Psalm 42:2 “When can I go and meet with God?” (NIV).
Observation: This psalm expresses the passionate cry of David’s heart to once again be in the presence of God. David was exiled from the house of Saul, hiding in a very small country with 3,000 soldiers in pursuit. Beginning in verse 5 he struggles to declare his confidence in God even though his soul is downcast, separated from His presence. Three times he addresses his heart, “Why are you downcast?” even as his epic struggle continues. His core struggle is to keep his eyes and heart focused on the only One who can restore peace and rest.
Application: “When can I go and meet with God?” In these words is the entirety of the Gospel. This is not an expression of mere curiosity along the lines of “When is our meeting with the accountant?” David’s words reveal the abject poverty of one who knows his separated condition, of one who has tasted the sweet presence of the Lord and longs for its restoration.
The maiden wishing for a date to Saturday’s dance is possessed by a mere shadow of the well-married couple’s longing for reunion; they have feasted on something she has never tasted. For them, absence from the familiar banquet leaves a chasm of hunger and emptiness no earthly relationship can bridge.
Elsewhere we are told that the kingdom of God is seized by violence (see Matt, 11:12), and there is within David’s cry a depth of longing that embraces such violence. This is the problem with divorce and widowhood, rebellion and abandonment. God has ordained for us relationships intended as an earthly reflection of the heavenly reality. He intended those relationships to reflect divine order: husbands covering wives and wives submitting to husbands; parents guiding and not frustrating children, and children honoring parents; employers treating fairly those who labor in their behalf, and employees working diligently as unto the Lord. In all these examples we see an exact representation of the relationship between Father and Son. When these earthly relationships are sundered by death or sin, we are left as David was: crouching in caves, cowering before an enemy smirking at our unwelcome condition. I have been as David was. I know what it is to force myself to speak to my soul as he did. “Why are you downcast? Arise! Turn your eyes to the only One who will never leave nor forsake.” I know the uneven result of a heart violently set to seek Him and Him alone. But I also know the victory that comes from perseverance, by wholeheartedly seeking the one who first sought me. My hope is as David’s: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” (Ps. 42:5, 11).
Prayer: Lord cause me today to make choices to receive Your love rather than others’ rejection. Give me ears to hear Your night song.