As A Deer

 Often on one of our many hot days this past summer we would see one of our resident deer herd getting a drink at a little fountain in the front yard or at the bird bath. When we drained our soft-side swimming pool and had a little water still in the bottom of the collapsed pool, the deer would reach in to get a drink. Deer need water on a regular—usually daily—basis, whether it is from a mountain spring or creek or lake or from a bird bath or fountain or swimming pool.

     The Psalmist drew upon the deer’s thirst for water as he began Book II of the Psalms (chapters 42-72).  Delighting in the Lord is a theme that permeates this section of the Psalms.The tone is established from the very beginning, Psa. 42:1, where we see the image of a deer running through the forest, maybe having been chased by a predator, until finally quenching its thirst in a cool stream. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God.” The verse speaks of a person passionately desiring God’s presence and power. The writer’s longing for God remained despite the bad situation in which he found himself (Psa. 42:3-8). Perhaps as a prisoner-of-war or in exile, he was grieving and feeling downcast and disturbed. The people around him were taunting and tormenting him. Though he couldn’t sense God’s presence at that moment, he remembered worshiping Him and was committed to trusting in His absolute faithfulness. The Psalmist speaks to himself saying, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (v. 5).
     It is significant that the Psalmist spoke of a deer not a camel. Camels can go for up to three months in the desert without water. Unfortunately we seem to have a lot of camel Christians—not deer panting for the water brook. To too many, God is just a 911 number that we resort to when we are in trouble.  If we are to experience consistent spiritual growth we must have a longing for God. The Apostle Paul wrote: “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).  Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, said to His disciples: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mt. 6:6).
     How little of genuine soul thirst there is in these days of materialism and pleasure-seeking. We somehow forget or fail to realize that we were created to have fellowship with God. God’s purpose for our life isn’t success or happiness but holiness. The only way we find true significance is in an intimate relationship with the only truly significant One in the universe, our Lord Jesus Christ, and that comes only as our soul pants for God as a deer pants for the water brooks. So, a good question to ask ourselves is, “How thirsty am I for God? Will a casual sip or two satisfy? Am I a camel Christian that can go for days, weeks, or even months without a drink from the fountain of Living Water? Or is it more like I’ve been running a race on a hot summer day and someone has just put a cold water bottle into my hand? If your longing for God’s presence is somewhere in between, as it may be for most of us, turn the opening verses of Psalm 42 into your heart’s prayer.  We need to have a desire for all that is Christ-like in both our inner and outward life.
     In His challenging book, Words Aptly Spoken, Dr. Bob Moorehead summarizes what should be My Public Declaration.  
           “I’ve caught the vision, made the decision, stepped over the line; the die has been cast, the step has been taken, the confession has been made, the promise has been spoken, I have become a follower of Jesus Christ!  My past is redeemed, my present secured, my future made hopeful, my bridges have been burned, my old life crucified, my new life sanctified, the journey begun, the goal is from sight to faith, from guilt to wholeness, from darkness to light, from prison to freedom, I’m on my way!
             Nothing will deter me, drag me, deceive me, detour me, derail me, deprive me, de-program me or destroy me…I won’t look back, turn around, slow down, fall down, or go down. I’ve entered the race; full of power, delivered from weakness; full of hope, delivered from despair; full of faith, delivered from doubt; full of courage, delivered from Satan; and full of boldness.  Obstacles won’t tire me; pleasures won’t allure me; for I’ve made the choice, settled the account, sealed the orders, filed the flight plan, and am on my way. I’m done with low vision, sight walking, mini-dreaming, meaningless meandering, dwarfed doings, petty projects and cheap talk. I’m through with halfhearted commitment, mediocrity, broken promises and shoddy discipline. With a new mind, I’ll think holy thoughts; with a new tongue, I’ll speak a new message; with a new walk, I’ll go different places; with new eyes, I’ll see             different visions. I’ve been bought with a price, sealed with His Spirit and guaranteed an inheritance. From this day forth, I’ll live like a prince coming into his inheritance.”
             Forever His,
                Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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