Thursday, 5 May 2011


Is it only crazy people who talk to themselves? One of the best preachers of the twentieth century was Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones. He famously said that the problem with most Christians is that they listen to themselves rather than talk to themselves! Perhaps he was right. Talking to yourself is not necessarily crazy but is instead a thoroughly Biblically spiritual and healthy thing to do. At least that's what the sons of Korah thought and shared this insight with the world that many today have found the secret to their sanity.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Psalm 42:5a
What are you listening to yourself saying to yourself? We get a clue what the Psalmist was hearing by the preceding verses in Psalm 42. In verse 1 the Psalmist seems to be saying that despite his ardent seeking he could not 'find' God. Thus in verse 2 he asks himself if he will ever come into God's presence
When shall I come and appear before God?
Psal 42:2b
The Psalmist hears himself getting more and more depressed.
My tears have been my food
day and night,
Psalm 42:3a
He hears from himself that there is no God. He hears from himself the taunts of his critics-
they say to me all the day long,
"Where is your God?" 
Psalm 42:3b
The Psalmist then hears why his 'church' has let him down. He laments that when he was in leadership within his church he cared for the hurting, but now that he was hurting and having a hard time, no one was reaching out to him. This disappointment with the throng who attended his church added to his disillusionment and growing depression. Because of what he was hearing from himself he had become unsocial, isolated, bitter and depressed. It was a downward spiral being fueled by what he was hearing from himself.

But he stopped listening to his own negativity. Maybe he realised that Negaitivity is loud, brazen, and proud. Just like an attention seeking precocious child, it doesn't exercise the usual modesty that well adjusted and disciplined children are trained to exercise. It jumps in front of people and tugs at their hands, eyes and hearts. And Negativity receives a lot of encouragement to keep up its disgraceful and childish behaviour. And amazingly, Negativity rarely has its bluff called. It interwines its disgusting language into the ordinary vocabulary of its victim so that it becomes unrecognizable. Meanwhile, its arch-enemy, Truth, is reserved, relatively quiet, calm, consistent, secure, and understated. It is also patient. Very patient. It will often wait for Negativity to wreak its damage before it seeks a hearing.

Truth caught the Psalmist's attention. It summoned him to stop listening to himself and to start talking to himself. The Psalmist addresses the core of his mind and heart (his "soul") by saying-
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?

Psalm 42:5a
Truth begins to fill the Psalmist's mouth-
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation
(Psa. 42:6) and my God.
Truth points the Psalmist to praise. Truth points the Psalmist to remember what God has done. Truth points the Psalmist to honest prayer. Have a look at Psalm 42. The next time you feel that Negativity has taken taken up its insidious position somewhere near your eardrum, just have a look in a Book for a less intrusive, but more necessary, chap called Truth. While Negativity is keenly interested in your ears, Truth is interested in your tongue. It coaches a tongue to be truthful. Rather than giving up on God when times are depressing, Truth takes us by the hand and says- "Go on, tell Him. Tell Him how you feel. Tell Him you're disappointed. But tell Him that even though it's difficult for you now, your desire is to always praise Him."
I say to God, my rock:
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?" 

Psalm 42:9
This Psalmist talked to himself - but he wasn't crazy. In fact, because he talked to himself, he wasn't crazy. The next time you feel like these sons of Korah, alone, rejected, abandoned, doubting, and scorned, stop listening to yourself and starting let Truth coach your tongue and start talking to yourself.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:11

Father, help us to follow Christ well. May we understand in clearer terms the eternal consequences at stake in getting our foundations, fellowships and faith in good order. Cause us to be able to forgive others quickly and readily. Let no root of bitterness invade our souls. Fill our hearts with Your love for You, Your Word, and Your people. Fill our hearts, minds and souls with the Truth. In Jesus Name', Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

No comments:

Post a Comment