David (he most likely wrote this Psalm.) in Psalm 42 following his heart found the secret place which those who take the chance to talk to God find. It is more than privacy and intimacy of thought.
It is the defining moment of what David’s relationship with God was all about. It revealed to us the progression of the psalmist’s thoughts as God had His chance to listen and let divine love embrace a heart that was crying out in its hurt. When else did the psalmist learn how God responds to broken and contrite hearts?
Study the Psalm noticing the following words and phrases taken from the NIV in the order in which they were written.
Vs 1. My soul pants for you.
This Hebrew word, pant, speaks of an ascending intent or inclination, I see it on the psalmist’s part as an all consuming interest, a critical thirst, an obsession with a single urgency, to meet with God. Despite the psalmist’s critical review of God’s alleged inattentiveness to his need, he must recognize still his desire to meet God.
When praying we first must see that we are praying and that our desire for God is real. All else aside, this is so immediately a part of everything that makes prayer meaningful that, even if God’s silence was for a lifetime and miracles yesterday’s sign, our heart’s panting would be forever reminding us of the reality of our faith.
Why do I love the Lord? Why do I hunger and thirst for Him and His Word? Should not my troubles be encouraging me to disown my faith, to distance myself from God? Why am I inexplicably drawn to Him instead? Why even before my situation reaches a critical level of need do I want to seek God’s help? Can anyone honestly conclude that this is a chemical or genetic thing and that such longing was born out of the oft referred to organic soup?
Praying (which is communicating with God ) is the glue of that eternal relationship.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
From this longing all good things follow.
Vs 4. Things…I remember…. The psalmist recalls worship services that would soon raise his eyes heavenward and remind him of what God is capable of. Reality is balanced. It rehearses in our memories the good as well as the bad.
Vs 5. Hope…. Hope is expectation. It is an outstretched neck looking down the future for something or someone highly anticipated. There is nothing ‘false’ about it. It is a natural conclusion to a longing heart that begins to revisit yesterday’s encounters with God and now can look forward to the next. Make sense?
Vs 5. His countenance [KJV] The King James translation reads His countenance or His, God’s, face or presence. These words were lost in many other versions of the Bible, but I want to retain them. The psalmist is saying ‘He is here!’ Sensing the divine presence is far preferred over the theology that asks us to believe regardless.
Vs 6. I remember You…. The psalmist now not only remembers worship services, but he is now focused more on the source of blessing rather than the blessing. You have to click on the link below and listen again to A. B. Simpson’s song that went by the title, Himself, Alone. It says it all!
Vs 8. His song with me…. Speaking of songs, the psalmist wrote many songs but his heart sings now a song God put there. The psalmist began with a complaint and ended singing. This was a familiar experience for David.
Vs 11. My God… Now He is no longer just God but MY God. Personal relationship becomes far more real after praying, but I think I said that already.
And all the psalmist did was talk to God.
A.B. Simpson’s song, Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord says it all for us.
Here is the Sermon for Feb 26.