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Sermon on Psalm Forty Two

Sermon on Psalm Forty Two

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Published by glennpease

W. J. STRACEY

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after
Thee, God. My soul thirsteth for God: when shall I come and
appear before God?" — Psalm xlii. i, 2.

W. J. STRACEY

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after
Thee, God. My soul thirsteth for God: when shall I come and
appear before God?" — Psalm xlii. i, 2.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 31, 2013
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03/02/2014

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SERMO O PSALM FORTY TWOW. J. STRACEY"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul afterThee, God. My soul thirsteth for God: when shall I come andappear before God?" — Psalm xlii. i, 2.THIS 42nd Psalm is the first psalm of the second of the five books into which the psalter was divided.This division is still marked in our psalter ; for if welook at the end of the following psalms, xli., lxxii.,lxxxix., cvi., we find the word "Amen," thus markingthe conclusion of each of these original divisions of theBook of Psalms. The first book is more than all therest " the psalms of David." In this second book oneat least, the twenty-second, is ascribed to Solomon, andone, viz., the fiftieth, to Asaph. There is also this re-markable difference, that in the first book God is calledby His covenant name to Israel of "Jehovah" no lessthan two hundred and seventy-two times, but by Hisname " Elohim," * that is, the God of nature, or of allmen — not of the Jews only — only fifteen times ; but* It is much to be regretted that this distinction has not beenobserved in our translation througbout ; it would be well if " Elohimalways stood for " God," " Jehovah" for " Lord."164 PSALM XLII.here in this second book the reverse is the case ; thename " Jehovah " occurs only thirty times, but thename " Elohim " one hundred and sixty-four times.It is more than probable that these two psalms, the42nd and 43rd, were originally one psalm, but for somereason at some time were separated into two, as wehave them now. This 42nd is still used by the Jews in
 
the services of the great festival of tabernacles. In ourBible heading it is ascribed " to the sons of Korah."ow, what does this mean ? There are twelve psalmsin all ascribed "to the sons of Korah;" viz., the 42ndto 49th, 84th, 85th, 87th, 88th Psalms. In the sixthchapter of the Book of umbers we read how Korahperished, but not his children. And it has been sup-posed that they, in gratitude for their preservation,formed themselves into a religious association, andespecially devoted themselves to the choir services of the tabernacle, and afterwards of the temple. We findfrom 1 Chronicles vi. that Samuel was one of the sonsof Korah ; they may have founded the " schools of theprophets."But S. Augustine gives another and very differentinterpretation of this word " Korah." He says " Korahis equivalent to Calvaria. Why is Christ thought tobe connected with Calvaria ? Does it not at once occurto you that He was crucified on Calvary ? Unques-tionably it does. Therefore the sons of His passion, thesons redeemed by His blood, the sons of His cross, whoMO UT HERMO. 1 6 5bear on their forehead that which His enemies erectedon Calvary, are sons of Korah ; to them is this psalmsung as a psalm for understanding."There is one other point especially to be noticed inthis 42nd Psalm, and that is the mention of mountHernion in it. ow, mount Hermon stood in the oldkingdom of Bashan, on the other side of the Jordan,which flowed at its foot. Dean Stanley, in his book onSinai and Palestine (chap. viii. s. 6), writes : " Fromthese heights Abner in his flight from the Philistines,and David in his flight from Absalom, and the Israeltieson their way to Babylon, and the Christian Jews of 
 
Pella, caught the last glimpse of their familiar moun-tains. There is one plaintive strain which sums up allthese feelings, the 42nd Psalm. Its date and author-ship are uncertain ; but the place is, beyond doubt, thehills beyond the Jordan, which always behold, as theyare always beheld from, Western Palestine. As beforethe eyes of the exile, the hart or stag of the forests of Gilead panted after the fresh streams of water whichthere descend to the Jordan, so his soul panted afterGod, from whose presence he was shut out. The river,with its winding rapids, ' deep calling unto deep,' laybetween him and his home ; thus they reminded thewanderer from his home in Israel of his banishmentand solitude."How beautiful is the aspiration which these firstverses contain — the desire of the holy soul to be nearer1 66 PSALM XL//.God — the reaching out of a devout heart towards itsone only true great centre ! " Like as the hart desireththe water -brooks, so longeth ray soul after Thee,God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for theliving God : when shall I come to appear before thepresence of God ?" Surely there is here a direct refer-ence to Him who said, "Whosoever thirsteth, let himcome unto Me and drink." " Jesus answered and saidunto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirstagain : but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shallgive him shall never thirst ; but the water that I shallgive him shall be in him a well of water springing upinto everlasting life."* This He said of and to all of us; but there is one expression once used by Him of Himself, "Whose meat it was to do the will of Himthat sent Him, and to finish His work," which thesefirst verses of the 42nd Psalm more especially shouldremind us of. Amid the seven sayings on the Cross,

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