Summary: I got the bones of this outline from John Maxwell’s "One Hour With God" devotions. What do we do when we are running on empty?
• Have you ever been to the point in your walk with the Lord that just did not seem to be going anywhere? Did you or do you feel like you are wandering in the desert in circles, thirsting for water?
• There are times in our lives when we can feel very empty spiritually, we can find ourselves in a state of nothingness. Nothing seems to interest us spiritually; we do not seem to have the energy to get excited about the things of God. We want to be excited; we want to be interested, but it just not happening for us. We feel like we are wandering in a spiritually dry desert. We are dying of thirst, but cannot seem to find what we need to get back on track.
• This problem is nothing new. Psalm 42 deals with the subject of spiritual dryness. When you read the first part of the 42nd Psalm, it drips with feelings of spiritual dryness. In it we hear the heartfelt cry of the psalmist for God to restore the life and the passion he once knew. We see a person who desperately wants to once again feel the joy of his salvation.
• At the time of writing Psalm 42, the psalmist was dry spiritually. He had grown indifferent toward the sacred events that once thrilled him; he now needed time to gain some perspective on things.
I. ALL PEOPLE SUFFER FROM SPIRITUAL DRYNESS AT SOME POINT IN THEIR LIVES. (1-4)
• We all suffer through some kind of spiritual dryness at some point in our walk with Jesus.
• In verses 1-4, the psalmist is telling us that he is spiritually dry. His soul pants fro God like a thirsty deer pants for water. The psalmist is thirsting for the real God, not dead idols or representations of God.
• In verses 3-4, he says that he used to lead other people to God, now he does not see God. There is a contrast with past happiness with present sorrow about his spiritual dryness.
• In the Bible we have examples of this happening to people like King David, King Saul, Elijah, Job, Jonah, along with many others.
• Elijah is an example of a person who performed many great works through the power of God. After he took on the prophets of Baal and defeated them, he gets scared of Queen Jezebel. He is wandering around feeling sorry for himself thinking he is the only faithful one in the land. Later God shows him the error of his thinking.
• In 1 Kings 19:10 Elijah said to God, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
• Elijah was having some trouble with spiritual dryness. He had been to the top of the mountain, and now he was hiding in a cave wondering why God has seemingly forsaken him.
• We get to feeling sorry for ourselves when we start to suffer from bouts of spiritual dryness. We feel ashamed. We feel like we are the only Christian who has ever suffered from this malady.
• As I said, the truth of the matter is that everyone suffers through it at some point. The key to it is what we do when it comes.
• We have people like David, Elijah, and the Apostles who were able to get through it. We have some like King Saul who allowed the problem to destroy him.
• As we look at some of the causes of this problem, we need to realize that some of those who are most susceptible are those who are heavily involved in ministry.
• Without belaboring the point, if we are going to be able to get out of the desert, we need to realize that at some point all Christians suffer through times of spiritual dryness.
II. WHAT IS THE CAUSE FOR OUR SPIRITUAL DRYNESS?
• There are many possible causes for suffering through spiritual dryness. I am going to list eight common ones. If we are going to work through our time of wandering, we need to have some idea as to why it is happening.
1. Physical exhaustion.
• There are times that we run ourselves so ragged that we hurt ourselves spiritually. John Maxwell shares an illustration in his “One Hour With God devotions: In the jungles of Africa, a traveler was making a long trek. Laborers had been engaged from a tribe to carry the loads. The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey. But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move. For some strange reason, they just sat and rested. On inquiry as to the reason for this strange behavior, the traveler was informed that they had gone too fast the first day, and they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.