Psalm 42


Psalm 42 


A Psalm written by

the Sons of Korah


The 42nd Psalm

is for those

who need 

the amazing blessings

of

learning

How

to encourage

themselves.






Psalm 42

gives us a picture

of a man

who has deep intimacy with God.


This man is experiencing

deep distress.


As we listen to this man's words,

we learn

how to encourage ourselves

in the Lord.


Take note:

I am going to speak as though the human author was singular.

I have chosen the HCSB tranlation of Psalm 42.


Verses 1-2


As a deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for You, God.


I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I come and appear before God?



The author of Psalm 42 is saying to God,

"I long for you. I yearn for you. I want to be close to you."


The human author

of this psalm

has a very intimate relationship

with God.


There are many clues to that fact in this psalm.


We see his openness and his transparency before God.

We see his deep desire to be close to God.


Take note of his words,

"When can I come and appear before God?"


Most people are afraid of the thought of appearing before God.

This author is not afraid, but instead has thoughts of comfort, security, love, and acceptance.

This author has an intimate relationship with God so he has warm thoughts of being in God's presence.


Below is a

Beautiful song

based on the first two verses of

Psalm 42.




Verse 3


My tears have been my food day and night,

while all day long people say to me,

“Where is your God?”


In verse 3,

we quickly see

that the psalmist is facing

difficulty, sadness, depression, rejection, loneliness....etc.


Next, I'll address the words:



While all day long people say to me,

“Where is your God?”


Why were the people saying, "Where is your God?"




I think that they chose those words

because

they had heard

the psalmist talking

about God's goodness toward him.

-

In this verse we see that

the "mean" people

were using the psalmist's words against him.



This psalm is about:


How to get through difficult times

while staying

close

to God.



We all are tempted to be drawn away from God.


Verse 4


I remember this as I pour out my heart:

how I walked with many,

leading the festive procession to the house of God,

with joyful and thankful shouts.



"I remember"

In this psalm, the psalmist uses

 - wise strategies -

to strengthen himself in the Lord.


In this verse, the psalmist is remembering the previous blessings of the Lord.

He is remembering happy times celebrating God and being at the head of the parade singing and joyful.

This parade led to Jerusalem. The author is apparently speaking of one of the three times each year when all adult males have to go to Jerusalem to celebrate a feast.


Out of the 7 major feasts of the Jews,

three of them included required attendance of all adult men.


Three feasts -

Passover (Easter Time)

Pentecost (Late May or June)

Tabernacles (October)

Remembering

When we have lots of troubles, it is normal to think back on happy times and want to experience happiness again.

We can

# 1.  Use those happy thoughts to stir up anger that we aren't happy now.

- or -

# 2.  Use our faith to encourage us and strengthen us that we will have happy times in the future. AND use our faith to help us during the "waiting" season.


 

The psalmist picks response # 2.


So in the next verse,

the psalmist is going to talk to himself

with encouraging words.


Verse 5


Why am I so depressed?

Why this turmoil within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,

my Savior and my God.


Even though the psalmist is FEELING depression,

he is going to make a wise choice

and

speak to himself:

Words of Encouragement!




Let's look at the phrase:

Put your hope in God


The Hebrew word translated "hope in God" can also be translated "wait on God."

Some English translations say, "Wait on God."

As you can read below, the Amplified version writes both when it translates this into English:


Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him.




So this phrase has the idea of intentionally uplifting our mind and emotions by stirring up hope in God. It also has the idea of learning to wait on God in a manner that will please God by showing faith in God.


We will see this phrase used again in the last verse.


Verse 6


I am deeply depressed;

therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan

and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.



The psalmist says, "I am deeply depressed" then he turns to his spiritual strategy - I will remember. . .

I will remember happy times with God in beautiful surroundings.

Faith says:

Those times will come again!


Verse 7


Deep calls to deep

in the roar of  Your waterfalls;

all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.



More feelings of depression sweep over him.

More troubles - and thoughts of troubles - crash into him.



Waves and waves of troubles.

Waves and waves of problems.


Then in verse 8, the psalmist grabs hold of himself and intentionally encourages himself.


Verse 8


The Lord will send His faithful love by day;

His song will be with me in the night—

a prayer to the God of my life.



While feeling depressed

- while feeling forgotten -

the psalmist chooses to put on the Belt of Truth

- meaning -

he speaks TRUTH to himself.




The truth is that -

God is faithfully watching over me.



Spiritual Warfare Strategy

The psalmist's response

is a type of strategy

that we can use

when we experience

waves and waves of troubles coming at us -

combined with

waves and waves of upsetting emotions hitting us.


Verse 9


I will say to God, my rock,

“Why have You forgotten me?

Why must I go about in sorrow

because of the enemy’s oppression?”



