Psalm 42:1-2 – 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. When shall I come and appear before God? (NKJV)
Daybreak opens the skies. The picturesque view from my living room bay window displays a miniature freshwater pond as a family of white-tailed deer dashes across its sunlit banks and breaks for a refreshing drink. Suddenly, I'm in awe: the beauty of the buck, doe, and fawn making an enduring imprint on my mind — suitable for an artist's canvas.
Similarly, the psalmist's imagery is one of a deer leaping through the woods seeking a fresh stream for its thirst to be quenched. The panting deer is analogous to the longing heart of David. His soul is thirsting for God. Interestingly, the word "thirsts" rendered in Hebrew indicates a thirst to the point of suffering. For whatever reason, David is essentially suffering and longing for a fellowship with God due to a spiritual drought in his life. It may even be labelled a spiritual dry spell or depression.
Contemplating these thoughts, I considered Israel's relationship with God in the Old Testament. The people worshipped where the Ark of the Covenant was located, first in a moveable tabernacle and then in a stationary temple. Sabbath days were set apart for worship, rest, and focusing on the need for God's grace and mercy. Concurrently, it was a joyous occasion — a time of praise and thanksgiving for His provisions — in a collective sense. But contrary to our day, God appeared to be aloof.
However, by observing today's verses more carefully, I believe that David thirsted for more than meets the eye. He was longing for the approachable Christ of John 1 and Revelation 1: the Word who became flesh; He who lives, and was dead, and is alive forevermore. In a remarkable way, David was saying, "My soul thirsts for You, O living God. When may I come and appear before You?" David was thirsty. His soul would not be satiated until he conversed intimately with the Lord, the God of creation.
What a testimony for us! David, out of love for God, desired fellowship with Him, like Adam once did in the cool of the day. He prayed that way. He sings that way. He teaches us to be that way, by talking to God personally as an expression of our love. The Psalms he wrote will enrich our lives as we follow his example and pour out our hearts to God.
Are you thirsty? Consider this: It is Jesus who provides the water that David yearned for. Only He is able to fill our cup. Through prayer and daily Bible reading, the Holy Spirit will quench our thirst like water from a fresh-flowing stream.
Prayer: Giving You praise, honour, and glory, Father God, we humbly come to Your altar of grace, thirsty like a deer, to drink from Your Word. According to Your will, we ask You, O Lord, to meet our needs and overfill us with Your life-giving Spirit. In Jesus' name, our living God, we pray. Amen.
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