Psalms Chapters 42 & 43

Psalms Chapter 42 #Castdown #Hope #Trust #light 

(Unless otherwise stated, all Scriptures in this devotional are from the King James Version of the Bible.)

“It is not our trust that keeps us, but the God in whom we trust who keeps us.” – Oswald Chambers

Context

Theological scholars propose that Psalms 42 and 43 were written as a single poem (Longman 2014, 193). The evidence for this assertion is that the following refrain is repeated in both Psalms. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”

  • Psalm 42:5 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
  • Psalm 42:11 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God,” and
  • Psalm 43:5 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

The second point, to support this argument, is the fact that Psalm 43 does not have a title. It does show up in The Psalter as a separate Psalm.  Scholars cite ancient Manuscripts as indicating that Psalm 42 and 43 were at one time one Psalm.  It has also been argued that the Septuagint separated the psalms. When one looks at a current version of the Masoretic Text [A Hebrew – English Bible: According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition.] For the purpose of this study, we will combine the psalms.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul?

1(To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

This simile of David’s is probably one of the most famous metaphors in the entire psalm. Unless one lives in the country where they have actually seen the deer come out of the word parched and dry, due to the lack of rain, the visualization of the reality of this verse is lost. The expression denotes and connotes a desire that is as strong as life itself. The writer’s desire to know and grow closer to God is like that of quenching one’s thirst. All living things need water!

That is one of the basic things in the life cycle of God’s creation. One cannot be a living, growing child of God without refreshing one’s soul with the watering of His Holy Word. If you have any kind of plants at all, you will know that when you have forgotten to water them for any period of time, they will begin to wilt, especially peace lilies.

But when you do water them, there is a sucking sound in the pot as the soil sucks up the much-needed water and expels the air that has gathered in the pot! Cayce believes that David wrote this psalm and this verse in particular “at a time when he could not just’ leave his home and go to worship in the temple (Cayce 2018, Psalm 42).

Like the dried out plant his 2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Matthew 5:6 The Message (MSG)”“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” That is why individual Bible Study of God’s word is so important. Especially, the New Testament? WHY? That is where living for God becomes more real. Now we learn that even thinking about the sin makes us sinful. Not so in the Old Testament!

3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day.

David felt like Hannah did in 1 Sam. 1:3-8 The Message (MSG)

Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite. {Note the taunting was not occurring at home. It was happening in the sanctuary of God! That is why the pain was so intense for Hannah.] Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”

Now the psalmist laments about the fact that his enemies as asking him “Where is thy God?” They are actually taunting him. David response with “4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day.” 

We will experience pain in this life. Nothing is more intense than when church family members are hateful to each other. This is what David was experiencing. These people were people with whom he had worshipped. My response to this is that it happened then and it will happen again. How we allow it to affect us determines whether or not we realize that we serve a “Warrior King!” We can smile and still love those haters because we are children of The Almighty! Have you ever seen how a hen protects her chicks? That is how God feels about us. This too shall pass. 

God is Your Hope!

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. 6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. 7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

The pity party may be coming to an end. Just look at what David declares! This is David’s “Even if” moment. He declared “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: [Yes it is rough right now. Yes, I am in pain. Yes, my friends have become my enemies. Yes,they are taunting me! But I am a Child of THE KING! So,] Longman brings David’s attitude towards God to our attention by citing Psalm 77:6-8 (ESV) I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?” (Longman 2014, 194). That is a desperate prayer. 

 I shall yet praise him, for the help of his countenance.”  We have hope not just in the fact that when this life is over all of our troubles are over, but we have in this life too. John 10:10 reminds us that “The thief [the enemy] cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

We thought the party was over then oops!Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” He is on a sinking ship. ” I am drowning God. Help me!” Sounds familiar? Well, Peter said it too! 

Matthew 14:29-30 The MSG “He said, “Come ahead.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” Now let’s be real. We are in a boat in the middle of the sea! Jesus beckons to us to join Him because we kind of asked him if we could. We are walking on water! We realize that we are walking on water and reality kicks in! 

Let me be truthful here.  I don’t even like being in a boat on the water. This chap is accepting an invitation to “walk on” water! He is brave, and then he realizes that he is just like “Joyce.” I don’t do water anything – except my plants, water therapy, and shower!  Christ rescued him from himself. He will rescue us too! Just read this verse in Matthew 10:29-31 MSG “What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. 29-31“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. 29-31“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” God always has, and will still take care of His children. We just have to – WAIT ON HIM TO ACT!

