May 20 (Daily reading: Psalms 5, 38, 41-42) There is a heart condition that can keep us from surrendering to our God. David understood this: “I feel faint and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart … My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me” (38:8, 10). This condition is even more deadly than congestive heart failure, and it is caused by sin: “For my guilty deeds have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they weigh too much for me” (38:4).
Thankfully, David knew the cure. “As for me, I said, ‘LORD, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You’” (41:4). It is the same cure that John gave us many years later: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). The sons of Korah also understood what is needed: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (42:1-2). This is a preemptive cure: When we satisfy our thirst for God in His word, we will avoid the snares of temptation set by our enemy the devil!
I like to tell of the time when I was praying for my college son Tim while walking in the Mississippi woods. I had just prayed out loud that he would be like the psalmist and thirst for God, like a deer thirsts for water, when I topped a rise and startled a deer that was a short distance from me—I thanked God for His answer! I heeded the advice of the sons of Korah, “Put your hope in God” (42:11), and I knew my son would be okay!
– Al Gary