Reading the Word
Psalm 42:1–5 (ESV)
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 and my God.
Understanding and Applying the Word
How do you feel when God feels far away? In the opening verse of Psalm 42 the psalmist compares his desire for God to that of a deer in need of water during a drought. The psalmist’s soul thirsts for God and waits for a time when he may appear before God. As he waits, his tears flow (v. 3) and others mock and ask him, “Where is your God?”
Life can be difficult and it can seem especially difficult when you feel abandoned. In verse 5 we read a refrain that will repeat itself in verse 11 and again in Psalm 43:5. It is the heart of the message of these two psalms. In these verses, we are reminded that we need not be troubled because we can trust in God. He is faithful and will not abandon us. There are better days ahead. In fact, for God’s children, there are days of never ending joy ahead because he has promised to dwell with us forever in a new creation where there is no pain or sorrow or suffering. Let us rejoice in the hope we have in the God of our salvation.
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