Topics: hope, honesty
I. Fervently call upon God
- 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? (Psalm 42:1, 2).
- Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).
- 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 (Psalm 42:4).
II. Maintain honesty with God
- My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" . . . As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, while they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" (Psalm 42:3, 10).
- my God, my soul is in despair within me; therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. . . I will say to God my rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" (Psalm 42:6, 7, 9).
III. Choose to hope in God
- 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 . . . Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God (Psalm 42:5, 11).
- 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 (Psalm 42:8).
Sermon by Pastor Rod Akins, March 26th, 2023
Life group flow and discussion questions
Spiritual cure for despair
An important Guideline of Life Groups: It is vital that Life Groups create an atmosphere that allows transparent honesty when a person is hurting or struggling in their walk. Freedom to share feelings of despair can help everyone grow closer.
- When was a time that you felt spiritually distant from God with emotions of despair and discouragement?
- Why do you think it's essential that we are honest with God in our prayers?
- How spiritually thirsty are you (John 7:37-39)? What does it look like for your soul to pant for God, for the living God, like a deer pants for the water brooks?
- What are some "attempted cures" that worldly people seek to overcome despair? How does Jeremiah 2:13 address false remedies the Israelites pursued?
- Why is it helpful to remember positive experiences to "beat the blues" (Psalm 42:4)? What does it mean: "Remember in the dark, what you learned in the light!?"
- Have you ever had an opponent mock you as the Psalmist with, "Where is your God"?
- How does faith help conquer fear and hope win out over despair?
- Life is choices! Choices have consequences! Can you choose to praise the Lord even when your problems pile up (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5)?
- The Psalmist prayed to the God of his life with faith in God's promise to show love and restore His song through the night (Psalm 42:8) - notice he prayed the Lord "will", not the Lord "might". How do you express faith in your prayers?
Now What? Application:
- How will you minister to someone who feels overwhelmed by the circumstances in their life? Ask God to comfort others with His divine comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
- When your soul is in the dumps, rehearse all of God's faithfulness in your life and hope in God again!