always in his presence. In the same way we can put our hope in God, we can wherever we are, whatever the circumstances praise God for who he is and what he has done for us.
The psalmist/the poet is giving himself a bit of a shakeup. He sees that he is in despair, but that God is still there, but he is finding it hard to acknowledge that, as he’s always worshipped in one place, at the temple. He is realizing that he needs to refocus his gaze. That God is with him where he is.
In verse seven he starts calling out in despair again “deep calls to deep in your waterfalls; all your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. This is metaphor a word picture for despair. We could read “deep calls to deep” as “blow after blow hits me.” This man is so deeply down in the dumps; we could compare his situation to being homesick and threatened. He is exiled from his homeland, the place he knows and loves and distant from the Temple, life for him literally is the pits.