Daily D – Psalm 42:5

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Daily D | 0 comments

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Psalm 42:5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

I have done a fair amount of talking to myself recently. Yes, even talking out loud, when no one was around, of course. I don’t want anyone to think I’m crazy or something. 

Why do we make talking to oneself a marker of going off one’s rocker? We talk to ourselves in our thoughts without ceasing. What’s the difference when we speak those thoughts aloud?

Psalm 42 is one of the most beloved psalms of all time. It was even used in the television show, House of Cards. It was the text used at the funeral for Kevin Spacey’s character, the man who manipulated his way into the White House and then found himself on the outside looking in as his wife took charge.

Psalm 42 may be so well loved because of the first verse. 

As the deer pants for streams of water, 
so my soul pants for you, my God.

I cannot read those words without hearing a sweet song wrapped in a lovely voice. This is only because the lyricist read all the way to the end of the psalm and do not stop in the messy middle. Sometimes we have to get to the end of the episode before the pain and problems make sense. 

King David paints a picture we can easily imagine. We can feel the longing, the desire, the unquenchable thirst in an arid land. 

As a deer longs for flowing streams, 
so I long for you, God.

(Christian Standard Bible)

There are some days and some seasons of life, when we are gripped by such a deep longing for God’s truth, light, ‭‭direction, and presence we fairly pant shallow breaths, shaking in our desire to know and experience God in the moment of our deep anxiety.

A white-tailed deer drinks
From the creek;
I want to drink God,
Deep drafts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.

(The Message)

The Sweet Psalmist of Israel paints the picture well. We feel his deep desire, and we share it. 

David descends in the next three verses. He finds himself disoriented. What was once so beautiful and true, affirming and encouraging, has been lost. Can it be regained? His companions, his family and friends ask him, “Where is your God?”

And he wonders. Where is God? This part he says silently to himself. Then, can’t you see and hear him now, as he speaks aloud to reassure himself and to instruct others,

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

(Verse 5)

David then rehearses the geography of his life as his thoughts turn inward again in verses 6 and 7. In the lowest lows, God was there. In the highest heights, God was there. When it felt like he was drowning, swept away forever, God was there. 

This thought stimulates a memory and a resolution. 

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

(Verse 8)

As surely as David’s mother sang him to sleep when he sweated through a fever, so David sang himself to sleep with a prayer of confidence and commitment. As God had been faithful at all times in his life to this point, so would he be faithful at all times from this point. David could sing and rest in peace.

The troubles pushed back by precious memory return to remind David how now was a new test, a new problem. David feels forgotten by God (verse 8). David feels like God has changed his address without a forwarding notice (verse 9). He professes his faith in God to his interlocutors but feels inside like all he had mustered was false bravado. 

Even so, he remembers his Rock. He returns to his Hiding Place. He stands on the firm ground of a lifetime of experiences and memories. 

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

(Verse 11)

Can you hear him talking to himself? Can you hear the direct and determined declaratives punch holes in the dark night of his soul? Can you see the rays of light break through? Can you feel the warm assurance as God’s gentle breeze blows across and around David? Can you see him standing in his mind’s eye on the high place where he delighted in the goodness and grace of our God? 

Can you feel it for yourself? 

Good questions, powerful questions, lead to mindset shifts. David asked himself two good questions twice in this psalm. This led to two powerful declarations of confident assurance. This leads to a bottom line truth as true now as then, as true now as forever. God guides and provides for us. God saves us. God never changes. God never fails. 

Come and drink deep drafts of God’s goodness. No matter how hard life is now, our deepest desires for God will find satisfaction in him and in his perfect timing. 

Memorize David’s questions and declarations in verses 5 and 11. Use them as you talk to yourself. Speak aloud to yourself. Use David’s words to God, which became God’s words to us, as your words to God. Reorient yourself to God’s eternal nature and enduring purpose. 

Come thirsty.

You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.

(Psalm 23:5)

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” 
And let the one who hears say, “Come!”
Let the one who is thirsty come;
And let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

(Revelation 22:17)

I will take my unquenchable thirst to my overflowing God.

Our Father, I thirst for more of you. Others ask, “Where is your God?” I remember all you have done. Pleas do it again. May others see your superabundance at work in my life, and may it overflow into theirs. Amen. 

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