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Psalm 42

Psalm 42

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    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 must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.
(Psalm 42:1-11 NIV)

Today’s psalm is a great model and reminder of abiding in the Lord through hard times.

The psalmist begins with a word picture of a deer wandering through the desert looking for water, panting in the heat and finding no refreshment, yet not giving up until it satisfies its basic life-sustaining need of water.

Do we have the same view of God as the deer has for water?  Do we see our relationship with the Lord as life-sustaining, that we can’t go on without it?

The psalmist deeply feels the mockery and ridicule of those around him as they question the whereabouts of this so-called “good God” that has seemingly abandoned him (v. 3).  The psalmist remembers the former days when the multitudes worshipped the Lord and he led the congregation in worship (v. 4).

In verse 5, the psalmist is able to take a break from his pain to objectively take a look at himself.  He is able to step outside his misery and search for the root cause of his current state of despair.

What do you do when you are down and discouraged?  Are you able to look beyond your feelings and find the root cause of the pain?  Sometimes being able to put a name on the feelings or pain or despair is the first step of healing.  When we recognize the deeper issue, we can then start dealing with it (or at least telling a trusted friend what we’re struggling with).

The psalmist then recalls God’s faithfulness in the past to his forefathers (v. 6), and God’s love and grace come flooding back, refreshing him like standing under a waterfall or being gently washed in the waves of the ocean (v. 7).

Yes, the ridicules of the enemy are still all around (v. 10), but the answer is not in the removal of the enemy and their taunts, but to place ultimate confidence in the Lord (v. 11).  This leads to the psalmist praising and worshipping the Lord, even if he is the only one.

May we remember God’s goodness and love as we navigate through hard times.

May we take the time to ask ourselves what’s going on inside of us, to put a name to the emotions and feelings so we can then express them and deal with them.

And may we place our confidence and trust in the Lord to carry us through the hard times, even with the ridicule of others still surrounding us.

When our focus is solely on Jesus, everything else becomes noise and fades into the background.

May you experience the same peace as the psalmist did as he focused solely on the Lord.

Blessings,

~kevin

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