Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Psalm 42 & 43 - Thirsting for God

LINK: Psalm 42 & 43

BACKGROUND

I will be talking about these two psalms like they are one since commentators believe they were originally one psalm (see repeated refrain in 42:5, 11: 43:5). 

This psalm marks the beginning of Book II that goes from Psalm 42-72. Psalms were divided into five books with each book ending in a doxology or expression of praise which we read in Psalm 41. 

Psalm 42-49 were written by the sons of Korah. Korah was a Levite who led a rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16). His sons escaped judgement (Numbers 16:11) and went on to become worship leaders in the tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9:19ff; 26:1-19). In addition to Psalm 42-49, they also are named in the titles to Psalm 84 and 87-88.

Some commentators associate this psalm with Absalom's rebellion while others believe the location of Mount Mizar, stated in 42:6, is too far north to be where David camped in exile from Absalom at Mahamaim. Mizar is a smaller mountain near the more famous Mt. Hermon on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Here is a map that shows the distance between those two points: Mahamaim to Mount Mizar

The psalm starts with the psalmist's longing for God. The metaphor is beautiful. Deer need and long for water, and we need to long for and depend on God. The psalmist longed for his God in the midst of enemies taunting him and being far from Jerusalem or Mt. Zion (See distance HERE, 43:3) and the place of worship (42:4; 43:3-4). 

The repeated refrain encourages hope in an unchanging God in the midst of loneliness, depression, and discouragement. 

REFLECTION

Have you ever been really, really thirsty?  In 2010, I did this crazy thing: I fasted for the whole month of Ramadan (the month, once a year, when Muslims fast from food AND drink from sunrise to sunset). I wondered what it would be like to fast without water having fasted from only food before. I wanted to see what devout Muslims go through once a year. (Fasting during the long summertime days of the Pacific Northwest are very challenging for Muslims from other countries!) Being hungry was easy but being thirsty was excruciating! But God used it to channel my thirst toward Him. When I was really, really thirsty in the mid-afternoons, I would let His living water fill my soul cup. It was awesome!  

We need water to live (most can survive only three days without it), and we need God to live too. Praying you "drink" from His endless supply of "Living Water" today!

APPLICATION

Delay drinking when you are really thirsty, and let it remind you to go to God!

PRAYER

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that He was the Living Water (John 4). Let this song lead you into worship today:

Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
For things that never satisfy
And then I heard the Savior speaking
Draw from the well that never will run dry
(Lord please fill my cup

Fill my cup, Lord
I lift it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting in my soul
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole. 

Amen
(Lyrics by Wanda Jackson)

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