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Deep Cries Out to Deep

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In cosmology, the earth was thought to have been placed afloat in the midst of terrifying cosmic waters. Genesis 1:1-2, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

DEEP, THE English translation of the Hebrew term tehom. The deep constitutes the primeval waters of creation in Gen. 1:2. This concept is echoed dramatically in Ps. 104:5–7, where God is pictured as rebuking the waters of the deep, separating the waters from the mountains and valleys, and setting the boundaries for each. Creation includes the concept of bringing order by separating or dividing what is made, and keeping each in its proper place (Prov. 8:22–31). This thought is expressed in an interesting metaphor in Ps. 33:7, where God is said to have gathered the waters into a bottle (NRSV) and put the deeps into a storehouse.

In the account of the Exodus from Egypt, God’s action in parting the waters for the Israelites to pass is expressed poetically as a dividing of the waters of the deep (Exod. 15:8). God held the waters in place as the Israelites crossed the sea and released the waters when they reached the other side, shielding them from the Egyptians (Ps. 77:16–20). This was, theologically speaking, an act of creation—creating a people for the Lord, by freeing them from slavery in Egypt.

The waters of the deep can be destructive or constructive, curse or blessing. When the waters of the deep burst their bounds, the result is a flood (Gen. 7:11). At the extreme described in Gen. 7, it is a reversal of creation which can only be checked when God again sends the wind or spirit (ruach) which began creation (Gen. 1:2) and closes the fountains of the deep (Gen. 8:1–3). Storms at sea are also associated with the deep (Ps. 107:23–26; cp. Jon. 2:5–6). In the poetry of the Psalms, the deep is a metaphor for the trials of life that seem overwhelming (Ps. 69:14–15). It could even represent the abode of the dead (Ps. 71:20).

On the other hand, the waters of the deep are a blessing, without which life could not continue. Deuteronomy 8:7 describes the promised land as a land of brooks, fountains, and deeps, which irrigate the land so that grain and fruit can be grown (Ezek. 31:4). When Jacob blessed his son Joseph with “blessings of the deep that lies beneath,” he was attempting to bestow fertility on Joseph and his offspring and on their land (Gen. 49:25 NASB; cp. Deut. 33:13–17). As blessing and as curse, the deep reflects as power which only the Creator God can control (Ps. 95:4).

The Greek Bible or Septuagint translated tehom as “abyss,” bringing it into relationship with the pit, the abode of the dead (Rom. 10:7) and place of evil spirits (Luke 8:31), including the beast of the apocalypse (Rev. 17:8).

Wilda W. Morris

Psalm 42 NIV
For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.

Jesus calls out into deep waters in order to catch people
God will take us into the deep so He can reveal deep things to us. 1 Corinthians 2:10
When we experience God in the deep places of our souls, then will we be able to love deeply.
The New International Version. (2011). (Ge 1:1–2). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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