Psalms 42

1 As the hart pants after the water brooks, so does my soul pant after thee, 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 unto me, Where is thy God?
4 I will remember these things; I will pour out my soul in me. When I shall be included in the number; I will go with them to the house of God with voice of joy and praise, dancing in the multitude.
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted against me? Wait thou for God, for I shall yet praise him for the wellbeing of his presence.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the mountain of Mizar.
7 Deep calls unto deep at the voice of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
8 Yet the LORD will command his mercy in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
9 I will say unto God, My rock, why hast thou forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10 It is as death in my bones when my enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Wait thou for God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the saving health of my countenance 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.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 42 Commentaries