“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” – Psalm 42:1
Gazelles have lived in the Land of Israel for thousands of years. You can catch a glimpse of these elegant creatures in the hilly regions of the Galilee, the Golan Heights, and the Judean Desert.
It is generally believed by reputable Bible scholars that David is the author of this Psalm and that it was written at a time when he fled from Jerusalem and the area of the Temple because of the rebellion and threat on the part of his son, Absalom. He longs for worship and hurts at the thought of being removed from Mount Zion, the place where he had brought the Ark. His soul pants after God in a similar way that the hart pants after the water-brooks! He had been deprived of the privilege of public worship and he esteemed this as a greater loss than the comforts of life.
I read this passage and my mind was upon the beautiful Gazelles seen by visitors in the Judean Desert and our guide in Israel pointed out a likely spot to be on the lookout for one of these desert beauties. While not lucky enough to spot one of these animals as some in our group did, I still have the resource of the web to post a picture!
The devotional thought is that of the value of a soul panting after God. What could commend the character of a Christian more than a thirst after God and the worship of Him? Oh, that we, as David, would prioritize the relationship with Christ as greater than all of the things pertaining to our physical life. David remembered the blessing of the Lord’s presence in worship of Him. He longs to be back in Jerusalem and the place of worship.
The soul that pants after God is awaked to the deepest and most valuable longing and will be rewarded with the greatest spiritual treasure. The Christian thirsty for God and worship of Him is a Christian who has passed through the outer court of the place where God’s presence is known and into the inner chamber where His presence is fully realized.