“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
This Psalm begins with the Psalmist describing his hunger for more of God. In a beautifully poetic fashion, he compares his desire for God to a deer panting for water. Thirst is one of our most basic drives, second only to the body’s need for oxygen. He is not only stating that he desires more of God in his life, but that he cannot live without Him. Psychologists have made lists of basic human needs for mental and emotional health. These lists often include things like companionship, communication, a good diet, human touch, self acceptance and proper rest. Unfortunately, they often neglect man’s greatest need; our need for God. Paul wrote:
Colossians 2:10 “You are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
Man is made complete only when in a right relationship with God, through Christ. Someone aptly described man as created with a God shaped void. This void creates a longing within us to know God. Tragically, many failing to realize they need a personal relationship with God, attempt to fill this void with other things. It is common to see people trying to find satisfaction in relationship, experience, or even substance abuse, when the real solution will only be found in receiving and surrendering all to Jesus.
Perhaps the reason for this longing in the Psalmist is unveiled when he declares:
“For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.”
Notice he says, “I used to go.” Something has happened in his life that hindered his gathering with the people of God, and enjoying corporate fellowship with God. His longing for God may be due to his lack of fellowship with God. It seems that a relationship gone bad was the cause of his broken fellowship, and this broken fellowship created a thirst within him to get right with God. How about you? Are you hungering for God? Is there a longing for more of Him in your life? If so the answer is found in crying out to Him and regularly gathering with those who love Him in corporate worship. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being around the people of God, if we want to grow in Christ.
There is a condition much worse than being distant from God, and longing to get things right. That is, the condition of thinking that you are fine, just like you are. If that describes you, understand you are treading on very thin ice. The day is coming for all of us when we will appear before Him.
Questions for Psalm 42
- How does the Psalmist describe his desire for God?
- How would you describe yours?
- Jesus said that the blessed life came from hungering and thirsting for God, how can you increase your appetite for the things of God?
- What does David do to encourage himself in verses 5 – 8?