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How to Get God's Help in the Hard Times
Psalm 42:1-11
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - August 20, 2017
*The introduction to Psalm 42 says: "To the Chief Musician.
A Contemplation of the Sons of Korah."
The KJV says: "A Maschil for the Sons of Korah."
Albert Barnes explained that "the word 'Maschil' came from the word that meant 'to look at, behold, or view in a careful way.
Then wisely respond to the things you have seen."
(1)
*That's why John Phillips said the "Maschil" Psalms were especially written for instruction.
And this Psalm can teach us how to get God's help in the hard times.
(2)
*We don't know who wrote this Psalm.
It may have been one of the Sons of Korah.
They were a gifted family of Levites appointed to be musicians for the Lord during the reign of King David.
Some scholars think this Psalm was written by King David, and John Phillips thought it was written by King Hezekiah.
*We don't know who the writer was.
But we do know that this man was going through one of the hardest times in his life.
And he shows us how to get God's help in the hard times.
1. FIRST: WE MUST CALL ON THE LORD.
*The author started this Psalm with prayer.
And that's the best place for us to start when we feel overwhelmed in life.
[1] IN VS. 1-2, HE DESPERATELY PANTED FOR GOD.
*And he told the Lord about it in his prayer:
1. . .
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
2. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
*Deer can run for several miles, and for short bursts they can get up to 35 miles per hour!
Deer can also leap over 8 feet high and can cover over 30 feet in a single bound!
*But deer desperately need water.
As Victor Yap said, "To the fleeing deer, no water means no habitat, no haven, no home and no hope, especially when they are followed, fearful or fatigued.
This word 'pant' is talking about a craving, longing, hunger, thirst, or desire for something.
*And this word 'pant' is found one other place in the Bible.
That's in Joel 1:20, where this same word is translated 'cry.'
There the Word of God says: "The beasts of the field also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures."
(3)
*The Psalmist here was just that spiritually thirsty for the Lord.
That's why he said: 'As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.'" Think about being that thirsty, so thirsty that your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth, and all you can think about is water.
*Joey Mora found out what it's like to be that thirsty.
In 1996, Joey was a young marine standing on the platform of an aircraft carrier patrolling the Iranian Sea.
Then in a shocking accident, Joey fell overboard, and incredibly, he wasn't missed for 36 hours!
*A search and rescue mission started but was abandoned after another 24 hours.
They thought no one could survive 60 hours in the ocean without a lifejacket.
Joey's parents were notified that he was "missing and presumed dead."
*The rest of the story is a miracle!
Four Pakistani fishermen found Joey Mora about 72 hours after he had fallen from the aircraft carrier.
He had taken off his pants, tied a knot in both legs, and trapped some air in them.
That was the only thing holding Joey up, and he was floating in his sleep when the men found him.
Joey was delirious when they pulled him into their fishing boat.
His tongue was dry and cracked, and his throat was parched.
*Two years later, he told his story to Stone Philips of NBC Dateline.
Joey said it was God who kept him struggling to survive.
And the most excruciating thing of all was the one thought that took over his body and pounded in his brain: "Water!" (4)
*That's how desperate this Psalmist was for God.
He was so overwhelmed by his situation that he cried out for God with that kind of thirst.
[2] HE DESPERATELY PANTED FOR GOD IN THIS PRAYER.
-- THEN HE POURED OUT HIS PAIN TO GOD.
*In vs. 3, he said: "My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, '"Where is your God?'''
This man was in so much emotional pain that he either could not eat at all, or he was crying so much that his tears mingled with his food.
*William MacDonald wondered: "Who can describe the bitterness of a believer who feels separated from the Lord?
It is like a continual diet of tears, a life of constant misery.
And if that were not enough, there is the added grief of the enemies' taunts, 'Where is your God?' That's basically the same thing the chief priests said to Jesus when he was hanging on the cross: 'He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him . .
." (Matthew 27:43)
*This Psalmist poured out his pain to the Lord.
In vs. 4, he said: "When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast."
*Sometimes the pleasant memories of our past can pile more pain into our days of distress.
There's a real sense of loss, and thoughts of "coulda, woulda, shoulda."
That's why John Knox translated vs. 4 by saying: "Memories come back to me yet, melting the heart; how once I would join with the throng, leading the way to God's house, amid cries of joy and thanksgiving, and all the bustle of holiday."
(5)
*This Psalmist desperately panted for God.
Then he poured out his pain to God.
And that's what we should do.
In hard times, we must call on the Lord.
2. BUT WE ALSO NEED TO CHECK OUR ATTITUDES.
*That's what the Psalmist began to do in vs. 5, and he started with some questions: "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."
*God's "countenance" simply means His presence, but this Psalmist felt like he had been "cast down."
The original word meant to throw or fling something down, and that's how this man felt in his soul.
*His soul was also "disquieted."
That meant someone in great commotion, rage, or even someone at war.
It meant someone in an uproar.
And the word had the idea of making a loud noise, raging, roaring, or growling like an angry bear.
*That's how this writer felt in his soul.
But as he reflected on who the Lord was, and all God had already done for him, he began to check his attitude.
It was as if he thought: "Now wait a minute, why are you cast down, O my soul?
God is always good, and He is always true to His Word.
So, hope in God, and begin to praise the Lord for the help of His presence."
*I always liked Zig Ziglar.
He was a very devoted Christian.
And back in the 1970s through the 1990s, Zig was one of the best known motivational speakers in the country.
He was hilarious.
Zig Ziglar said he was the kind of optimist who would go after Moby Dick in a rowboat, -- and take a bottle of tartar sauce with him.
(6)
*One of the things I remember Zig saying is this: "We need a check-up from the neck up, and we need to eliminate stinking thinking."
That is exactly what the Psalmist was trying to do here in vs. 5.
And quite often in life, we will need to check our attitude, especially in the hard times.
3. WE ALSO NEED TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO THE LORD'S CARE.
*That's what the Psalmist did in vs. 6-7:
6. 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.
7. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
*This man's troubles hadn't gone away.
In vs. 6 he freely admitted this truth to the Lord: "O my God, my soul IS cast down within me."
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