Grace For The Journey
As we come to the close of the year, I think all of would like to begin 2020 saying, “This is the year that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!” But perhaps depression, one of the great afflictions of our age, is dulling your spirits. In today’s blog I want us to look at God’s Word and see how one man exchanged depression for joy to begin a new emotional era in his life.
The Bible says in Psalm 42:5, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”
Our attitude is very important. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he . . “ Because of the circumstances and situations many have faced in their past and current life, they may cause us to have a soar view of life which will affect how they look at the New Year. I want to use today’s blog to offer some good Gospel News that will not alter our attitude about the coming year but also affect our actions. The key for this to happen is what we are going to focus on. The Bible says in Psalm 45:1, “My heart is overflowing with a good theme …”
There are three biblical truths from Psalm 42:5 which are necessary if we are to have a good “theme” for our lives in the coming year. This verse that will give each of us the insight and power to have a new attitude for the New Year.
1) My Condition.
Three key words describe this man’s condition. First, downcast – “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” One person translates this: “Why are you down in the dumps?” Other translations say, “Why are you so sad?” or “Why are you discouraged?” All of us face this reality at times in our lives. There are many things that can cause us to be downcast or discouraged. Sometimes we can’t prevent them from happening but a good first step in getting through these feelings is to recognize what we are feeling.
A second word is disquieted. The psalmist goes on to say, “…” and why are you disquieted within me?” The Hebrew term conveys the idea of “an unpleasant sound, a commotion or clamor.” It refers to unpleasant music in the soul. One person translates it this way – “Why are you singing the blues, O my soul?”
The third word is mourning in verse 9, “… Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” The Hebrew for “mourning” is means “to be ashen, dark and dingy.” The reference may be to one’s facial expression or to the garments of sackcloth worn by the grief-stricken.
Can you identify with this man’s condition?
2) My Circumstances.
The writer was one of the sons of Korah, Israel’s renowned musicians and worship leaders. Yet, he begins Psalm 42 telling us he feels separated from God. Evidently this man is exiled both spiritually and geographically. He has been taken from Jerusalem, away from his normal ministry in the temple courts (verse 4). Where is he? Verse 6 offers a clue: “O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore, I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls.” This man is in the far north, at the headwaters of the Jordan, in the foothills of Mount Hermon. The word Mizar means “little,” perhaps referring to a smaller hill in the Hermon range in the area known as Caesarea Philippi or Banias. Here the springs and creeks plunge from the mountains, crashing and roaring and forming the beginnings of the Jordan River. Second Kings 14:14 tells of a time when King Jehoahaz invaded the nation of Judah. He swept into the temple, looted its treasures, and took some of the temple workers hostage to the north. We don’t know if this is the historical setting of Psalms 42, but it fits. Perhaps one of those hostages wrote this psalm. Have you ever had a time when you felf alone and separated from family and friends? Have you ever felt downcast and disquieted? Exiled? Far from where you want to be in lif
3) My Cure.
This man is determined not to give in to despondency or self-pity. He’s going to fight with three lifelines.
Talking to God. Psalm 42 begins as a prayer; and as he prays, this man’s confidence grows and his courage returns, as we see at the end of 42:5 and where he repeats it in Psalm 43:5.
Talking to Others. In Psalm 42:2, the writer is no longer praying; he is talking to you and me, to his readers, to whoever will listen. There are seven billion people in the world, yet we long for someone to talk to. That’s why support groups, chat rooms, and bars are so popular. But you don’t need a bar or chat room. Find a Christian friend, open up, and share your heart. Ask others to pray with you. We’re never as strong as when kneeling side by side with a friend in need.
Talking to Myself. The psalmist also learned how to talk to himself – “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why so disquieted within me? Hope in God . . . !” He is addressing himself. We often listen to ourselves when we should talk to ourselves. We have negative little voices inside us, playing discouraging tapes in endless loops. We need to eject those tapes, take ourselves in hand, sit ourselves down, and give ourselves a talking to. We need to learn to preach to ourselves God’s wonderful good news truth from His Word.
If you’ve been singing the blues, talk to God about it; talk to a good friend; and talk to yourself. Those three lifelines will be like a triangle of triumph and will enable you to say: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted within me? This is the year that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.”
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”