Thought for the day – Psalm 42


Psalm 42

1 For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and 6 My God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.


Psalm 42
Hope for the downcast soul

(Verses 1-4) Picture a deer panting hard for water after running fast. The psalmist says his soul thirsts like that for fellowship with his living God. Only our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the ‘living God’. All other ‘gods’ are idols, products of human imagination or ambition, or from a false religion. ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ said Jesus (John 14:6). He died on the cross as the only way that our sins and punishment for them could be borne for us. He rose again from death, as the only living Saviour. He lives today! The Bible says, ‘because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood’ and that is why He can ‘save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.’ (Hebrews 7:25-26). The psalmist’s thirst is worsened because he cannot worship God with others and have fellowship with them. He remembers sharing past joy and thanksgiving. He weeps as mockers taunt him with, ‘Where is your God?’ All who trust Christ should worship, pray and thank God together each Lord’s Day (Sunday) and in the week too, and daily pray and read the Bible personally. Such a real spiritual thirst is evidence of being saved, shown in a real desire to know God better. It shows a ‘born-again’ character.

(Verses 5-7) The psalmist asks his soul again why it is downcast and disturbed. He feels submerged in sadness. He answers that question both here and in verse 11.

(Verse 8) He reminds himself of God’s love by day and night. Despite feeling low, he sings to God as his prayer to God. Words of hymns can often lead us to pray to God.

(Verses 9-10) He goes into more details about enemies who taunt him and try to ridicule him all day long. Again, they mock him as they ask, ‘Where is your God?’

(Verse 11) Verse 5’s question is given the same answer. Put all your hope in God as your personal Saviour and you will praise Him as your God forever. Only one thing can separate you from God and Heaven – unconfessed sin. Repent, trust and hope in Christ crucified and risen again and the sin barrier is removed. Eternal life is yours.