Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich. I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
In our last post, we considered the living waters that may be found only in the Lord Jesus, the privilege we have in knowing Him and the opportunity to experience rivers of living water flowing from our hearts.
In our psalm, the Psalmist speaks of tears and sorrow. He speaks of his enemies taunting him, of those who ridiculed him regarding his God. He sought opportunity to appear before his God, but was unable. He was anxious to appear before Him and yet he was far from God, unable to enter the temple, and to be before the creator of heaven and earth.
My friend, the tension between our standing in God and our experience with God may become unbearable at times, where faith is not simply a comfort for our hearts but a lifeline of hope.
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Psalm 42:4
Our author speaks of better days as he pours out his soul. He had precious memories of being with other worshippers, even leading them to the house of God. Memories of better days, of freely heading off to the temple to worship with others. But memories were all he had. And these memories set off reactions in his thinking, of how to deal with his current condition of being away from both God and His people.
He speaks of pouring out his soul. Often in the Old Testament, when an author used this specific term of “pouring out” it was associated with a blood offering. Consider Leviticus 4:18, 25, 30 & 34. The psalmist is pouring out his soul before God, not unlike an offering, as he remembers his previous times of praise and joy. Now he is alone, without the joy and praise of others, without the energy of the multitudes buoying his spirts. No temple, no God, no multitude, no encouragement, no direction, no joy or praise. He only had his tears to comfort him. His soul was as a sacrifice within him before God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation – Psalm 42:5
In the midst of this sacrifice before His God, of his pouring out his soul, he suddenly questions his state of thinking. His soul is in the midst of being poured out, the turmoil and loneliness of his life as a constant reminder of his previous joy and praise. In the midst of this felt experience, he enters a realization, a time of questioning his own perceptions, of his inner life, and he realizes this is a temporary situation. In the midst of a dry, lonely, bitter time, he considers that praise for the God of all creation is an inevitable experience.
Looking back over the years with the Lord, I have experienced the relative emotional valleys somewhat similar to this psalmist’s description. Early in my walk with Jesus, and while in a valley, I often feared that I would only and continually experience loneliness, sadness, and disappointment.
After all, believers are called to suffer and some of the sufferings described for believers may be of the internal type, as this psalmist describes. This is an experience a believer will enter into, and this psalmist provides a reason for hope. He shall yet praise Him. Praise is inevitable in this psalmist’s mind. Based on this inevitability of honest heartfelt praise to the Lord of all creation, he speaks of hoping in God. A hope that he grasps for in the midst of a serious valley in his life.
Yet as we consider our walk with the Lord, it is good to remind ourselves of the promise of all things working out together for good. This valley the psalmist was experiencing became an opportunity for a cleansing of his thinking, for a mental readjustment, a realignment of his perspective. I understand these valleys in our experience is necessary for faith to be exercised, for endurance to be increased and for a growing experience of God in our lives.
Although as saints as we are to go through bitter times, it is critical to remember that God is with us. He is at work within us and around us, and we shall have opportunity to praise Him in the near future.
Until then, hope in God. He is good all the time.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you know someone this post may bless, send them a link so they may join us.