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April 9, Day #100 – The Antidote for a Downcast Soul

Yesterday from Psalm 42, we talked about the treatment for a “downcast soul.” Today in Deuteronomy 9-10, Moses basically says the same thing that Psalm 42 is saying. Notice: “Be assured … that the LORD goes ahead of you … like a devouring fire” (verse 3). Moses again reiterates: “Remember this and never forget …” (verse 7). We need to understand that, according to Scripture, the antidote to a downcast soul is celebrating in our minds and hearts everything that God has accomplished on our behalf - remembering our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we do this, we enter into real praise and worship of Him, and we begin to counteract any of the feelings or effects brought on by a downcast soul. In this section, Moses reviews some of the historical events that the Israelites have been wandering through these past 40 years. He reminds the people that God has graciously cared for them during all these years and warns them about their previous unbelief. We have said that reminders are instructive and for our good – it is dangerous to forget the past – and it is especially devastating to forget the lessons we should have learned from our past sins and errors. In chapter 10, Moses points out that he advocated for the Israelites when God was about to destroy them: “The LORD listened to me” (verse 10). He advises the Israelites: “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul … for your own good” (verses 12-13). In verses 16-22, we see that even the law itself calls for more than merely a legal obligation or response to it – “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer” (verse 16). This is physically impossible; it can only be done spiritually by a regular walk with God, and yet the law requires it. We could say that the law calls us to live above the law – above the physical – on the spiritual plane, and this can only be done by grace.

Just as we saw yesterday in Psalm 42, in today’s reading (Psalm 42:6-12), the psalmist indicates that the antidote to a downcast soul is simply to remember God. The implication of this has little to do with memories or memorializations but more to do with mindful meditations and reflections. The Psalmist says, “Deep calls to deep” (verse 7). Memories and memorializations are surface-level reminders of the past. We look at a monument for a few minutes, and later, we’ve moved on and forgotten it. However, mindful meditations and reflections take place in the deep spaces of our souls where we ruminate on them over and over again. We remember that Jesus told Peter, “put out into deep water” (cf., Luke 5:4). That’s where the fish are – in the deep water. And that’s where the remembrance of God is most effective – in the deep recesses of our hearts and souls.

In Luke 12:1-34, Jesus is saying the same things. He says to fear God - to show Him reverence. We cannot revere God without thinking about His awesome majesty and remembering His mighty works. But in the same passage, Jesus also tells us “don’t be afraid” (verse 7), and He assures us that we are not “forgotten by God” (verse 6). He is reminding us to trust Him - the same One Whom we are to revere. This is exactly what Moses said earlier - “Be assured … that the LORD goes ahead of you … like a devouring fire” (cf., Deuteronomy 9:3). Moses continues: “Remember this and never forget …” (verse 7). As we have said, God wants us – calls us - to remember everything that God has accomplished on our behalf – honoring and celebrating our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the antidote for a downcast soul.

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Thank you, Nathan, so much - for your thoughts. That song has always represented for me a very special message to my heart - the words capture many of the deep feelings of my soul. Thank you for sharing it here. Love, Dad

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While reading today’s post, I was reminded of the hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” which lyrics say:

“O soul are you weary and troubled

No light in the darkness you see

There's light for a look at the Savior

And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in his wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and grace

His word shall not fail you he promised

Believe him and all will be well

Then go to a world that is dying

His perfect salvation to tell

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in his wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow…

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