Longing


Psalm 42
To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.
1As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
3My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
4These 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.
5Why 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 6and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
8By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
9I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
11Why 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.

We now come to a Psalm that was not written by King David. This one is attributed to “The Sons of Korah”. You will find several psalms that have this same authorship. The Sons of Korah were a group of temple priests who were responsible for the worship-life of the people. Part of those responsibilities included providing new worship songs. This one appears to have been written by someone who was not living in Jerusalem but was longing to be involved in Temple worship. This was the case for many when the nation divided and an additional worship space was provided in the Northern Kingdom. The faithful were unable to make a trek back to Jerusalem and they felt this lack deep in their hearts.

What we find here is heartfelt faithfulness that stirs our own hearts. We all know what if feels like to long for something or someone. Right now, I am waiting for 9 more days to pass so that I can see and hold my 3 year old granddaughter. It is a longing in my heart that cannot be soothed by anything except her presence. That is how we feel about God as well if we are in tune with this psalmist’s words. Perhaps we don’t quite experience this same sort of longing because the Holy Spirit indwells us and that longing can be met instantly with a little attention paid in God’s direction, for He is ever-present with His people. We are blessed beyond measure because God is never far and our longings are met in Him.

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