August 12 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 46-48 and Psalms 42
“Why are you downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalms 42:5)
I’m taking a break from Jeremiah this morning to focus on a theme from Psalm 42. According to our best understanding the “soul” of man is a combination of his mind, his will and his emotions. This psalmist is expressing the different ways our “souls” can either help us or discourage us from an attitude of worship.
– The soul can “thirst” and “pant” for the presence of God – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalms 42:1)
– The soul can be exuberant and joyful – “Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation.” (Psalms 35:9)
– We can be full of thanksgiving and hopefulness and we can “pour out” our souls before God.
– Our souls can be at rest – “My soul finds rest in God alone.” (Psalms 62:1)
– On the contrary, our souls can be “downcast” or “disturbed”. “I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.” (Ps.31:9)
– “When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted (Psalms 77:2)
– Our souls can also be in “mourning”, “oppressed”, in “agony” or generally be an emotional mess – “My soul is in anguish” (Psalms 6:3)
– “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” (Psalms 119:28)
When the Psalmist speaks to his own soul, telling it to hope in God and praise Him, which part of his “inner man” is he speaking with? – It’s the spirit of the man. We are body, soul and spirit. The soul can easily rule over the body with its stress and depression or with its exuberance and worship. The body responds and follows along for the ride – turning on or off according to the soul’s whims. The spirit of a person is the God sensor – that part of you that can respond to the Spirit of God and act according to the Word regardless of the will of the soul or the lust of the flesh. You (your spirit) can tell your body and soul what to do! This is ultimately how things like divine healing take place. Your spirit says “yes” to the Word and the Spirit of God – your body and soul respond.
The next time your soul or body tells you, “I don’t feel like it”, speak to it, saying, “He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalms 23:3)
1. Tell of another situation from Scripture where a person “took hold of” their own soul and made it obey God.
2. Tell of a situation where you had to “get a grip” of your soul in order to get the victory in Christ.