Fixing our Voice on God

Published January 13, 2012 by SusieM in Uncategorized

As the deer pants for the water,
So my soul longs after You.
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You.

I want You more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy-giver
And the apple of my eye.

You’re my Friend and You are my Brother,
Even though You are a King.
I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything.

 

Lovely words of this song written in 1984 by Martin Nystrom, inspired by Psalm 42. I read this psalm Weds morning, after Emma had shared with us at the Prayer Meeting the night before how important she thought it was that worship becomes more and more part of our church family life, as we stand together and battle through the things that are coming against us.

The Psalmist wonders if he’s ever going to make it, and is on a diet of tears, then in verse 5 says: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Saviour and my God” The Message puts it like this: “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” The Psalmist seems to stir up faith in himself by determinedly singing out – he then goes on to remember what God has done in the past; and presumably he is encouraging the choir and others to sing it out likewise.

So let’s stir up our faith and each others’, and start reminding each other of the wonderful things God has done in our lives, and do it in song, fixing our voice on God. May I tell you a little story from an Ashburnham Stable midweek meeting, when 2 lady Churchwardens from a church in Kent had brought along their very uncharismatic vicar. They were sitting right behind me, so when I seemed to get a Holy Spirit nudge to bring a song in tongues during the worship time, I started squirming about on my seat and arguing with the Lord that it would be insensitive to this stiff-shouldered sad-looking vicar to do such a thing. It was no good, and 5 mins later I shakily launched off into what seemed a rather beautiful song, but the extraordinary thing, is that it wasn’t my usual tongue, but something sounding very different, and as I sang, I had a picture of a deer high up on a rocky crag. The leader of the meeting asked for an explanation or interpretation for my sung tongue, and after a while someone timidly said they thought we should sing “As the deer pants for the water”. I was glad at the end there was no sight of the Kent vicar and the ladies.

But then the next day I had a phonecall from one of the ladies, saying her vicar wanted her to ask me where I had learnt ancient Hebrew. A quick splutter, and I explained I had barely managed to pass French GCSE, let alone any other language. The astonishing thing was that I had unbeknownst sung in perfect ancient Hebrew the whole of Psalm 42, words that resonated with the discouraged and disturbed soul of this sad vicar. I have often wondered since what impact that had on him, God understanding where he was, and orchestrating all of that just for him.

So shall we start praising and worshipping and bursting into song at every opportunity? No saying “You haven’t heard my voice!”. Very early in our Christian lives, we were invited to visit a pentecostal housegroup in the next town so Jo could speak about the healing of his heart. They had an extended time of praise first of all, and sitting next to Jo was a lady, a very enthusiastic worshipper, who was somewhat musically challenged when it came to hitting the right notes! Jo tells how he rather impatiently prayed, “How can I worship you properly Lord with that terrible sound in my ear! Can’t you make her stop?” Only to hear, “SHE’S giving Me everything she’s got.” Which completely convicted Jo, and transformed his attitude – and mine!

Let’s give Him everything we’ve got, and encourage ourselves too.

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