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Sunday, July 17, 2011

To the Soul In Despair - "Don't listen to yourself." (Psalm 42)

 Psalm 42

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants 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 day long, "Where is your God?" 

These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. 
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, 
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. 

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? 
Hope in God, FOR (the reason) I shall yet thank Him for the salvation of His presence.

O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore (resulting conclusion) I remember You...

The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; 
And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life...
(daytime + night = all the time)

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? 
Hope in God, FOR (the reason) I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
"The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now [the Psalmist's] treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience.
The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’- what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’- instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God’.
[D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in Spiritual Depression]
Related Post: "How God's People Handle Despair" (Psalm 77)

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