Ezekiel 5 & Psalm 42-43

Ezekiel 5

    “And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it as a barber's razor and pass it over your head and your beard. Then take balances for weighing and divide the hair. A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. And a third part you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city. And a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. And you shall take from these a small number and bind them in the skirts of your robe. And of these again you shall take some and cast them into the midst of the fire and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will come out into all the house of Israel.

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them.

    “Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the LORD—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the LORD; I have spoken—when I send against you the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply of bread. I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the LORD; I have spoken.”

(Ezekiel 5 ESV)


Psalm 42

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

    As a deer pants for flowing streams,
        so pants my soul for you, O God.
    My soul thirsts for God,
        for the living God.
    When shall I come and appear before God?
    My tears have been my food
        day and night,
    while they say to me all the day long,
        “Where is your God?”
    These things I remember,
        as I pour out my soul:
    how I would go with the throng
        and lead them in procession to the house of God
    with glad shouts and songs of praise,
        a multitude keeping festival.
    
    
    Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you in turmoil within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my salvation and my God.
    
    
    My soul is cast down within me;
        therefore I remember you
    from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
        from Mount Mizar.
    Deep calls to deep
        at the roar of your waterfalls;
    all your breakers and your waves
        have gone over me.
    By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
        and at night his song is with me,
        a prayer to the God of my life.
    I say to God, my rock:
        “Why have you forgotten me?
    Why do I go mourning
        because of the oppression of the enemy?”
    As with a deadly wound in my bones,
        my adversaries taunt me,
    while they say to me all the day long,
        “Where is your God?”
    
    
    Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you in turmoil within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my salvation and my God.

(Psalm 42 ESV)


Psalm 43

    Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
        against an ungodly people,
    from the deceitful and unjust man
        deliver me!
    For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
        why have you rejected me?
    Why do I go about mourning
        because of the oppression of the enemy?
    
    
    Send out your light and your truth;
        let them lead me;
    let them bring me to your holy hill
        and to your dwelling!
    Then I will go to the altar of God,
        to God my exceeding joy,
    and I will praise you with the lyre,
        O God, my God.
    
    
    Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you in turmoil within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my salvation and my God.

(Psalm 43 ESV)

Experiencing Our God

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul 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)

 

Sometimes our belief in God or knowledge of God is simply not enough to sustain us. There are times in our life when we desperately hunger and thirst for experiencing our God in a real and relational way. Sometimes our sorrow seeks to undermine our hope in God’s grace, mercy, salvation and actual presence. These are times to question why we feel this way and times to remember why we know better. 

Can we say, like the psalmist, that we desire to experience God like a deer pants for drinking water? Are we too full and satisfied with the distractions of this world that we have lost this desperate hunger and thirst for experiencing God? 

A troubled soul that wrestles with doubts can sometimes be a gift for our own spiritual condition. It is usually at the points of desperation in life that we finally admit our dependency on God. May we learn to wrestle well during these dark times and question our own souls as opposed to questioning our God. May we long to experience His presence in a real and relational way, and in the mean time, may we remember that He has proven Himself forever faithful to us in the salvation He has offered us through offering us His Son.