If you have ever wondered about the meaning of this scripture and the song that was taken from Psalm 42, perhaps this borrowed thought will deepen your understanding of both the text and the song.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
The male deer is a single-minded creature. Once its sights are set on its goal, nothing can dissuade it. It will battle opponents to the death in order to succeed. Even for a drink of water, the male deer will not be stopped.
Such single-mindedness is what the Lord desires of His children. The Lord loves to see real commitment that changes lives. To live for the Lord means to give oneself to Him, body, mind, and spirit. As the deer pursues the cooling brook with all that it has, so must we pursue our Lord.
With this thought in mind, notice how David continues Psalm 42:
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 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.
This week an interesting thought crossed my mind. In Genesis chapters 2-3, we read that Adam and Eve were naked at creation and were unaware of this until they ate of the tree of knowledge, which God instructed them not to eat. As a consequence of their sin of disobedience, the Bible says their eyes were opened and for the first time, they realized their nakedness. Immediately they took fig leaves and covered themselves. Later, when they encountered God, he ”reclothed” them with the skins of dead animals (give that some thought). From this time on, mankind has covered himself with clothing (except for the nudist folks). This perhaps is a reminder of our sin nature, which we inherited from Adam and Eve.
However, all of this changes when we surrender our lives to Christ. From this point on, once again God takes off that which we have clothed ourselves with, and clothes us with humility, righteousness, holiness, and ultimately, we are clothed with Christ. Having been clothed with Christ, our relationship with God is restored, which enables us to once again spiritually stand naked before God just as did Adam and Eve in the beginning. Having our sins washed by the blood of Jesus, we have nothing to hide from our God, and no longer do we have any need to hide from Him. Today, I thank God for the cross which redeemed us, and the empty tomb that makes this day and every day, a day of celebration and Joy. Because, once we were lost, but now we are found, we were blind, but now we see. Let them praises give Jehovah, for His Name alone is high (go ahead, finish singing the song) and let the world know- He is risen!!
When God challenges your faith, you are left with two simple choices; either you rise to the occasion, or you shrink into dismal failure from fear. Throughout history, as God has constantly challenged His people to put their complete and total trust in Him, we read in scripture sometimes they did and sometimes they failed. It’s our trust which overcomes all obstacles - including fear. Yesterday a group of us went to see the movie “His Only Son” which was the story of Abraham, with a timeline focus from the covenant promise God made with him until God challenged his faith by telling him to kill his only son and offer him as a sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. Throughout the movie there were multiple times when the faith (and trust) of Abraham was challenged and each time, he demonstrated an unyielding faith in God despite all. As I sat and listened, in one scene he said a phrase which resonated with me in a powerful way. After telling Sarah that he and Isaac were to go to Mt. Moriah (a three-day journey by foot), she began telling him how dangerous the journey would be. His response was, “God will guide us.” The moment he said that it stirred something inside of me.
Recently, the congregation set for itself a challenge to execute 100 bible studies by the end of 2023. If you think about it long enough, it does sound rather daunting; but to that I answer, “Our God will guide us.” Abraham didn’t ask God to guide his footsteps where Abraham wanted to go, he asked God to guide his footsteps as he followed where God wanted him to go. That is the same for us. I am convinced, within the great commission of Matthew 28 is the promise of God to guide all who put their trust in him to carry out this command. Actually, in all we do, our God guides us. Since 100 bible studies is no great challenge for God, neither should it be for us. We need to learn to meet each faith challenge with the simple powerful words of Abraham “our God guides us.” As we do this, the kingdom of God will grow, and this city will be converted by the power of God.