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Feel Far From God Part 1

Feel Far From God? Part 1
Psalm 42

What do you do when you feel separated from God? When you feel distant from him? What do you do when you feel like you can’t sense his presence anymore, or hear his voice, feel his touch?

Today we are going to look at a two-part devotional that gives us really clear direction on what to do, and how to cry out to God when we find ourselves in this place where we’re having trouble sensing his presence, or hearing his voice. Grab your Bible, a pen, and a journal or notebook to take some notes as the Holy Spirit speaks to you today.

The Psalmist in Psalm 42 is dangerously depressed. He’s deeply discouraged here as he’s writing the Psalm. He feels like God is far away from him but he wants so badly to be back in God’s presence and to be close to God again. And he has people around him taunting him, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” An enemy.

And he remembers when. Do you remember when? He remembers when he used to be right in the middle of the worship and the praise and the thanksgiving to God. And so, the Psalmist is in an extremely difficult place right here.

Psalm 42:1-2 (NLT)
1 As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.


God seems so far from the Psalmist that he was longing for him, his heart was breaking.

2 I thirst for God, the living God… Do you? Have you got to this place where you truly thirst for God? Because this is where it all starts. This is where the road back to being in God’s presence starts. It starts with a true genuine thirst, a longing for God and God alone. Do you truly thirst for God and long to be back in his presence? I think the jump needs to be made right here from a place of just being depressed and discouraged, to a place where we truly long for the presence of God, where we truly thirst for God and nothing else will do, and nothing will stop us from getting there. That’s the first decision that has to be made.

And we don’t want to just get out of the depression and the discouragement. Even more than getting out of the depression and discouragement, we’re driven by a desire to be in God’s presence again. We remember when. We know what it felt like. We remember being there, sensing his presence, and hearing his voice speak to us. And when we get to this point, where we say nothing’s going to stop me from getting back to him, then we can say with the Psalmist at the end of verse 2… When (where) can I go and stand before him?

Suddenly, again, it’s not just getting out of the depressed or discouraged place, but with everything I’ve got, and with nothing standing in my way I’ve got to know where I can go and get back into the presence of God. I long for the presence of God. I thirst for God alone. I’ve got to know when and where I can go and get back in God’s presence again. That’s what we need.

Verse 3 is this taunting enemy.

Psalm 42:3 (NLT)
3 Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?"


Do you have an enemy like that? Do you have an enemy taunting you, telling you that you can’t get back into God’s presence, and is your heart breaking because of it? Do you have only tears for food while this enemy taunts you?

Psalm 42:4 (NLT)
4 My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!


Do you remember that time? Do you remember that time for you? And if you’ve never been in that place, do you have a true desire to be in that place? If so, then today’s the day to make the commitment, to go from wherever you’re at into the presence of God – back into that place. If you are a believer today, then you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you, the same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in you. You make the decision and you stick to it, and then God will become your power to bring you back where you belong in his presence.

If you’ve made that decision (or once you’ve made that decision), then verses 5 and 6 tell you what to do.

Psalm 42:5-6 (NLT)
5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and
 6 my God!...


And then the Psalmist makes this contrast in the middle of verse 6
 
… Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you…
 
That’s it, right there. When you’re finally ready, when you get to that place where you feel that deep longing, that thirst for God, where nothing’s going to stand in your way to getting back into his presence, then you make the decision – and you stick to it. And the Holy Spirit becomes your power to bring you back into that place with God, back into that presence. So, you recognize you’re discouraged, you say “Why? Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God. I will praise him again. I will (that’s my decision).”

And I understand, as the Psalmist says in the middle of verse 6, now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you…my God. I’ll remember my Savior and my God, and nothing will stop me from getting back into his presence.

Heavenly Father, as the deer longs for streams of water, Lord, so I long for you, oh God. I long to be back in your presence, Lord. I thirst for you, God. I thirst for you the living God, and I thirst for you to be alive and well and overflowing in me again. Lord, I truly long for you. I truly thirst for you, Lord. And so, I say Lord, when and where can I go to stand before you, Lord? I make a commitment here and now to do what it takes to get into your presence, Lord. If it’s repenting of sin, if it’s cutting out something in my life, if it’s turning from something that’s drawing me away from you – an idol or anything else, Lord – right now, I have one commitment, and that’s to get back into your presence, Lord.
 
And Lord, it does feel like I have only tears for food. Lord, I’m just so discouraged, I feel so far from you, and it feels like the enemy’s taunting me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” But Lord, I know you’re there, I know you’re with me, I know you’re just waiting for me to get back into your presence, Lord.
 
Lord, my heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be. I remember, Lord, when I was right in the middle of the worshipers when it like I was leading, Lord, worship in your house. I remember being in that place with you, Lord. Singing for joy, and giving thanks amidst the sound of the great celebration. Lord, I do remember it.
 
Lord, I say to myself, to my own soul, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in you, God. I will, I make the commitment right now, to put my hope in you. I will praise you again, Lord. I will get back to that place, Lord, where I’m just awestruck in praise and worship of you because, Lord, you are my Savior, and you are my God.”
 
And so, Lord, I recognize right now, I am discouraged, Lord, deeply discouraged, but I will remember you. I will be there, Lord. I’ll do what it takes, I’ll make the choices, I’ll turn from the things I need to turn from, repent from what I need to repent of, forgive who I need to forgive, Lord, until the way is clear for me to be back in that place, Lord, of true and genuine worship in your presence where I feel your hand on me, and hear your voice in my heart. I make that commitment today to you, your mighty name, Jesus, amen.

I hope you prayed that prayer with intensity, if even if you feel you’re in the midst of God’s presence right now. Even if you feel like you’re in a great place of worship with God. Just, cry to him more, long for him more, thirst for him more, and just understand that the psalmist (and some people think this may even have been David’s psalm just given to the Sons of Korah), but whoever this psalmist is, remember he drifted away in discouragement, and depression from God. Don’t let it happen to you. Make the decision and stick to it, and God – by his Holy Spirit – will become your power to drive you back into his presence. Remember this.

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