A Study of Psalms 42

Hope Moquin

Let’s talk about Psalms.

I have personally defined David in one word.

Relatable.

In the book of Psalms, many different attributes David holds, but overall he is so human. And that I admire. Through his whole life he demonstrated the true battle of flesh and spirit all while being a clear glass wall to look into. He never held back and he never put on a mask to cover up what he was feeling. David was genuine. David was real. David is relatable.

David knew how to hold tight onto the hand of God. From running from Saul, to falling into sin with Bathsheba, to having nothing but a cave to look to, he remained aware of the sovereignty of God. Despite of his circumstances, he knew in his heart that the Lord was faithful. Despite the circumstances, he always allowed God to lift his head. He wrote all about it. In Psalm 69, David writes how he is weary with his crying out and his throat is parched. He says his eyes grow dim with waiting for his God. And man, if that isn’t pure desperation then I am not quite sure what is.

I read the chapters like those, and I am left astounded with how pitiful my complaints are at times and how I react to life. David is relatable, very much so. Relatable in the sense that he knew what is was like for God to have seemingly forgotten him. Relatable in the sense that he knew what is was like to know truth while walking with God but then to fall into blatant sin. Relatable in the sense that he knew every kind of heartache. Relatable in the sense of knowing what it’s like to hold onto the Lord’s promises without seeing them come to pass in a timely matter. We relate to him, but we don’t understand the extent of his emotions nor his circumstances for they were far worse than what we grasp.

At the end of the chapter, amidst it all he goes on to say he is afflicted in pain, yes. But nonetheless, he will praise the name of God with a song and magnify Him. He declares that everything will praise the name of the Lord, from the Heavens to the Earth. While David is in one of his darkest hours that none of us have ever been into the depth that he was, he turns his eyes towards God and finds hope. Not with any motive that if he speaks out praises then maybe - just maaaybe the Lord will honor him. No, that wasn’t the case. He praised him because in his heart he found truth and in his heart he was one with God.

In chapter 42, David demonstrates the battle between flesh and spirit so beautifully.

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.

6 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, 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.

Three times (three representing what is solid, real, and substantial) David writes "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?" Then directly after he writes, "Hope in God; For I shall again praise him. My salvation and my God." And I adore these passages because it's been so prevalent in my life. David speaks to his soul (which is his mind, will, and emotions) and is asking in desperation "Why are you down cast?" Asking because his heart is for God and his spirit is well, but yet his soul is faint. And this gets me every time I go back to it. When he is asking his soul, essentially he is speaking life to it while regaining sight of what he knows. ”Hope in God; I shall again praise him." Disregarding the chaos he is going through and all that life is throwing at him, he takes heart because he knows who his God is and he is confident that he shall again praise him, in which he does.

David’s reaction to despair was always so human. Making sure he let it out to God what he was feeling never while sugar coating it. Never trying to act as if he had it all together. He was human. But always. Always he turned his heart and his focus back unto the Lord. His reaction to despair always turned to praise. His reaction to despair was regaining remembrance of God’s faithfulness. His reaction to despair was “God this is so hard, but in you I still trust.” If there is anybody I want to learn to exemplify, it’s David.

A man after God’s own heart, a man who never lost sight of the truth of God.

1 I love you, Lord, my strength.

2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.

Psalm 18

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