Reading through the Bible together

Thursday, September 19, 2013

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The psalmist beseeches God to deliver him that he may come joyfully to God’s altar.

While Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 are printed separately, it is clear from the refrain bridging the two that they actually comprise a single poem of despair and hope. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” the speaker asks in Ps. 42:5,11 and in Ps. 43:5. “Hope in God!” he cries out. “Don’t give up hope just because you feel as if you have been taken to a ‘far country.’”

If we have stumbled and failed God and feel far from Him, we can take courage from godly men of the past who felt far from God’s presence. After Abraham failed God in Gerar, he returned to Beersheeba and there rededicated himself and his family to God. After the debacle at Shecham,  Jacob took his family back to Bethel and there renewed his vows to be faithful to God. Walking in the light of God’s Word, we too can find our way back to the Holy Place. But as Jesus told the woman at Jacob’s well, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4: 24)  No physical location is better than any other. Just as the Jewish exiles in Babylon could worship God in a strange land, so we can when surrounded by wickedness come into the Father’s presence and be blessed. Wherever we are, we can love Him and praise Him and offer Him the sacrifice of obedient service.

Prayer: Restore me, Father, to spiritual health. Hush the agitated feelings that lead me to doubt that You are nearby. Help me to know the pleasure of forgiveness and renewal, and fill my mouth with songs of praise. Amen.

Helen Pyke
Retired Professor
Southern Adventist University