“Deep to deep is calling with a voice of your torrents,
All of your surf and your waves have gone over me.”
(Psalm 42:8 [verse 7 in English translations])
The depths of the ocean cry out with a voice of torrents as judgment washes over the land around the psalmist, because of the wickedness of the people. He feels as if he is about to be washed away in the floods, desperately looking for a rock onto which he can cling. The rock, of course will be Christ, but how we can relate to setting in which the psalmist finds himself! How dark our lives sometimes become; how many times we feel as if things are flooding by so swiftly that the torrents will suck us into the depths of the ocean where we will drown in lonely isolation. How dark it is to be in such a place, yet such a place is where God puts us to teach us, rebuke us, and to transform us into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.
The language of “The Deep” is important language in the Old Testament. The word MOwh;Vt (tehom) in its most basic sense refers to the depths of the ocean or the waters contained below the crust of the earth which may come forth in the form of a geyser. On occasion, they are used to refer to deep-water springs, but once again, the same basic idea is conveyed. On a more theological level, though, the idea of “the deep” is also often used in the context of judgment. It is the water from the deep that pours upwards in Noah’s day (Genesis 7:11) and the waters above and the waters below flood the earth (a re-creation event as indeed we find similar events taking place in the Genesis 1 creation account). In addition, the Egyptians are overwhelmed by the deep as it pours over them (Exodus 15:5,8) and Jonah describes himself as being taken into the deep (Jonah 2:5). Ultimately, God has established both the waters above and the deep below (Proverbs 8:28) and will use his creation to bring about his will, often in the form of judgement against his enemies.
The deep cries out with the sound of torrents of water as the psalmist feels himself about to be swept away by the flood, yet God is merciful and he will provide a rock of refuge for you and for me and for this psalmist…yet we get ahead of ourselves. Sometimes we need to await the deluge and learn to trust that in all things God will glorify himself and honor his name amongst his people. The deep will rise up and torrents will come, but both rise and fall silent at the voice of our almighty God.