Psalms 42

1 To the Overseer. -- An Instruction. By sons of Korah. As a hart doth pant for streams of water, So my soul panteth toward Thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsted for God, for the living God, When do I enter and see the face of God?
3 My tear hath been to me bread day and night, In their saying unto me all the day, `Where [is] thy God?'
4 These I remember, and pour out my soul in me, For I pass over into the booth, I go softly with them unto the house of God, With the voice of singing and confession, The multitude keeping feast!
5 What! bowest thou thyself, O my soul? Yea, art thou troubled within me? Wait for God, for still I confess Him: The salvation of my countenance -- My God!
6 In me doth my soul bow itself, Therefore I remember Thee from the land of Jordan, And of the Hermons, from the hill Mizar.
7 Deep unto deep is calling At the noise of Thy water-spouts, All Thy breakers and Thy billows passed over me.
8 By day Jehovah commandeth His kindness, And by night a song [is] with me, A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my rock, `Why hast Thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning in the oppression of an enemy?
10 With a sword in my bones Have mine adversaries reproached me, In their saying unto me all the day, `Where [is] thy God?'
11 What! bowest thou thyself, O my soul? And what! art thou troubled within me? Wait for God, for still I confess Him, The salvation 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