Psalm 42: My Prayer Unto the God of My Life

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me– A prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8

Thirsting for God

David yearns for God as his enemies taunt him. Although heavily weighed down, he reminds himself to hope in God. He cries out to God for vindication, deeply disturbed at his enemies’ success. David determines to urgently seek God’s presence and finds renewed assurance from God.

Psalm 42 and 43 were probably originally one poem, like Ps. 9 and 10. Apparently a longer psalm was divided into two sections for use in temple worship. As an independent, Ps. 42 is an individual lament with a strong emphasis on trust. The psalm is attributed to the sons of Korah, a musical family in Israel. They descended from the priest who had led an abortive rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron (Num. 16). God’s judgment came upon KOrah and his companions, but Korah’s family continued for hundreds of years to be some of the premier leaders of worship music in Israel.

 

 

42:1-2 pants: The verb “to pant” is usually expressive of a spiritual thirst for God. The poet describes his experience of being cut off from the worshipping community. He feels distant from God’s presence among His people and he longs for intimacy with God. For the believers who lived during OT times, there was only one place where the true worship to the Lord was possible – the temple in Jerusalem. Go with the multitude: The psalmist was consumed with thoughts of the worship of God that he had experienced at the temple in Jerusalem among throngs of joyful believers. Generally the focus of worship in the Book of Psalms is on the community worshipping together.

1  To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

42:6 The land of the Jordan and the heights of Hermon refer to the Promised Land, from which the people were exiled.

O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar 42:6

42:7 Deep calls unto deep This phrase “deep calls unto deep” consists of communication through prayer, from deep within the heart/mind of a man appealing to the deep recesses (a secluded or secret place) of the heart/mind of his God in a time of dire need and possibly suffering at the hands of enemies (waves and billows or tempestuous times):

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. 42:7

⇒  We are distracted by so many desirable things of the world.  But they are like a mirage.  They don’t satisfy my thirst nor sustain my soul.

 


42 1  To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, 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 to me, “Where is your God?” 4  When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. 5  Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

6  O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar. 7  Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. 8  The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me– A prayer to the God of my life. 9  I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10  As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11  Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.