The psalmist feels comfortable

talking to God about his greatest pains.


 I'm going to deal with each part of verse 9.



 I will say to God, my rock,

“Why have You forgotten me?


The psalmist knows God as his rock. God has been a steady, strong rock of security to him in his past.


Yet right now

the psalmist FEELS like God has forgotten him.


Why must I go about in sorrow

because of the enemy’s oppression?”


"Why God?"

That is a natural question that we ask during great difficulty.




Verse 10


10 My adversaries taunt me,

as if crushing my bones,

while all day long they say to me,

“Where is your God?”



In verse 10, the psalmist is AGAIN describing FEELINGS.


When he is taunted, it FEELS like they are crushing his bones.


His adversaries are taunting him

and

he FEELS

anxiety, depression, rejection, and isolation.


“Where is your God?”


Those mean words have grabbed his attention and caused him pain. 

But in the next verse we see that he is going to intentionally turn his focus to God, and he is going to challenge those stinging words.


Key Strategy:

Don't let wrong thoughts go unchallenged.

Speak Right Words to Yourself




Verse 11



11 Why am I so depressed?

Why this turmoil within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,

my Savior and my God.


Here the psalmist is using a strategy of talking to himself. 

He is using the strategy of challenging his feeling and thoughts that don't line up with the truth of God.

He again chooses to strengthen and encourage himself.


Essentially he is saying,

"Why am I focused on unpleasant feelings

and giving in to those feelings?

The fact is..."


For example:


The fact is that God is on my side!


Here this is teaching us:


Don't just think about what isn't going right,

but think about

what is

going right.

For example:

The God of the Universe

loves you and is

watching out for you!


So, when the psalmist says, "Put your hope in God" he is making a determination to...

Focus on his Faith in God.




This is a psalm about

HOW

to get through difficult times and stay close to God.

Therefore, this psalm gives us

strategies

to help us be

Champions for Christ.


This psalm teaches us NOT to focus on:


Our feelings

Our circumstances

Our thoughts that are not based on God's truth

Words of others that are not based on God's truth


Instead

Focus on our Loving God and his Scriptures


Focus on

God's Love, God's Goodness

God's Power, God's Miracles

And the

Amazing Wonders of His Word


In verse 11,

the psalmist is determined to praise God.


Praise


When things are going well - it is easy for a person who loves God to praise God.

But when you have troubles - and when you are close (intimate) with God - praising God can be a SACRIFICE of Praise.

There is a song we used to sing at church, "We bring a sacrifice of praise unto the house of the Lord."


Some Sundays I truly understood what a "sacrifice" of praise meant!


Words



The author of Psalm 42

turns his focus to

Right WORDS.


Words can create emotions.

The Bible records for us that David knew how to use words to encourage himself in the Lord. We see the evidence of that in many of the psalms he wrote.

And in 1 Samuel, the Bible clearly spells that out:


David encouraged himself in the Lord.

1 Samuel 30:6b


David encouraged himself in the Lord

and

the author of Psalm 42 did also...


As you can see, God sprinkles into the Bible

the idea of

learning how to

Encourage yourself in the Lord.


Encouraging Yourself in the Lord:

This strategy isn't going to be as effective if you are not intimate with God.

In difficult times,

Will you focus on your FEELINGS

or

will you focus on God's truth?

In Psalm 42, we see:

The Words of Mean People + the Words (in his mind) of discouragement

vs.

The Words of Truth.


Which words will YOU focus on during difficult times?



Spiritual Strategies using Words:

Remind Yourself

Encourage Yourself

Speak to Yourself

And Read God's Word and Speak out God's Word!


There is POWER in God's Word.


Loneliness

Sometimes as far as people are concerned, you are the only person you have in your corner.

Sometimes nobody is available to stand beside you.

So you and I need to learn to be STRONG in the Lord!

In Psalm 42, we see the author wrestling / fighting with the things attacking him in a productive / VICTORIOUS way.

The author was attacking his problems in a way that was keeping him close to God while moving forward with God.


It is vitally important

to say

"Right things"

to yourself in difficult times.



What Words

are you Speaking today?


Are they words of Faith & POWER?

Or

Are they words of Defeat?


~


I urge you to say this with me:

"I will encourage myself in the Lord!"




My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed:

I will sing and give praise.

Psalm 57:7 KJV


More Spiritual Strategies


I have many strategies to help me on down days.

In this section, I list some strategies that haven't been covered so far on this page.

These strategies help me deal with unwanted waves of emotions. They help me lasso and reject unwanted thoughts.


The Strategy of  Putting on the Full Armor of God regularly:

Power Surge Power Prayer

The Stay Amazed strategy.


The Power Words strategy.


Last Thought


Do I often find myself

Too busy for God?



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