As the Deer Pants for Water

By William Stewart

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God
Psalm 42:1 (NIV)

Like all great teachers, we see the Sons of Korah begin with a metaphor, a parable, like the master teacher, Jesus, used to present spiritual truths.

There is only one other place in the Bible that has a similar thought, when the prophet Joel prophesied the future day of the Lord: "Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pastures" (Joel 1:20). In both instances, it describes how the animals look to the Lord to supply their needs in time of trouble, and how we should look to Him for our spiritual (soul) needs, as David did in Psalms 143:6: "I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land."

The title of this Psalm 42 is found just above verse 1: "For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah." "Maskil" is from the Hebrew maskiyl, meaning an instructive poem or song. The Sons of Korah were priests assigned by King David to keep the doors of the house of the Lord and who were also musicians (1 Chronicles 9:19, 33). They have eleven Psalms that bear their names. Often, as in this Psalm, they wrote concerning their previous days and giving hope for the future especially during the bondage under the nation of Babylon.

Note this in Psalm 42:3-4: "...men 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 with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng."

They encouraged Israel to sing in Psalm 42:5 "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God." Then ending this song with the same chorus in verse 11.

Many have expressed the human soul as having a void, an emptiness, that only our Creator and Savior can fill. Jesus called this filling being born again. The Greek words here means "born from above." It is an eternal life that has been provided only through the good news of the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).

When some of Jesus' disciples went away from Him, he said to those remaining, "'You do not want to leave too, do you?' Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God'" (John 6:67-69).

This spiritual treasure of eternal life is offered to all who believe in Him and call on His name as did the tax collector in Jesus' story in Luke 18:13-14: "'But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God'" (see also John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:13; I John 5:11-13).

If you have not had your soul's thirst to know where you will spend eternity satisfied, then call upon His name today and be filled with the everlasting water of life. We read the final invitation of salvation in Revelation 22:17: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."

Image Credit: David Samson; "Evening Drink"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Salvation  |  Biblical-Truth  |  Jesus-Christ

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Published 7-10-17