Is Your Soul Dehydrated?
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.” Psalm 42:1 NKJV
When discouragement comes into our life it can be devastating. But David reveals an important truth for us that will deliver us from the distresses of life. David was a man that certainly had to face a lot of distressing situations in his life, and yet he learned through his life experiences that God would always deliver him to the place of victory. This Psalm is a Psalm where David is in the midst of a distressing situation. He has not yet seen the victory but he is already deciding to have a thankful and praising heart because he knows that the end of the matter will be victory in the Lord.
He begins this Psalm with the statement above which is interesting. He is using the deer as an example of what we face and how we need to respond to distressing situations. This is the analogy that David is making, he is saying that in the same way that the deer needs water to survive, so our souls need God to revive and refresh us. Remember that we are spirit, soul, and body. The body we understand, the spirit is that eternal part of us that is brought to life when we accept Jesus as Savior, and it is what makes us a new creation. But the soul is that other eternal part of us. It is our personality, our intellect, our emotional being. This is the part of the three-fold nature of our existence that David is addressing in this Psalm.
Later in this Psalm David speaks to his soul (his emotions and thoughts) and says, “You will not be downcast, because I know that the Lord is going to deliver me, so we might as well start praising Him now” [verse 11 paraphrase]. He is taking control over his soul, his emotions, and his thoughts. However, in this first verse, he is painting the picture of explanation for the reader, of what is taking place when we are discouraged and in distress.
We all understand that the deer must have water to live. The body can go a long time without food, but in a few days without water, the body perishes. The deer pants for water, requiring the water from the brook to live, to revive and refresh. When the deer needs water, nothing else will satiate the body. Food will not satisfy, comfort will not meet the need, and positive thoughts will fail; only water will rehydrate the thirsty deer. David is explaining that in the same way the deer depleted of water pants for refreshing from the brook, so inside a man’s soul when he is in distress needs God. When you are discouraged there is nothing that will satisfy or satiate the disheartened soul except God. Do you hear that? Nothing will meet the need of a discouraged heart with the lone exception of God.
You can try to fill that need or lift the discouragement during a distressing situation, but in the same way that a panting, dehydrated deer will not be satiated by food or any other offering, so the discouraged heart cannot be satisfied or lifted except for the filling of God. Think of it in this terminology, discouragement represents the dehydration of your soul. Your soul is panting for God and nothing else will satisfy and nothing else will rehydrate you!
If you are discouraged or distressed, it is a signal that your soul is dehydrated! Spend time with God in prayer and in the Word and watch the effect that it has on your soul. Watch how it lifts you from distress to victory.
J Todd Hostetler