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Psalm 42

Jorine Johnson

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,

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 say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember,

as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation 

6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,

from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep

at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.

8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,

and 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 do I go mourning

because of the oppression of the enemy?”

10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,

my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my salvation and my God.
It is incredible to hear the description of the desire that the sons of Korah have for the Lord as they write in this psalm. It says in verse one, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” The desire that we should have for the Lord should be earnest, the way that a deer pants, desires, seeks after the Lord. As a deer cannot live without the streams of water, so our souls cannot live without God. 

The earning and desire for the Lord becomes clear as we read on. They are desperate and in need for the Lord’s deliverance. They are weeping and crying out their pleas before God, day and night in desperation. They seek the Lord, among the tauntings of those that ask, “Where is your God?” Usually the question is asked in a situation of brokenness and desperation where there does not seem to be hope. 

But in their cast down situation, they are reminded of the hope in the Lord which is cause to praise Him. There is such beautiful imagery in this psalm: deep calls to deep, the Lord commands his steadfast love by day, by night his song is over us — “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17). 

What an awesome God that we serve! We are protected by His steadfast and faithful love. No matter where we turn, His provisions, His salvation, and His presence is over us, and that satisfies the deepness of our hearts when we are afflicted and in need. Whether we are being taunted we can rest assured in the hope and salvation we have in Christ. What a mighty privilege we have as believers: That as we pant and desire for God in the deep outcries of our hearts, He is faithful to meet us, fill us, and satisfy our thirsts with Himself. 

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