“As a Deer”
The scene is that of a deer panting and looking for water during a drought. At one time the deer drank until it was satisfied with the pristine and crystal clear waters of the streams of water, but now the water is dried up and the deer pants and longs for it. The 42nd Psalm describes the child of God in exile and full of melancholy, but not necessarily sad because he is in exile. He is heartbroken because he cannot go to the house of God.
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2)
The Psalmist says that at one time he used to lead the worship service in the temple and all he can do now is cry day and night. His enemies taunt and make fun of him as they see his devotion to God.
“My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” (Psalm 42:3-4, 10)
For whatever reason, the psalmist is in exile and cannot worship God in the temple with other people. While he could worship in the wilderness by himself, and he could sing and pray in the woods among nature, his deep sadness originated from the fact that he could not go to the House of the Lord and be with other saints. We should have the same desire to be in the House of the Lord, and it should cause us great sadness when we cannot be with God’s children. We should be like the deer who pants for the water.