Though we need both, spiritual disciplines are more like a personal trainer than a doctor. One is to keep you well the other is to make you well.
The big idea. Spiritual thirst for God and times of dryness need to be rightly understood for Christians.
1. The condition of dryness.
Vs1, 4: the place the deer usually went for water is now dry. The dear is dying of thirst.
The psalmist has lost the reality of God, the sense of His presence on his soul.
The context is that this coming on is NOT because of some sin. It is part of the normal Christian experience.
2. The causal factors for spiritual dryness.
A. Vs4 a disruption of community. He used to be in the south with all his friends and believers and now something has happened and he is up north alone. We westerners over rely on individuality and moralism.
B. V3. The disillusionment at life’s events
C. V3. Deprivation physically. He is not eating or sleeping.
3. The cure. Four things he does to get out of dryness.
A. He pours out his soul. V4 and the while chapter really. Honest, raw, unpremeditated safe prayer to God. He keeps doing the spiritual disciplines of reading, praying, community worship even when he doesn’t feel like it.
B. He analyzes his hopes. The common refrain: hope in God. Psalm 3:3. He looks for inordinate hopes and desires, functional saviors. It is most always a both/and answer not an either/or: it is not that he only is trusting in God or getting his sense of self from something else. Rather, look for ways inordinate hopes have crept in 10-25% of the way, for instance.
C. He remembers Gods grace. V5-6
D. He preaches sermons to his heart
Note that the first two are listening carefully to yourself and reading all that is going on. That is what a good preacher does or else he will not connect with his audience. The next two are all about preaching and talking to yourself, bringing truth to bear where you are subtly believing lies.
In dryness we often think that God has finally given up on us. That we must have finally tested and exhausted Gods patience for us so he left us. This is where we need to apply the Gospel: Christ read this Psalm and experienced the ultimate deer-like thirst of dying when he was on the cross and cried out, “I thirst.”. Christ experience cosmic thirst for us when he was on the cross. All that does not satisfy us that we run after in sin was on him.
However, Christ did die of this thirst. He did have his father turn his back on him, give up on him, because of my sin. So this guarantees that God will NOT GIVE UP ON ME when I am dry of full of zest. It is when this truth comes to the center of our being that we are changed!