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Psalm 42-43

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Psalm 42

Psalm 42 is the basis for another popular worship song, "As the Deer."  Such a vivid word picture; an excellent illustration of David's desire to be closer to God.  Our desire to be in the presence of God should be like our desire for cool water when thirsty.  Later in the passage, David repeats the question: "Why, my soul, are you downcast?"  Let us remember this question as we read the passage...

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?"  These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.  Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.  By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.  I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Can you recall a time when your soul was downcast?  A time when things are not going well and you can not seem to beat the blues.  The solution David offers is to praise God, to place our trust in God.  This theme is continued in Psalm 43:


Psalm 43

Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation.  Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me?  Why must I go about mourning,oppressed by the enemy?  Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight.  I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,my Savior and my God.

In times of trial, in times of sadness, and in times of persecution we must turn to God and put our faith in Him.  God can quench the longings of our soul in ways that we cannot imagine.  Turn to God and praise His name.  Offer your hurts to Him for He is faithful and loving.  He will use those hurts to make you mature and complete, not lacking in anything.  God alone can provide a peace that surpasses human understanding. 

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Psalm 22-23

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We are going to experience two dramatically different types of Psalms today.  Psalm 22 provides a prophetic portrait of the suffering Messiah.  The well known 23rd Psalm illustrates the deep loyalty that David felt toward the Messiah.  Psalm 22 is quite long - perhaps to better mirror our times of struggle.  Psalm 23 is both short and reassuring.  As we read Psalm 22 consider a time when you were struggling...

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.  Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.  In you our ancestors put their trust;they trusted and you delivered them.  To you they cried out and were saved;in you they trusted and were not put to shame.  But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.  All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,“let the Lord rescue him.  Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.  From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.  Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me.  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.  My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.   My mouth[ is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.  All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.  But you, Lord, do not be far from me.  You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.  You who fear the Lord, praise him!  All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!  For he has not despised or scornedthe suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.  From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.  The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to theLord and he rules over the nations.   All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive.  Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!"

From the first phrase it is apparent that this Psalm is a fore-shadowing of the crucifixion.  Consider a few quotes:  "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me."  "They mock me."  "They pierce my hands and my feet."  "All my bones are on display;  people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment."  About midway through the Psalm the tone changes, "But you, O Lord, will not be far off..."  By verse 22 David writes, "I will delcare your name to my brothers;  in the congregation I will praise you." 

Let us now read Psalm 23:

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.   Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.   Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

In Psalm 22 we learn that Jesus earned the position of Messiah.  Jesus lead a perfect life without sin, yet He accepted the burden of SIN for all humanity.  Jesus accepted the death penalty of SIN, death on a cross.  But the story does not end at suffering and death.  Death could not hold Jesus.  Jesus rose again!  In Psalm 23 we are provided a picture of the risen Savior - the Good Shepherd.  Because of the Good Shepherd we lack nothing.  Jesus refreshes our soul.  We do not need to fear evil because Jesus conquered evil.  The goodness of Jesus guides and directs us in this life.  Best of all, we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!  All of this because of Jesus. 

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