Tuesday, January 26, 2021


About Me

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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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‘Man shall not live on bread alone,
but on every word
that comes from the mouth of God.
Matt 4:4

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Jul 5

Written by: Andries
Sunday, July 05, 2020 3:19:54 AM  RssIcon

Like most psalms of lament, the so-called “Hebrew Blues”, Psalm 42 also displays that curious combination of lamenting God's absence in a prayer that is nevertheless addressed to that same God. There is no doubt that this poet feels distant from God. But it's not as though he has concluded that there is no God. No matter how desperate the Bible's hymns of lament get, you never find a psalmist who arrives at some form of agnosticism, much less atheism.
 
In Psalm 42 the poet is panting in the same way that a deer pants for shade and water as it flees from the hunter on a hot summer day in the semi-deserts of Palestine. But like the deer in flight, so this psalmist cannot rest next to the cool stream of water he needs to save his life.
 
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalms 42:1-2.
 
We have all been there: Prayers with no answers, the loss of enthusiasm in worship, the experience that the Bible seems to be as dry as dust and being offended by people who seem to find it easy to experience God’s closeness and mercy.
But it is just here where the role of memory is given an unusually high profile. At the lowest point of the believer’s pain, he says something totally unexpected: "Therefore, I will remember You."
 
Hope sneaks back into the hymn. We find some confidence that he will again, in the future,  be able to sing to God. The memory of God's past actions of help in his life prompts the poet to declare that there can be no other resting place than God alone. Because of who God is, he will eventually again sing a fitting song of praise.
 
Remembrance enables him to see God. Remembrance brings hope for the present. A simple act of remembering the grace and mercy of God in his past, changes a verse of despair into a statement of faith. Perhaps the revival of our hope doesn't depend on making sense of the present. Maybe in life's darkest hours, it is our memories of who God is and what he did in our lives sometime ago that will give us a glimpse of his love, again.
 
Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, at the Passover, instituted a new feast with bread and wine, commanding his people to do this, in remembrance of him. It is not just our individual memories, not just what God did for you somewhere in the past that will enlighten your faith-vision and in spite of dark depression, will open the eyes of the soul in order to see God again in faith. No, it is the corporate memory of the Church that reminds of God’s saving grace even in times of depression.
 
Christians had shared the body and blood of Jesus not only while organs played awe inspiring music, but also while frightening warnings of life threatening tragedies left them afraid, helpless and dying of hunger.
They recalled that cruel event, once and for all accomplished on the cross. And as they did so, they again and again discovered that Jesus is no mere memory of a dead hero.
They saw that he is here and that he is alive! He has mercy on us!
 
You too are called to remember and, through remembrance, to believe.
Because when we remember Jesus, we are reminded that we will praise him again when his light breaks through our darkness again - as it so often did in the past.  

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