March 2020: the whole world is in quarantine. What the pandemic of Coronavirus did was to isolate us. Some of us, especially the elderly, are alone just by themselves.
People of faith that get encouragement from company of other believer, cannot meet, cannot talk, cannot hug.
In Psalms 42, this situation is described very will:
“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
4 When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me”Psalms 42:1-6
The psalmist yearns to take part in a pilgrimage with the multitudes to the House of the Lord in Jerusalem.
But he cannot. And he is distressed and in despair.
May be he was cast out from Jerusalem? Or maybe sent to exile by enemy?
We do not know what happened to him. But we can certainly identify with him in this situation, when we are alone and yearning to worship together with fellow believers.
And then he saw a deer. A beautiful animal that came to the water to drink. He did not see the beauty of the animal. He saw its thirst. he saw its weakness. He saw its neediness.
Where is Psalm 42 located?
The psalmist told us where he wrote psalm 42:
“Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.”Psalms 42:6-7
If you’ve been to Israel. You know where this is. In the Hula valley, where the springs that come from Mount Hermon forming the Jordan river with cold water and waterfalls. This area is considered by many the most beautiful area in the land of Israel.
And being here, surrounding by all this beauty, the man does not enjoy any of it. His heart is empty. All the beauty of this world cannot fill your heart when you are away from God.
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God“
The extinction of deers from Israel
Can we see deers today coming to drink water of the Jordan river?
The answer is NO.
Deers appear several times in the Bible. They were very common in ancient times.
“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He causes me to stand on the heights.”Psalms 18:33
“As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.”Proverbs 5:19
“Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert”Isaiah 35:6
In the 20th century, deers were completely extinct from Israel. Mostly because of hunting. The last deer was hunted in Mount Carmel in 1912.
In the last 40 years there is an initiative to reintroduce deers back to the nature. This project is quite successful. But they are still very rare and are only in a few small reserves.