Preach Unto Thyself!

Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 97v – Psalm XLI the Musée Condé, Chantilly.  U.S. work public domain in the U.S. for unspecified reason but presumably because it was published in the U.S. before 1925.

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
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 42:1-4 (ESV)

We’ve all been there. Troubled, alone, feeling the world is against us. We cry out for God, but He’s silent.

The psalmist who penned the 42nd Psalm was far from home. He was used to going to the sanctuary in Jerusalem to be close to the presence of God. He understands God is with him, but he struggles.

The people around him give him a hard time about his faith. He longs for the experience of God’s presence. The internal struggle between his hurt and anxiety twists around in his mind with his knowledge that elohiym is present.

As the psalmist laments his situation, he stops to begin preaching to himself;

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 and my God. – Psalm 42:5 (ESV)

He continues in his sorrow – even recognizing God is his rock, yet feeling abandoned by Him – only to stop again with the same rejoinder:

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 and my God. – Psalm 42:10 (ESV)

The expressions of grief turn to hopeful prayer in Psalm 43 (which is, most likely, simply the end of the same piece that made up Psalm 42). He ends his prayer these words:

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 and my God. – Psalm 43:5 (ESV)

Anyone see a pattern here?

When we are tempted to wallow in our circumstances, it is good to keep God’s Word hidden in your heart. This way we can use it to preach too ourselves.

To remind us God’s promises.

To remind of just Who He is – and who we are.

To remember God’s grace, mercy, love and strength are limitless.

And, look… God said three times to not be downcast but, instead, hope in Him! To quote my friend Rick, “If God says it three times, you’d better listen.”

So trust the Lord. Trust Him completely. Trust Him entirely. Trust Him alone.

In all things.

At all times.

No matter where you are.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
    all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word. – Psalm 119:9-16 (ESV)

(c) 2020 by Chris Courtney. All rights reserved.

Please feel free to share this message with someone who could use a boost.

Please visit http://www.bouvillediarist.com.

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