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Weds 29th April - Psalm 42 & 43

Psalm 42 & 43

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and 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.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

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

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

43:1 Vindicate me, my God,
    and plead my cause
    against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
    deceitful and wicked.
You are God my stronghold.
    Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?
Send me your light and your faithful care,
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

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

- - -

In many Hebrew manuscripts these two Psalms are joined as one.
However, in the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation) they are kept as two Psalms.

There is a common thread that runs through both – depression. For that reason we will look at them as one.

Before you exclaim, “Christians don’t get depressed”, remember Elijah. He had just had a mountain-top experience of God (1 Kings 18). Now he’s back at ground level and Jezebel is looking out for him. What do we read in 1 Kings 19? ‘Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.’  ‘He sat down and prayed that he might die.’  “I have had enough, LORD; take my life.”

I speak from personal experience – these two Psalms mean a lot.

There is a hint in 42:6 that the writer is some way from home and some way from his spiritual home. Or maybe he thinks he is – whichever, the reality of his thoughts is the same.

He is struggling in his daily living…’

  • he is dry spiritually as he longs for the living God. This is a long way from the ‘quiet waters’ of Psalm 23:2 and ‘from your river of delights’ in Psalm 36:8
  • he is confused about his relationship with God 42:2b
  • he is mocked by others 42:3b  
  • he asks questions of himself   (3 times, the same questions)
    • “why, my soul, are you downcast?”
    • “why so disturbed within me?”
  • he asks questions of God
    • “why have you forgotten me?”
    • “why have you rejected me?”
    • “why must I go about mourning?”

Whilst he is dry and longing for God’s life-giving, soul-refreshing water, there are tears.  42:3a

  • he is overwhelmed and feels as if he is drowning.  42:7

Is this the reality of your present situation?

Perhaps you are in the same place as the Psalmist – confused, questioning, spiritually dry, overwhelmed.

Perhaps you are asking ‘where is God?’

Be encouraged. Don’t despair. God hasn’t finished with you yet.

Remember those times of refreshment, encouragement and blessing?   42:4‘how I used to go to the house of God’

Hang on in there. There is hope because there is God.

I remember …

  • being under God’s protection   42:4
  • being with Christian friends, singing and praising God   42:4
  • that the LORD loves me   42:8
  • that God hears my prayer   42:8
  • that God is my Rock   42:9
  • that God is my stronghold   43:2
  • that God is my light   43:3
  • that God is faithful in His care   43:3
  • that God is my joy   43:4
  • that God is my delight   43:4

  • I will put my hope in God
  • I will praise Him


  • He is my Saviour
  • He is my God

What a message for today.

‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’  (Romans 15:13)


(The Diocese of Chichester has setup a new free phone-line to provide a listening ear. Click this link for more details)

Daily Readings

Thursday 30th April - Psalm 44

Friday 1st May - Psalm 45

Saturday 2nd May - Psalm 46

Sunday 3rd May - Psalm 47

Monday 4th May - Psalm 48

Tuesday 5th May - Psalm 49


New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.