Last Sunday, we had an awesome Sunday School lesson about doing battle with our worst enemy. David reminded us in Psalm 141 that we are our own worst enemies and that we need a Protector to protect us from ourselves. We all need a guard over our mouths so that we do not tear people down with our words and, instead, we build them up. We also need someone to protect us from hearts’ inclination toward evil. Finally, we learned to be grateful for those who help us stay away from evil and do good, even if they have to rebuke and correct us. I know all who were involved in studying the Word were blessed. I pray that we put into practice this week all that we learned last weekend. This coming Sunday, during our Sunday School hour, we are going to examine Psalm 42. I know just about everyone of you has heard the opening words to this Psalm, even if you know nothing else about it. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.” When you think of the soul, you should think of your emotions. In our modern world, we have been taught that we must “follow our hearts“. In other words, wherever our emotions lead, we simply have to follow. We say things like, “the heart want what it wants” and “you just cannot help who you fall in love with“. All of these expressions lead us to the conclusion that our emotions dominate. This is definitely not a Biblical idea. This comes directly from pagan thinking. King David was a very emotional man. You can read about his raw emotions in many of the Psalms. Emotions are not a bad thing. God created us to be emotional. Because of our sin nature, our emotions can turn into something negative. David, in Psalm 42, is going to give the secret to overcoming our emotions and the secret to having our emotions be positive.
In this Psalm, David asks 7 questions that reveal the emotional state that he is facing and he also gives the solution to overcoming those emotions. These 7 questions are in 3 sections.
I. Not walking with the Lord
This Psalm was written after King David made his terrible mistake with Bathsheba, a mistake that ended up costing one of David’s buddies his life. It was also a mistake that ended up costing David the lives of 4 of his children. Before the terrible mistake with Bathsheba, David tells us that he used to lead the people in worship in the presence of the Lord. David had a great relationship with God. He was walking with God moment by moment, day by day. The Lord brought David through some tough situations and David wanted all the people to follow God as he did. David’s emotions followed his right relationship with God. He had joy no matter what was going on, even when he was on the run from King Saul. He had good fellowship with God and good fellowship with others. His relationship with God impacted his relationships with others. After David made his mistake, his fellowship with God was forever changed. His relationship with God was never the same. At this point, David feels like he is not able to come into the presence of the Lord, because of what he had done. Not only had he taken another man’s wife, he had also had that man murdered. David no longer had joy. There was no thanksgiving in his heart. His emotional state is disturbing and he is in despair. David is not being controlled by his emotions. It all goes back to the fact that he is not in right relation with God. Also, because of his poor relationship with God, he is not in good relations with others. A lack of relationship with God creates a lack of good relationship with others. David remembers the Lord’s character based on who He is and what He has done. He remembered that God acts out of His lovingkindness. His actions toward us is based on love and it is always for our own good. David remembered that the Lord provided for him when his own son, Absalom, was trying to depose him from the throne and put him to death. He also remembered the story of how God gave the land of the Amorites to the children of Israel. Based on all of this, David decides to cry out to the Lord in repentance the same way that Jonah did and appeal to God’s mercy. David chooses to trust in the Lord and not let his emotions get the better of him. King David chooses to praise God again and he chooses to walk in right relation to God again, even when his emotions make him feel like God is far away. What about you my dear friend, are your emotions getting the best of you? Could the negative emotions be a result of you not being in a right relationship with God? Do you need to cry out to God in repentance, appealing to His mercy and grace?
One of the consequences of sinning against the Lord is that we give the enemies of God an opportunity to mock Him and to mock us, His followers. King David, unfortunately, had to learn this the hard way. Nathan the prophet tells David, “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme,” . . . David’s emotions were also getting the better of him, not because of his enemies but because of those who mocked him. No one likes to be talked about by others but, it is a fact of life. Tongues wag, as the saying goes. It makes it worse when you actually did do what people are talking about. It deflates you and your emotions can get the best of you. David was a man after God’s own heart and, he also had a sin nature like all of us. The mocking was getting to him. He was getting back down in the dumps again. David made a choice. In the midst of the mocking and gloom that he was feeling as a result, he decided to run to the Lord as his Rock. The mockers pointed out his failures. God pointed out His own character and His goodness to David. God reminded David that he was beloved and that he was a man after His own heart. How do you respond when people talk about you? Have you given them a reason to talk about you? Are you going to let your emotions change based what others do? Are you going to let those emotions control you? Will you run to the Lord no matter what and listen to what He says about you instead of what others have to say? Open up the Word and let the Lord tell you how He feels about you.
III. The Emotional Mind contained
After David has his revelation and realizes that he cannot allow his emotions to rule him, and he chooses to trust in the Lord, those emotions creep back up on him. Despairity tries to creep back in. David’s emotions begin to distrub him again. David resolves to continue to trust in the Lord, to continue to praise the Lord, and to continue to walk with the Lord in a right relationship. This is some great insight on our emotions. If we choose to follow the Lord, if we choose to praise the Lord, if we choose to trust in the Lord no matter what, based on who He is and not how we feel, then our emotions will follow our choice. It is like the Biblical idea of choosing to love my spouse until I feel like loving her. That is a hard concept for some to understand because we are steeped in this pagan idea that we just have to go with the flow of where our emotions lead us. In fact, our emotions will follow the choices that we make. This is the way that God created us and as we follow Him and His plan, our emotions become a benficial part of our choices. Will you choose to follow God, to praise Him, and to walk with Him until your emotions follow? Are you going to continue to buy into the lie that emotions lead and we make our choices based on our emotional state? Today is the day to trust in the Lord based on His character and what and see how your emotions will follow.
May the Lord help us live in right relation to Him moment by moment, day by day!!!