Psalm 42

1650 psalter

The Righteous One in His weariness looking up to the Father for refreshment

Instruction is vital in the Christian life; that is why pastors and teachers are gifted to the church. David writes this as a maschil, or instruction, not only to the sons of Korah, but for all generations. 

In the midst of the oppression of his enemies and their baiting of him by taunting, “Where is thy God,” he cries to God to remember him. As is often the case in our own lives, we question why, when, where? Why am I in this state, why am I cast down, why hast thou forgotten? It is true that he was dejected because of continual opposition, but the cause of his disquiet was the absence of God from his life.

Yet he had an insatiable desire for God in the middle of it all, and that gave him hope. He was able to challenge his soul, and encourage it away from its depressive thoughts. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, or hopelessness, he earnestly talks to himself, and incites aspirations for God’s restored presence. This is for our admonition and learning. 

Pastor Jeff O’ Neil

Recommended Tune: Wetherby, Spohr

Psalm 42

¹Like as the hart for waterbrooks
In thirst doth pant and bray;
So pants my longing soul, O God,
That come to thee I may.

²My soul for God, the living God,
Doth thirst: when shall I near
Unto thy countenance approach,
And in God’s sight appear?

³My tears have unto me been meat,
Both in the night and day,
While unto me continually,
Where is thy God? they say.

⁴My soul is poured out in me,
When this I think upon;
Because that with the multitude
I heretofore had gone:

With them into God’s house I went,
With voice of joy and praise;
Yea, with the multitude that kept
The solemn holy days.

⁵O why art thou cast down, my soul?
Why in me so dismay’d?
Trust God, for I shall praise him yet,
His count’nance is mine aid.

⁶My God, my soul’s cast down in me;
Thee therefore mind I will
From Jordan’s land, the Hermonites,
And ev’n from Mizar hill.

⁷At the noise of thy water-spouts
Deep unto deep doth call;
Thy breaking waves pass over me,
Yea, and thy billows all.

⁸His lovingkindness yet the LORD
Command will in the day,
His song’s with me by night; to God,
By whom I live, I’ll pray:

⁹And I will say to God my rock,
Why me forgett’st thou so?
Why, for my foes’ oppression,
Thus mourning do I go?

¹⁰’Tis as a sword within my bones,
When my foes me upbraid;
Ev’n when by them, Where is thy God?
‘Tis daily to me said.

¹¹O why art thou cast down, my soul?
Why, thus with grief opprest,
Art thou disquieted in me?
In God still hope and rest:

For yet I know I shall him praise,
Who graciously to me
The health is of my countenance,
Yea, mine own God is he.