Psalms 42

Longing for God

1

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

1 As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God?[a]
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, "Where is your God?"
4 I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts.
5 Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.
6 I[b] am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.[c]
8 The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night- a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God, my rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy's oppression?"
10 My adversaries taunt me, as if crushing my bones, while all day long they say to me, "Where is your God?"
11 Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.

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Psalms 42 Commentary

Chapter 42

The conflict in the soul of a believer.

Verses 1-5 The psalmist looked to the Lord as his chief good, and set his heart upon him accordingly; casting anchor thus at first, he rides out the storm. A gracious soul can take little satisfaction in God's courts, if it do not meet with God himself there. Living souls never can take up their rest any where short of a living God. To appear before the Lord is the desire of the upright, as it is the dread of the hypocrite. Nothing is more grievous to a gracious soul, than what is intended to shake its confidence in the Lord. It was not the remembrance of the pleasures of his court that afflicted David; but the remembrance of the free access he formerly had to God's house, and his pleasure in attending there. Those that commune much with their own hearts, will often have to chide them. See the cure of sorrow. When the soul rests on itself, it sinks; if it catches hold on the power and promise of God, the head is kept above the billows. And what is our support under present woes but this, that we shall have comfort in Him. We have great cause to mourn for sin; but being cast down springs from unbelief and a rebellious will; we should therefore strive and pray against it.

Verses 6-11 The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies. David saw troubles coming from God's wrath, and that discouraged him. But if one trouble follow hard after another, if all seem to combine for our ruin, let us remember they are all appointed and overruled by the Lord. David regards the Divine favour as the fountain of all the good he looked for. In the Saviour's name let us hope and pray. One word from him will calm every storm, and turn midnight darkness into the light of noon, the bitterest complaints into joyful praises. Our believing expectation of mercy must quicken our prayers for it. At length, is faith came off conqueror, by encouraging him to trust in the name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his God. He adds, And my God; this thought enabled him to triumph over all his griefs and fears. Let us never think that the God of our life, and the Rock of our salvation, has forgotten us, if we have made his mercy, truth, and power, our refuge. Thus the psalmist strove against his despondency: at last his faith and hope obtained the victory. Let us learn to check all unbelieving doubts and fears. Apply the promise first to ourselves, and then plead it to God.

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Ps 84:7; Ex 23:17
  • [b]. Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr; other Hb mss read Him, the salvation of His presence. Verse 6: My God, I
  • [c]. Jnh 2:3
  • [d]. Ps 18:2; 31:3

Chapter Summary

Psalms 42 Commentaries