Psalm 42

Psalm 42

Book Two

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

42   As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
  My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
  When shall I come and appear before God?
  My tears have been my food
    day and night,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
  These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
  how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
  with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.
  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.
  My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
  from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
  Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
  all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
  By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
  I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
  Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
  As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.


Psalm 42 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

“(Thirst) is more than hungering; hunger you can palliate, but thirst is awful, insatiable, clamorous, deadly.”

Charles Spurgeon

Consider the concept of being thirsty. First, there are all kinds of factors that contribute to our desire for water. We may have just been physically active and are now experiencing dehydration. We may have neglected water throughout the day and now we are desperate for a drink. Another possibility is that a natural disaster has destroyed our ability to get clean drinking water. All of these scenarios translate into our spiritual condition.

We experience spiritual dehydration when we prioritize “getting stuff done” over abiding in Jesus. We experience spiritual dehydration when we have neglected meeting with Jesus because we “just don’t have time.” We experience spiritual dehydration when a situation overwhelms us and we become paralyzed by the thought of overcoming it. Let’s be honest. We all need more Jesus in our life.

Have you ever just longed to be with Jesus? As the destruction of everyday life closes in, there are times we just feel like quitting. It’s in these moments we often realize 1) We have been trying to function without stopping for water or… 2) We need more Jesus and we feel like He’s not there. The psalmist is focused on the latter.

I thirst for you, the living God. When can I go and worship in your presence? 3 Day and night I cry, and tears are my only food; all the time my enemies ask me, “Where is your God?” 4 My heart breaks when I remember the past, when I went with the crowds to the house of God and led them as they walked along, a happy crowd, singing and shouting praise to God.

Psalms 42:2-4 GNB

The perfect storm hits when we realize our external circumstances and our internal battle have both hit rock bottom. We see no end in sight practically and our minds run wild with the “what if” scenarios. David Guzik has a beautiful quote that sums this up.

The psalmist knew, “I’m in deep trouble on the outside and I’m in deep trouble on the inside.” These two depths seemed to collide in him, sending him deeper still.

David Guzik

God always brings complete healing. He doesn’t leave us the same way He found us. Yes, it is true that the heat gets turned up in our lives once we go all in with Jesus. However, we can find comfort in knowing that our Savior is risen and has accomplished everything we couldn’t accomplish. This fact alone gives us hope no matter what we face in this life. Though we are not immune to depression, anxiety, and persecution, we have been captured by grace. We will rise in victory with Jesus.

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