Psalm 42

Psalm 42 is written by the Sons of Korah, who likely served in the temple worship around music.  Their ancestors led a rebellion against Moses during Exodus and were judged by God and all died, except for the sons of Korah.  It is thus speculated that they were grateful for the mercy showed upon them that they became famed for their praise of God and worship to Him.  The Psalm begins with a vivid image of exactly that kind of worship: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”.

These worship leaders want to know when to connect with God?  “When shall I come and appear before God”?  They knew where to connect – the tabernacle and temple – but they wanted direction on when that should happen.  They know they need God.  They are sinful and guilty and in grief as a result.  “My tears have been my food day and night”.  First, they demonstrated the grief that made the psalmist long for relief in God. Second, they showed the psalmist’s grief over their perceived distance from God. Their need was plainly deep and great.

Twice in this short chapter, the psalmist asks himself why he is down and overwhelmed.  Then he shares the truth that we all must cling to.  “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God”.  There are a half dozen reasons why the psalmist is discouraged:

  • Distance from home and the house of God (42:2, 42:6)
  • Taunting unbelievers (42:3, 42:10)
  • Memories of better days (42:4)
  • The present absence of past spiritual thrills (42:4)
  • Overwhelming trials of life (42:7)
  • God’s seemingly slow response (42:9)

So there were plenty of reasons to be down and out, yet the psalmist knows that God is greater than all of them.  He knows that God is more than able to deal with each one.

It is easy to let circumstances overwhelm us.  If we take our eyes off Jesus that is exactly what often happens.  But we have to address ourself, preach to ourself, question ourself. We must ask our soul: ‘Why are you down’?  We can have confidence in God and His love for us.  We can have hope – confident assurance – that God is there and knows our every need.  We can rest in the fact that God is in control and will do what He will do for our good and blessing.  We can take hope in Him.  We can know that our salvation is in God, and we will praise Him for it!


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