Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Shepastor: “Is Your Heart After God?”
For the director of music. A maskil[c] of the Sons of Korah.
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (NIV)
42 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (KJV)
One of the most beloved praise and worship songs used for meditation, As the Deer, is taken from this Old Testament Psalm, 42: 1-2. The words depict a gentle creature, a deer, possibly after a long journey, leaping upon mountains, traveling through valleys, walking along through pastures, tired, longing to drink from a fresh water stream. The King James Version emphasizes even more graphically, the thirst that the deer has, “panting” as if exhausted, drained, “thirsty.” Both convey a strong almost desperate desire for God.
An interesting commentary or introduction provides even greater context to this psalm. It says, “For the director of music” or “chief musician. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.” The term maskil means, “one versed in Hebrew or Yiddish literature,” (Merriam Webster). Not to be taken lightly, these “well versed” musicians came from a rebellious family line. They were the “Sons of Korah.” Korah was the ring leader of Israelites (one version calls them “men of renown”) who defied God and Moses in the wilderness, leading many astray (Genesis 16: 1-35). Their rebellion caused them to be swallowed up by the earth suddenly (Who can forget that dramatic scene as depicted by Cecil Be Demille’s “Ten Commandments!”).
How profound that God used a remnant from that rebellious family line to bring Himself glory through this beloved Psalm! Knowing their own history, knowing the shame of rebellion in their bloodline, knowing how an entire generation was destroyed, they chose rather to have hearts that longed for God. How powerful to know and learn from our history? What a loving and gracious God that will not hold the sins of our family line against us! What a blessing and privilege to know that with God’s help, we have the ability to change the dynamic of rebellion and dysfunction in our families!
But it starts with having a heart that is “after God.” A heart that is after God thirsts for God, longs for God, chases after God’s heart, God’s will, God’s wisdom, God’s Holy Spirit, God’s desire for our lives. To be a man or a woman after God’s heart is to love the Lord, reverence the Lord, honor the Lord with the totality of our being. It does not mean that we won’t make mistakes, make bad choices, do wrong things. We hold this treasure in “earthen vessels.” But it means that our desire and longing is to please God. Our heart longs to be united with God. Our heart longs to have pure motives a clean spirit.
None of this is possible without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, we can do all things! When we long for God, thirst for God, “pant” for God, we come into agreement with Him. We seek to do His will. We strive to have clean hands and a pure heart. We desire to please God in all that we are, say and do. When we fall short, we repent and lean upon God’s mercy, grace and love to help us to do better. David was a man after God’s own heart not because he was perfect, but because he was yielded. He longed to do that which pleased the Lord. He worshipped the Lord with all of his might. He grieved over his sins and turned away from them.
The Sons of Korah chose the more excellent way. Despite their family dysfunction and rebellion, they chose to have hearts after God. Is your heart after God?
Post a comment or send me an email at Revcsmith1@gmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,