Psalm 42

Psalm 42


A Psalm written by

the Sons of Korah


They wrote it as though one man is speaking


This is a Psalm of Help

during difficulty


This psalm teaches us:

How to get through difficult times

while staying


to God.

I usually use the KJV

but today I am going to mainly use the NLT.

Click here for our other Psalm pages

Verses 1 - 2a

As the deer longs for streams of water,

    so I long for you, O God.

I thirst for God, the living God.


The song below beautifully draws me

to a place

where I feel the deep desire for God

that the psalmist is expressing in verses 1-2.



The King James Version says


after God.


Psalm 42

gives us a picture


deep intimacy with God.

Verse 2b

 When can I go and stand before him?


Most people feel fear

when they think about

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
he has warm thoughts
of being
in God's visible presence.

This website has lots of resources for gaining that type of intimacy with God. Click here. And scroll down to the topic: Receiving God's Love and Feeling Accepted.

Also consider Psalm 63.


As the Psalm continues

we find out that

the psalmist is in great distress. 

Psalm 42

gives us a picture

of a man

who is experiencing

deep distress.

As we listen to this man's words,

we will learn

how to encourage ourselves

in the Lord.


Verse 3

Day and night I have only tears for food,     

while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,     

“Where is this God of yours?”

In verse 3,

we quickly see

that the psalmist is facing

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

Next, I'll address the words:

While people continually say to me  -

“Where is your God?”

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


I think that they chose those words


they had heard

the psalmist talking

about God's goodness toward him.


The Psalmist's

misery continues day after day.

And to make it worse,

people are taunting him and

making fun of his devotion to God.

In this verse, we see:

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


The Words of Truth.

Which words will YOU focus on during difficult times?

It is vitally important

to focus on God's truth

and to say

"Right things"

to yourself in difficult times.



The psalmist felt loneliness.

Dealing with


God is always with us.

Yet, sometimes as far as humans are concerned, you are the only person you have in your corner.

Sometimes no human is available to stand beside you.

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

As we will see as we continue reading

Psalm 42,

the author is

wrestling / fighting

with the things attacking him

in a

productive / VICTORIOUS way.

The author shows us how to attack problems

in a way

that keeps us

close to God

while moving forward in life

with God.

Verse 4

My heart is breaking   

 as I remember

how it used to be:

I walked among the crowds of worshipers,

    leading a great procession to the house of God,

singing for joy and giving thanks

    amid the sound of a great celebration!


Memories of happy times

when there was joyful singing and celebrating

with others

as they all praised God together.


Memories of easier times.

"I remember"

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

Remembering Good Times

When we have lots of troubles,

it is normal

to think back on happy times and want to

experience that happiness again.

We can

# 1.  Use those happy thoughts about our past - to stir up anger that we aren't in that happy season now.

- or -

# 2.  Use those happy thoughts about our past - to stir up faith about future happy seasons. We can use our faith to encourage us and strengthen us during a "waiting" season.

(Consider our page: Waiting on God )


The psalmist picks response # 2.

So in the next verse,

the psalmist is going to talk to himself

with encouraging words.


Verse 5 - 6a

Why am I discouraged?

    Why is my heart so sad?

I will put my hope in God!

    I will praise him again—

    my Savior and my God!

Even though the psalmist is FEELING down,

he is going to make a wise choice


speak to himself:

Words of Encouragement!

Here the psalmist is showing us


to encourage ourselves in the Lord. 

He is talking to himself

with words of encouragement.

He is making himself

focus on God

and on

his future blessings that will come later

as he continues to follow God.

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.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?

And why have you become restless and disturbed within me?

Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him,

for I shall again praise Him

For the help of His presence.

Psalm 42:5 AMP


The Psalmist is intentionally

Encouraging Himself.


We can see that the psalmist uses

 - wise strategies -

to strengthen himself in the Lord.

The 42nd Psalm

is for those

who need 

the amazing blessings




to encourage



The Bible says:

David encouraged himself in the Lord.

1 Samuel 30:6b

Let's learn more about

HOW to follow

David's wise advice!

Verse 6

Now I am deeply discouraged,


I will remember you —

even from distant Mount Hermon,

the source of the


    from the land of Mount Mizar.

The Psalmist admits he is deeply discouraged


The key word is:


But I will remember YOU, LORD!

I will remember ALL that YOU ARE!

I will remember ALL that


I will remember

my future joys with YOU!

No matter where I am.

No matter what the circumstances.

I will remember YOU!!!



You are my hiding place.

    You protect me from my troubles  


fill me with songs of salvation.


Psalm 32:7 NCV

Psalm 32:7 is a complimentary verse for Psalm 42.

Both Scriptures teach us to

run to God


make him our hiding place

during difficult times.


The video below has two songs in it.

The first song

is about our hiding place.

The second song has taken its inspiration

directly from

Psalm 42.

Verse 7

I hear the tumult of the raging seas 

   as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.

Waves and waves of troubles.

