“His God, his God—he [David] cannot live without his God.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon on Psalm 42

Psalm42One of our seminary students (Matt Koerner) told me this week that he had read some precious quotes from a sermon of Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 42 recently. I asked him to share them with me and yesterday he did. So tonight I share the fruits of his labors with you.

He found them especially relevant for the times in which we find ourselves at present, when, with our full worship of God and fellowship with His people hindered, we find ourselves, like David, panting after the Lord. May these words be a blessing to you as they were to him, and to me.

The hart pants after the waterbrooks, and David pants after his God, the living God. I do not find him expressing a single word of regret as to his absence from his throne. Probably he wrote this Psalm when he had been expelled from his country by his ungrateful son, Absalom; but he does not say, ‘My soul panteth after my royalties and the splendour of the kingdom of Judah;’ no, not a word of it; he lets the baubles go, he gives up these uneasy pomps, content to let all go for ever if he may but find his God. Well may we let the chaff go if we retain the wheat…[David’s] one sigh is for his God, the God of his life, his exceeding joy. When shall he come and appear before God? When shall he join in the assembly and keep holyday? This one grief, like a huge mountain-torrent, swept away all minor streams, absorbing themselves into its own rush and volume; like an avalanche, which binds the snow-masses to itself as it descends, so his one desire concentrated all the vehemence and force of his nature. His God, his God—he cannot live without his God. He cries for him as a lost child for its father; as a bleating lamb he will not be content till he finds his parent.

In the margin of your Bibles you have, ‘As the hart brayeth after the waterbrooks;’ it lifts up its voice; it is usually so silent, so all but dumb, but now it begins to bray in awful agony after the waterbrooks. So the believer hath a desire which forceth itself into expression. That expression may often be inarticulate, he may have groanings which cannot be uttered, and they are all the deeper for being unutterable; they are all the more sincere and deep, because language may not be able to describe them. In the Psalm before us, you find that David expressed his desire in prayers, and then, if these did not suffice, in tears, and then he turned to prayers again. The child of God will so continue to cry, and pray, and seek, and weep; nor will he be satisfied till by all manner of ways he has expressed before his God the insatiable longing of his thirsty spirit.

After showing that the cause for this longing of David’s was partly rooted in his past and partly in his present experience, Spurgeon said it was also partly rooted in his future hope:

Hope thou in God,’ saith he, ‘for I shall yet praise him.’ He panted after his God, because he had a keen perception that peaceful times would yet return to him…God will appear to his people; he cannot forsake them. ‘Can a woman forsake her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee.’ It is not possible that he who counts the stars, and calls them all by names, should pass over one of his elect, his called, his adopted people. Be of good cheer, then, thou shipwrecked one; though each billow should be angrier than the former, and drown thee deeper in distress, yet the arm of God is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear. Look thou forward to better times, and looking forward, let thy pantings and thy longings increase. May God give thee a hunger because there is a banquet; may he give a thirst because there are flagons of which thou mayst drink. May he give thee great desires, for if thou openest thy mouth ever so wide he will certainly fill it.