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A Suggested Alternate: Rejoice in God’s Son

The Shelter of God’s Encouragement              28 DEC 14

PS 42:1-2 I have continually stressed the difference between an Old Testament saved person and a Christian. These Psalms make this even more apparent and thereby make proper Bible study even more critical.

            Many Hebrew manuscripts have Ps 42 and 43 as one psalm. Ps 43 has no Hebrew title. "The sons of Korah" were descendants of Korah, who were singers in the Temple choir (2 Chron. 20:19). We cannot date these psalms.

            The psalmist is not David. He is really down spiritually and is having a real problem trying to recover. His problem is NOT like that of a Christian. This will be detailed as we go. Thus the main principle for a Christian to learn is God is the only source for spiritual strength. As we remember, "even Jesus asked, 'My God…why?' (Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34)." However, Jesus' why is not the same as our why. But we are allowed to ask why and seek answers just as Jesus did.

"Hart" in Hebrew is a stag or male deer. Palestine is an arid land where Man and animals had to search continually for a source of fresh water. The summer dried up most sources. "Panteth" means 6165. 'arag, aw-rag'; a prim. root; to long for:--cry, pant. He longed for (Hebrew) "Elohim" as a desperate thirsty deer longed for water. Note that not once does the psalmist use God's name "Yahweh." This suggests this is a later time that David's time. Likewise does "for the living God" which is the first time this appears in the Psalms. Solomon ushered in multiple gods into Israel with his many foreign wives. This sent the tone for the people. So the psalmist has to stress he is address God and not some other god (note his use of "for"). Many who heard or read this psalm might think otherwise. How sad! Then another sad statement "When shall I come and appear before God?" "When" is in the Hebrew. The psalmist had to search also for a time to appear before God. This certainly means (in context with verse 4) going into the Temple (house of God). We have two differences here between him and the Christian:

1.      The Christian is always in the presence of God! (1 Cor 3:16 KJV)  "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" The Holy Spirit indwells a Christian 100% of the time.

2.      Because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christians do not have to go anyplace in particular to "appear before God." This why Paul said (1 Th 5:17 KJV) "Pray without ceasing."

Thus for Christians to sing a similar song and pray a similar prayer is to show a total lack of understanding of the Abba Father relationship. This does not bless God. In the psalmist day, this was also not correct. Again look at (Psa 23:6 KJV) "Surely goodness and mercy shall (Hebrew PURSUE) me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." God went after the saved continually. The saved never was left to just the Temple to find God. The psalmist shows the low spiritual understanding of his day.

PS 42:3 So it is no wonder that the psalmist forgot Ps 23:6 and cried bitterly "Where is my God?" We all have sorrows and pain, but the withdrawal of God is not a possibility for a Christian. (Mat 28:20 KJV) "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." How was it for a saved person then? The psalmist felt God left him. Could it have been because of (Deu 6:13-15 KJV) "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. {14} Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; {15} (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth." The use of "for the living God" suggests the people (at least) were not keeping (Exo 20:3 KJV) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." "Before" in Hebrew means before and beside. To have to say "the living God" must mean many believed in other gods beside of God. The Law states clearly that God is serious about his Godhood. (Deu 8:19-20 KJV) "And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. {20} As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God." The issue we cannot know for them is whether it was to this situation or was it still in (Deu 8:5 RSV) "Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you." But for a Christian, even when the Father disciplines, it is never that a Christian loses the presence of God. (Heb 12:7 RSV)  "It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?"

PS 42:4 Now the psalmist remembers the good old days. He went to the Temple with the people with joy and praise to keep one of the Law's feast days. The NIV suggests he lead the procession. Why was there no joy and praise now? Could the psalmist be writing in the time of Isaiah? (Isa 1:13 KJV) "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting." Then they followed the ritual perfectly but God said of them: (Isa 1:2 KJV) "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." The context of Ps 42 suggests repentance was what was lacking, not the absence of God.

PS 42:6-7 Now the psalmist is overwhelmed with remembrances but he remains in the deepest despair. His metaphor is he was drowning in the waters of the way it was. This psalm could have been written during the time of evil that was so bad that the Holy Spirit left the Holy of Holies. But no matter how sinful a Christian may become, the Holy Spirit will never leave him/her. Eternal Security remains secure. (1 Cor 3:15 KJV) "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." "Soul" in context means spiritual life. It is the same word as in Ps 23.3. The psalmist despairs that his current relation is not how it once had been.

PS 43:3 So what does the psalmist do? He essentially blames God for not sending a revival. Sound modern? How many hymns do we sing asking God to send a revival? When a revival does not happen how many times do we say God didn't choose to send one this time? How spiritually and theologically wrong can one get? The psalmist demonstrates it is not a new thing. God cannot make anyone repent. He cannot force a revival. Only a personal repentant heart causes a revival. Revivals occur with one repentant Christian at a time. Do you really believe God would withhold a revival? The psalmist did. Instead of raising his voice in repentance, he tells God to stop holding back his blessing and leadership. He wanted God to take him to Temple (church today). In fact what the psalmist needed was to go to Temple himself and repent. Note (Jer 15:19 RSV) "Therefore thus says the LORD: "If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them."

PS 43:4 So the psalmist waited for God to move him. Whenever God got him to go to Temple, he would go to the altar "in exceeding joy." He would sing hymns with the harp of Ps 33:2. It was not God holding him back from Temple. He and the people were holding him back. However, the psalmist had gotten so location (Temple) orientated that he saw God only in the Temple. But God said "all the earth is mine." The psalmist is certainly sincere, but he is sincerely wrong.

PS 43:5 The palmist believed he would eventually be moved by God to go to Temple: "for I shall yet praise him…" This is how so many Christians feel today. If God moves me, I will serve. If God moves me, I will repent. If God moves me, I will give my tithes and offerings. "If" you say? What a false concept when Jesus commanded (Mat 28:19-20 RSV)  "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."" and (Acts 1:8 RSV)  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."" It is never the issue of God not moving. It is always the issue of Christians not moving and not repenting.

            Do you really think God would withhold revivals by which many lost people will not receive the best witnessing possible and thus the lost will choose to reject Jesus? It is never "God didn't send a revival." It is always "Christians never repented."

            The encouragement we need is not that God may move. It is that God is always moving in a Christian's life. The only lack is non-response by the Christian. STOP BLAMING GOD FOR YOUR INACTION! Stop blaming God for human actions and the weather under freewill. The Study confuses Lordship and freewill. The allowance of freewill is the prime expression of the Lordship and confidence of God.

 

Marvin Ganote, Advanced Bible Study Class, Adult Teacher. Lesson at: http://dma1.org/~ganotemd/lesson.htm  or http://academic.udayton.edu/MarvinGanote/Bible/lessn.htm