In Psalm 42, the Psalmist is crying out for revival. We read of a soul thirsting for God—the desire to drink deeply—and a memory of past gatherings for worship. When we look around the world, it always appears to be in need for a revival. Today, as we are experiencing life behind closed doors in isolation to heed warnings to social distance so as to help contain a pandemic, Christians are not gathering together for worship. Church buildings have closed their doors. Families are home on Sundays.
Though many churches have begun online worship, this pandemic surely can open our eyes to what spiritually is a struggle for many—even those who profess to be Christian and previously attended church weekly before this pandemic. The struggle is living before God. The Psalmist writes of singing God’s praises, and of “living before His face” which is described as his “saving grace.” Though God is ever present, we often times are not living in His presence. There is a difference. To be living before God is to acknowledge His presence, to live as He is present, to recognize Him throughout your day.
The Psalmist wants a great revival—he wants for people to draw back to God and praise Him for He alone is due praise. The Psalmist recollects a time when people gathered together to sing to God. He clings to the hope He has in God and understands that even when there is darkness all around, even when the world is so in need of a revival, that He could live in the presence of God. He could still sing praises. Why? Because God is his saving grace. Despite his flaws, despite his shortcomings, that God lifted him up through grace to save him, to allow him in His presence, to give him a taste of His goodness. The Psalmist never deserved it; you never deserve it. Yet He offers us this saving grace freely. Today may seem dark and gloomy. Today you may be sinking into despair. Keep hoping and waiting on God. Sing His praises. I pray you are living before His face. I pray He is your saving grace.
“So then, my soul, why would you be depressed? Why would you sink into despair? Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior. For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, for living before his face is my saving grace!” – Psalm 42:5 [TPT]
Today’s passage gets me to consider how God restores. We serve a God of restoration. Consider this—after two days He revives and then on the third day raises up. Does this remind you of anything? Earlier in the passage, it speaks about returning to the Lord. We read that God has torn and struck down. This is something that is done to prune, to grow, to stretch God’s people and produce what is meant—what is better. We read that in doing so we are healed and bound up.
The passage continues to say that we are raised up so that “we may live before Him.” I love this. Earlier Hosea speaks about being led astray, not having a knowledge of God, being far from God. Now this passage says that we will live before Him. We go from being far from Him, away from Him altogether, to being right before Him—in His presence! How awesome is that?!?
Understand friends, that our God restores. He takes that which is broken and He binds. He takes that which is dirty and cleanses. There will be breaking. There will be pruning. But there is also deliverance. There is also restoration. There is healing. Let us press on. Let us press on to know the Lord. His Word helps us to recognize Him more, to understand Him more. His Spirit reveals and reminds. Press on.
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:1-3 [ESV]