Provocative Devotion: Psalm 42:1-2 “A Healthy Obsession”

Usually when we say someone is obsessed it is not a compliment. We generally mean to imply that the obsessed person is out of balance, a bit off their rocker, myopic, even mentally unhinged. We think they need to back off a tad and get a life. They are missing so much by being obsessed with whatever the object of their obsession may be. This is also the case when it comes to God. Most people are fine if you have a little bit of God in your life, just don’t make Him the center of everything. Keep a healthy balance people say. But Psalm 42 will simply not allow for that kind of ‘balance”.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.

The Psalmist compares our need for God to that of a deer in desperate need of water. A deer, or any creature, in desperate need of water is going to be obsessed with finding that life-giving liquid. Nothing will distract the deer from the hunt for water. There is no such thing as a healthy balance at that point. Health, indeed life itself, is utterly dependent on fulfilling the need for water. Health can only be found by having a laser focused obsession for water.

True health as a human being can only come by being obsessed with God. God must be the center of our lives. Everything must revolve around our relationship with God for us to be healthy. In fact balance is only found by having God at the center. We get out of balance and unhealthy when we allow other things to get in the way of our quest for God. Just like a deer would get sick and eventually die if it let chasing butterflies get in the way of finding water.

There is nothing more important in life than thirsting for God and having that thirst met. Anything less is substituting a false cure, an idol, in place of God. Our very souls are longing for God but in our sinfulness we let other things compete with God and we suffer in the process. True health and true balance, something we long for, comes through total, laser focused, obsession for and devotion to God through Jesus Christ.

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