How to Look Up when you Feel Down – and dry!

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Sermon on March 4 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi

Scripture: Psalms 42 & 43

If you love the Lord, you will also know times when you cannot feel God’s presence. What then?

1. THE CONDITION THAT MAY DRY YOU UP!

When you feel dry, or are depressed is it always the result of sin?
‘As the deer pants…so my soul longs after you’ (v1)
Deer are not stupid. They are often at the river bed and pant when they are dying of thirst.
This condition can happen when you have done something wrong – but also when you may be pushing the right buttons.

2. THE CAUSES THAT MAY DRAG YOU DOWN!

  • A Disruption of community (v4)
    The psalmist is missing the togetherness of the temple and the feasts.
    Don’t underestimate why you need worship and prayer with others. Beware the individualism that can dry you up
  • Disillusion at the events of life (v3, 9 ; 43:2)
    The psalmist’s enemies are not out to kill him, but to taunt him. ‘Where is your God?
    When God allows what we do not expect, our own hearts can mock us.
  • Deprivation that is physical ‘My tears have been my food day and night’ (v3a)

‘…But if you recognize that the physical may be partly responsible for the spiritual condition and make allowances for this- you will be better able to deal with the spiritual issues.’
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones : ‘Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and Cure’

3. THE CURES THAT WILL GET YOU BACK ON TRACK!

  • Pour out your soul (v4 )
  • Analyze your hopes (v5, 11, 43:5)
    The Lord allows us to go through times in our lives to relocate from false hopes to the only hope
  • Remember the lovingkindness of God (v4)
  • Preach to your heart ‘Why my soul are you downcast?’

Remember! When you read these psalms, think of the One who experienced not just the loss of feeling but the loss of God Himself. The Table today reminds us that Jesus was really forsaken and forgotten that we may receive His love unconditionally.

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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

  1. What is our natural reaction when we can’t ‘feel’ or sense God as we used to? Give reasons for your answer. Why is the psalmist down in the dumps?
  2. We like to find reasons within ourselves when we feel down. Is that helpful? Why or why not?
  3. ‘I can be a good Christian without going to church or belonging!’ Discuss. Why is ‘togetherness’ so important in the Christian life?
  4. Should we use these psalms only when we feel down? Why or why not? How can we prepare ourselves for such times? How can you use the principles here to encourage others?

Photo credit FreeImages.com/Sarah Miles