Two Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeSabbath Keeping FastingA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationPersonality Type in CongregationsPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Psalm 84 and Deuteronomy 32: Water

Lynne Baab • Wednesday September 16 2020

Psalm 84 and Deuteronomy 32: Water

Today I want to bring you water. Cool, clear, refreshing water. Water that cleanses and heals and energizes. I want to bring it to you as an individual and to your family. I want to bring it to our hurting city, country, and world. I want to bring it to the West Coast where fire rages and smoke seeps into homes.

Of course, I can’t really bring water to anyone. But God can. And God might use me – or you – to bring it.

The Bible is full of passages about water. I want to follow up on last week’s post about Psalm 84 and zoom in on the verses about water. In Psalm 84:5-7, water is connected to happiness and strength:

“Happy are those whose strength is in you,
     in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca
     they make it a place of springs;
     the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
     the God of gods will be seen in Zion.”

Scholars don’t know where Baca was, but it was obviously a dry place. Notice that the people whose strength is in the Lord make Baca a place of springs. Somehow people who love God bring water to dry places. In addition, God sends the early rains to cover it with pools. Humans and God work in tandem to bring water.

Another intriguing passage about water comes in Deuteronomy 32:1-4, the beginning of the Song of Moses, a long prayer in the form of a song. Soon before Moses’s death, he prays in the presence of all the people of Israel after passing on leadership to Joshua. Look at the unexpected way water is used in Moses’ song:

"Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
   let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
May my teaching drop like the rain,
   my speech condense like the dew;
like gentle rain on grass,
   like showers on new growth.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
   ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock, his work is perfect,
   and all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without deceit,
   just and upright is he."

Water is used all over the Bible to refer to God and God’s ability to refresh us, and in the New Testament, to the Holy Spirit (John 4:14 and 7:37-39). This is the only place I know of where someone compares their words to water. Notice that Moses is referring specifically to words about God. Notice also that in both Psalm 84 and Deuteronomy 32, people play a role in bringing water to others.

I wonder if we could pray for ourselves, that our words would be like dew or a gentle rain into the lives of people we care about (but might be get frustrated with). I wonder if we could pray for people in leadership in all sorts of arenas, that God would enable them to bring water into dry and painful places, and to speak words that strengthen and empower.

Perhaps what you need most today is to sink into a spring pool that God is creating in the desert places of your life. If that’s what you need, click on this link to Psalm 84 and read the whole thing. When I need God to be refreshing water in my life, Psalm 84 is one of my go-to psalms.

God who created water, we beg you to pour your refreshment into our lives. Give us the power of the springs of water from the Holy Spirit, so that we might live lives that honor you. God who is called the Word, we beg you to make our words like fresh water to bless the people we speak to. God of justice and righteousness, we beg you to bring fresh water to our local and national leaders. Help them speak words that will fall like a gentle, cleansing, and empowering rain on our broken country. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, that all people are in your hands. Amen.

(Next week: Psalm 84 and the verbal pictures of doorkeeper, sun and shield. Illustration by Dave Baab. I love to get new subscribers. Sign up below to receive an email when I post on this blog.)

My most popular book, Sabbath Keeping, is now available as an audiobook on many platforms, including Audible.

Need a boost in challenging times? Do you find it hard to navigate both sadness and gratitude? Check out my book, Two Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian Life, which encourages us to hold grief in one hand and gratitude in the other. It guides us into experiencing both the brokenness and abundance of God's world with authenticity and hope, drawing on the Psalms, Jesus, Paul, and personal experience. It is available in paperback (80 pages), audiobook, and kindle. 

Next post »« Previous post