Summary: Thanksgiving to God flows from a thirst for His presence!
Thirsting With Cup Full, Psalms 42:1-11
The story is told of two old friends bumped into one another on the street one day. One of them looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, "What has the world done to you, my old friend?" The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars." "That’s a lot of money." "But, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand free and clear." "Sounds like you’ve been blessed...." "You don’t understand!" he interrupted. "Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million." Now he was really confused. "Then, why do you look so glum?" “This week... nothing!”
Even in these difficult economic times, it is still a sure saying, “we live in a land of plenty.” We do have poor among us, but there are few that go without at least what they need and most have a great deal more than they need to sustain them.
When one is starving, it is easy to be thankful for a crust of bread. When one is lost in the desert thirsting, it is perhaps easy to be thankful for even a small sip of cool water. When our cup is full, where are we to find the utility and capacity to be truly thankful? What will fuel this virtue in us?
The great beauty of this evening Scripture is that the principals which are woven in and through it, when applied to our lives, have the great potential to bring us to the place of genuine thanksgiving to God regardless of the abundance or lack of abundance present in our lives at any given time.
In examining this passage from a poetic or literary point of view we see that this Psalm, when taken in conjunction with Psalm 43 constitute one poetic lament. When read together, in context, we see that Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 make up one refrain with three thoughts, each of which ends with the phrase, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalms 43:5 NIV)
Who wrote this Psalm? It is important to consider this question in the Psalms.
It is often wrongly assumed that David wrote all of the Psalms. He many of the Psalms, this is true, but the Psalms are actually a compilation of songs and prayers which were used by God’s people over many centuries.
When we read ‘the sons of Korah’ at the top of a psalm, it means that it came from their book of psalms. Psalm 42 has "the sons of Korah" at the top. Psalm 43 does not have anything at the top. Almost certainly, because of their stylistic connection, they are really one psalm. Some have suggested that a hostage wrote it. He may have been a Levite, maybe a “son of Korah.” If he was not, he gave the psalm to someone who put it into the book of ‘the sons of Korah.
Korah was the grandson of Kohath. Kohath was the son of Levi. Levi was one of the sons of Jacob. All the Jews that were God’s servants in the temple came from the family of Levi. They were all Levites; the priestly class of Jews.
So, "sons of Korah" is probably the name of a music group. They made music in the temple at Jerusalem until Nebuchadnezzar took the Jews to Babylon. He destroyed the first temple at the same time. When the Jews came back from Babylon 70 years later, they built the temple again. But now the ‘sons of Korah’ did not make music in the temple, though it is uncertain as to why.
Why is this important? This matters precisely because the author of this Psalm is filled with lament and at least a major part of that lament, perhaps the very core of it, is that he is unable to worship God as He once did. For some reason, the sons of Korah are unable, perhaps even disallowed, to sing their songs of adoration to God in the Temple.
How like the sons of Korah are we when our hearts cry to worship God in thanksgiving to His divine provision and mercy is stifled? In With regard to the details of what we are talking about here, our worship, our genuine thanksgiving is often stifled by the very abundance of provision given to us by the very God whom we wish to offer heartfelt gratitude unto.
In other words, does it ever seem like God has given us so much and that He has been so good to us that in our great satisfaction we forget to thank Him? When starved physically it is not difficult to be grateful for even a crust of bread, but when how great is our need when we are starved spiritually?