Waves and waves of problems.

The psalmist says,

"Yes, I can hear

the chaos of the raging seas.

I can feel the waves of water

sweeping over me. 


The key word is:



Look for it in verse 8.

Verse 8


each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,   

 and through each night

I sing his songs,

    praying to God who gives me 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.


The psalmist reminds us that

during difficult times

we need

to pray.

And he teaches us to

sing uplifting songs

that praise God

especially when

we are all alone and feeling down.

So in verse 8, the psalmist grabs hold of himself,

forces himself to think godly thoughts,

and intentionally encourages himself.

Dear God,

My heart is fixed on you

and the love you have for me.


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

I will sing and give praise.

Psalm 57:7 KJV

- -

O God,

my heart is fixed;

I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.

Psalm 108:1 KJV


My Heart is Fixed and My Eyes are upon the Lord.

And let us run with perseverance

the race marked out for us,


our eyes on Jesus,

the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 1b-2a NIV


But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;

In You I take refuge.

Psalm 141:8a NKJV

These would be good verses to write down

and later

to read

during difficult times.


Verse 9

“O God my rock,” I cry,

    “Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I wander around in grief,

    oppressed by my enemies?”

We all have days when our feelings
want to
the Bible truths
that we have built our life upon.

The psalmist is saying
that his
are crying out
that God has forgotten him. 

His FEELINGS are pushing him to ask, "Why?"

The Psalmist is crying out,

"Why must I wander around feeling grief and being oppressed by my enemies?"



Why is a natural question that comes to mind.

But in difficult times,
we need to focus on the word
instead of the word Why.

We need to pray -  HOW, God ...

~ ~ ~ How do I get through this God? ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ Teach me HOW God ~ ~ ~ 

The beginning of

verse 9

talks about

God as our Rock.

God is often depicted as





From the end of the earth

will I cry unto thee,

when my heart is overwhelmed:

lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:2 KJV

Lead me to the Rock...

Please consider visiting our inspirational page:

God is our Rock


Verse 10

Their taunts break my bones.

    They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

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



anxiety, depression, rejection, and isolation.

There is an old saying,

"Sticks and Stones will break my bones

but words can never hurt me."

I disagree with that saying. 

There is a newer saying that states,

"Sticks and Stones will break my bones

but words will break my heart."

“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

Question: Where is your God?

My Answer:

He is with me every moment...

wanting me to receive his encouragement.


In Psalm 139,

God tells us where he is


he tells us in a beautiful and comforting way.

Consider visiting our Psalm 139 page.

The mean words people say

can deeply hurt us.

Sometimes it is hard to forgive.

If you are having forgiveness issues, consider our page:

Learning to Forgive

We even have a link on that page for an audio version of that page.

We have other forgiveness pages: Click here

Verse 11

Why am I discouraged?

    Why is my heart so sad?

I will put my hope in God!

    I will praise him again—

    my Savior and my God!

The psalmist is choosing right words

to speak to himself.

The words of verse 11

are given to us  by God  to speak


when we are experiencing great distress.

 - - -

This psalm is designed to help us learn 


to handle adversity.

Here the psalmist again using the strategy of talking to himself with right words.

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!

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


on his Faith in God.

Experiencing the Mountain Top

We all need to experience times of powerful uplifting as we go through difficult times.

Verse 11 is our crescendo up to the mountain top.

It reminds us that we need to pursue the mountain top.

We can learn to elevate ourselves

up to a mountain top

where all our problems are far below us.

We can use such things as

godly songs, and Scripture

(and we can use other encouraging, godly, words)

to lift us up

to a mountain top experience.

We need to head up to the mountain top often when we are experiencing great pain. 


Take note of what Christian songs strongly uplift you and play those when you are feeling down.

Click here for a page with some of my favorites.


Often I yield to God and

experience a mountain top

when I am singing in church.

The praise songs and the worship songs

lift me up far above my problems and difficulties.



Do you just go through the motions when you sing

at church

or do you

really get into

the words?


# 2. Do you really think about the lyrics

and allow yourself to be


by the greatness of God?

Praise the Lord!

Sing to the Lord a new song,

And His praise in the assembly of saints.

Psalm 149:1 NKJV

In the picture above,

see yourself

standing on a mountain top

wearing your Ephesians 6 armor

and experiencing

the thrills

of being with the Lord

on a mountain top!

This is a psalm about


to get through difficult times and stay close to God.

Therefore, this psalm gives us


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


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.


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

But when you have troubles -

praising God can often be seen as

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!


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


the author of Psalm 42 did also...




What Words

are you Speaking today?

Are they words of POWER?


Are they words of Defeat?


I urge you to say this with me:

"I will encourage myself in the Lord!"


Don't just think about what

isn't going right,

but think about



going right.

For example:

The God of the Universe

loves you and is on



Click here for - Music to Feel God's Love

Click here for our other Psalm pages: Here

Jump to the top of Psalm 42

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