Psalm 42:6

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 6. O my God, my soul is cast down within me. Here the song begins again upon the bass. So sweet an ending deserves that for the sake of a second hopeful close the Psalm should even begin again. Perhaps the psalmist's dejection continued, the spasm of despondency returned; well, then, he will down with his harp again, and try again its power upon himself, as in his younger days, he saw its influence upon Saul when the evil spirit came upon him. With God the song begins a second time more nearly than at first. The singer was also a little more tranquil. Outward expression of desire was gone; there was no visible panting; the sorrow was not all restrained within doors. Within or upon himself he was cast down; and, verily, it may well be so, while our thoughts look more within than upward. If self were to furnish comfort, we should have but poor provender. There is no solid foundation for comfort in such fickle frames as our heart is subject to. It is well to tell the Lord how we feel, and the more plain the confession the better: David talks like a sick child to its mother, and we should learn to imitate him. Therefore will I remember thee. It is well to fly to our God. Here is terra firma. Blessed down casting which drives us to so sure a rock of refuge as thee, O Lord! From the hill Mizar. He recalls his seasons of choice communion by the river and among the hills, and especially that dearest hour upon the little hill, where love spake her sweetest language and revealed her nearest fellowship. It is great wisdom to store up in memory our choice occasions of converse with heaven; we may want them another day, when the Lord is slow in bringing back his banished ones, and our soul is aching with fear. "His love in times past" has been a precious cordial to many a fainting one; like soft breath it has fanned the smoking flax into a flame, and bound up the bruised reed. Oh, never to be forgotten valley of Achor, thou art a door of hope! Fair days, now gone, ye have left a light behind you which cheers our present gloom. Or does David mean that even where he was he would bethink him of his God; does he declare that, forgetful of time and place, he would count Jordan as sacred as Siloa, Hermon as holy as Zion, and even Mizar, that insignificant rising ground as glorious as the mountains which are round about Jerusalem! Oh! it is a heavenly heart which can sing

"To me remains nor place nor time;
my country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there."
"Could I be cast where thou art not,
That were indeed a dreadful lot,
But regions none remote I call,
Secure of finding God in all."

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 6. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee. "Because I am very low in spirit, am deeply sorrowful, therefore will I remember thee. I will remember how condescending thou art to thy `poor and afflicted people;' how ready to receive them when deserted or cast out by men; how kind and patient to hear their complaint when they pour out the soul before thee. I will remember thy lovingkindness to me in seasons past; how thou hast looked on my distress, hast heard the voice of my supplications, hast delivered me from my trials, or helped me to bear their burden, strengthening me with strength in my soul. I will remember all that I have enjoyed of thy presence when waiting on thee in thy house, or when celebrating thy praises in company with thy `saints, the excellent of the earth.' I will remember what thou ART; how meet an object for the trust of a desolate being like myself! For though I am poor, thou art rich; though I am weak, thou art mighty; though I am miserable, thou art happy. I will remember that thou art my God. That thou hast manifested thyself to my soul, that thou hast enabled me to choose thee for my portion, that I have trusted in thee, and have never been confounded. I will remember that word of promise on which thou hast caused me to hope, to which thou hast ever been faithful throughout all the past, and will be, as I truly believe, even unto the end." Oh, how happy, even in the midst of their unhappiness, are they, who in their trials, can take shelter in God! Henry March.

Verse 6. "MY God." Astonishing expression! Who shall dare to say to the Creator of the ends of the earth, the Majesty in the heavens, "My God"? An exile, a wanderer, an outcast; a man forsaken, despised, reviled; a soul cast down and disquieted: he shall dare. By what right? Of covenant. Henry March.

Verse 6. Therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. It is remarkable what course the psalmist took to regain comfort; he would remember three experiments of his goodness -- "the land of Jordan," the land "of the Hermonites," and "the hill Mizar." First, will I remember the land Jordan; that is, I will remember the great goodness of God in drying up the river Jordan, that so the tribes of Israel might pass over to the promised land: why, God that hath been good, will be good. Then, I will remember the land of the Hermonites; in that land were Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, defeated; that you read of in Joshua 12:1-2 . "Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto Mount Hermon." Mizar, some think to be a little hill near Mount Sinai, where the law was given. I will remember God's goodness, in giving a law to his people. Here David would call to remembrance the goodness of God of old, to regain to him comfort and quietness in his mind. Christopher Love.

Verse 6. The Hermons, or the peaks or ridges of Hermon, the plural being used either because of the two peaks of the mountain (Wilson, "Land of the Bible"), or as I think probably, of the whole range of its snowy heights. J. J. Stewart Perowne.

Verse 6. The Hermons, i.e., as some suppose, Mount Hermon, and the other mountains upon that side of the river, just as Baalim means Baal, and other idols worshipped with him; or more probably Mount Hermon considered not as a single eminence, but a chain or range, like the Alps, the Alleghenies, etc. J. A. Alexander.

Verse 6. From the hill. He that has a rich life of past experience is thereby placed upon an eminence from which he may take a happy view of the path lying before him. J. P Lange's Commentary.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 6. Remember thee. The consolation derivable from thoughts of God.

Verse 6. Therefore will I remember thee. There are two ways of understanding this; each of them instructive and profitable ...

  1. It may be considered as an expression of determined remembrance of God should he ever be found in such places and conditions. Believers can suppose the worst, and yet hope for the best.
  2. The language may be considered as an expression of encouragement derived from reflection. He had been in these situations and circumstances, and had experienced in them displays of divine providence and grace. W. Jay.

Verse 6. Ebenezers, many, varied, remembered, helpful.