Psalms 42:1-11 NKJV

1 To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the Sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”

4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar.

7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.

8 The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me—A prayer to the God of my life.

9 I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

10 As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Background

Psalm 42 marks the beginning of the second book of Psalms. The 150 psalms were originally (and still by many Jewish cultures) divided into five distinct books of psalms, or psalters, as a parallel to the Torah, the first five books of the Bible which make up the Mosaic Law. The second book has a theme when it comes to the name of God, using Elohim, rather than Jehovah, as in the first book.

The first seven psalms in this new book, Psalms 42 – 48 are ascribed to have been written by the “sons of Korah,” as seen in Psalm 42:1. These were Levites ( 1 Chron 9:19 ), and more specifically, appointed by David to be the doorkeepers and musicians when he defined the new model of worship at the tabernacle.

As The Deer

You may recognize this first verse (your translation may say hart or even hind instead of deer) as the first line of the worship song, As The Deer. The song goes away from the psalm after that line, but still captures the same intent of the first line.

As the deer panteth for the water

So my soul panteth after You

You alone are my heart’s desire

And I long to worship You

You alone are my strength, my shield

To You alone may my spirit yield

You alone are my heart’s desire

And I long to worship You

In the psalm, the psalmist cries out “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” This thirst is for the Divine protection and love of God. In Tuberville’s Art of Venerie, (1611 A.D.) he says of deer:

“but when he is hard hunted, and nearly spent, he will take to some river or brook, in which, he will keep as long as his breath will suffer him. Understand that when a hart is spent and sore run, his last refuge is to the water; and he will commonly descend down the streame and swimme in the very middest thereof; for he will take as good heede as he can to touch no boughes or twygges that grow upon the sides of the river, for feare lest the hounds should there take sent of him. And sometimes the hart will lye under the water, all but his very nose; and I have seene divers lye so until the hounds have been upon them, before they would rise; for they are constrayned to take the water as their last refuge.”

The deer, like the psalmist, finds himself extremely spent, and seeks God’s Living Water for refuge and shelter. That Living Water which provides us refreshment and energy to do His work ( John 7:37-39 ) also provides for us divine protection.

For I Shall Yet Praise Him

Twice in this psalm do we read the following, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” In verse 5 and verse 11 the psalmist issues these words. Both times, it is after his enemies have said, “Where is your God?”. His response is not to his enemy, though, it is to himself, reminding himself. In fact, after the first time the enemy asks the question,  he reminds himself, “… For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. ” The psalmist then declares, “I shall yet praise Him”. No matter what, I shall yet praise Him.

Daily Challenge

When you feel down and out today, whether it’s overwhelmed at work, or struggling with your own failings, or being beating by your enemies, take a moment and say to yourself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” Then remember what the psalmist added to that the second time he said it, “… and my God.” Remember, He is your God. So often the prophets used the title “The LORD your God.” Remember, He is your God for a reason. He is a personal, loving God, who wants you to take refuge in Him in all struggles, as the deer longs for the water, so should we long for Him.

Daily Devotionals ©2018 First Baptist Hastings and Rev. Dallas Wilke. All Rights Reserved

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