  • 8Yet the LORD will command his loving kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

When we lift up our hands in worship and praise God, we are more aware of His excellence. He is great, and all is well! Then we leave the church and go back to life, and all of a sudden the enemy gives us a reality check, and we go back to “9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?” We have a relentless persecutor! Can sit back and ask why is David like this?

When was the last time that life kicked you in the teeth multiple times in a row and you just wanted to crawl under the bed? That is how he feels! Then, I am sure that he reads Scripture and it reminds him that he should be asking himself a question. “11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

 

Psalms Chapter 43

1Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

David is using legalese in this verse because he wants God to assess him as the King of Israel and as his “judge” and his “attorney” to deliver him from his accusers

  1. God the Judge: Judges 11:27; 1 Sam. 24:12; Psalms 7:8; 26:1),
  2. God the Defense Attorney Psalms 119:154; Prov. 22:23; 23:11; Jer. 50:34; Lam. 3:58) (Cayce 2018, Psalms 43).

“Against an ungodly nation” indicates any nation that was ungodly and who were siding with David’s enemies at the time. Many people in the nation of Israel took Absalom’ side when he launched his coup against David.

David does not mind God judging him, because he knows his heart is right with God. David is like many of us. He knows that he would not be judged fairly by these unjust men. David is asking God to show these ungodly men that God is on David’s side.

Longman agrees with Cayce and declares 

It is a call for vindication that assumes an accusation, perhaps a formal legal one, since legal language is used here ( vindicate [ šāpā ṭ ] and plead my cause [ rîbâ rîbî ]). This charge is coming from an unfaithful nation. The term ‘unfaithful’ is the negative of a cognate ( lô’ḥ āsîd ) to the word translated ‘love’ in verse 8. God shows love (loyalty or covenant faithfulness; ḥ esed ), but the people of the nation do not show that same love or faithfulness to the psalmist. The fact that a nation is not showing love/ faith towards the psalmist does make one wonder whether the Sons of Korah (see title) are composing this hymn on behalf of the king (p. 196).  

  • For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
  • O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
  • Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
  • Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. [He repeats the refrain to make sure that “his soul” understands that it should not be cast down because he/David puts his trust in God.]

In Psalms 42 David questioned God. However, in Psalm 43, we see him calling on God to rescue him from his emotional, psychological, and physical turmoil that he is experiencing at the hands of his persecutors. As Christians, we must remember that persecution will come. It is the one thing that we are guaranteed.

  • John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” Now, look at Eccles 9:11.

David is asking God to “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. He wants to go to the tent of dwelling and meet with and talk to God. He needs his light to light his way. See Psalms 78:14, 53, 72; 107:30 MSG 

As God sends His light to light David’s path along this trail of emotional darkness, David is thinking when I get to the tabernacle “4Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.”

When Christians read this psalm, they comprehend that they have a sweet relationship with God through the blood of Jesus. Because of His blood, we can go directly to the throne of grace and plead or cause. We don’t have to go to any man or thing to do that. Old Testament saints did not have that opportunity. They had to go to the tabernacle/temple. Glory to God we can talk to Him anywhere, anytime, any place and anyhow! We are not bound by space, time, or praying positions. We don’t have to mouth words that everyone else says

The Holy Spirit lives inside of us that is our internet connection to God. That is or DSL so to speak. No dial-up internet is needed to access the throne of God. No waiting for the phone to connect. It connects instantly! His altar is never closed! Christians are told by the Bible that they are the temple of God.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

When we gather together as a body of believers we are also the essence of the temple of God (See 1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.”) Even though we are the temple of God we still long for him like David. “1(To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” WHY? We are in spiritual warfare every day. We are in a race and as Ecclesiastes 9:11 (KJV) said “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” So we press on and drink of that living water that Christ offered the Samaritan woman. See John 4 MSG. My friends, we are not without hope. We just need to let go of our “I can fix it, or our “I want to know how to fix it” attitudes. We cannot fix a single thing. Only God can. We don’t have to have an answer for every problem only God does. Wait and walk in His presence and then our souls won’t be saying “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” [He repeats the refrain to make sure that “his soul” understands that it should not be cast down because he/David puts his trust in God.] 

David is learning to let it God and allow God to move this mountain for him. That is why he keeps asking this question? I have posted this song on this ministry’s page, or at least on Facebook, several times. But I am going to post it again. When I was a worship leader’ we sang it because it was where we were as a church. 

https://youtu.be/qv-SXz_exKE

References

Cayce, Ken. 2017. “Books of the Bible.”  http://www.bible-studys.org/About%20Me.html. Accessed October 140, 2018

Longman, Tremper, III. 2014. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. Accessed October 14, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central.

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