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Psalm 42 & 43

March 14, 2008

Reading thru Psalms 42 and 43 this week for ABF. I love the opening of the Psalm-set, as the Psalmist paints a great picture of searching/seeking Him. Interesting, I noticed this time that the Psalmist never takes a drink. In fact, the water he is actually exposed to is the non-refreshing or non-relaxing deluge from a water fall and crashing waves over top of his head (42.7). This man was desperate. Here’s what I learned.

What word comes to mind as you read these Psalms?

  • For me, quite frankly, it’s depressed.

Why was the psalmist so depressed?

  • He felt like he couldn’t reach God, that he couldn’t find him. He felt as if he was separated from his God, his rock, his salvation. (42.1-3, 9, 10; 43.2)
  • The oppression he faced was constant (42.3, 7, 10)
  • The people oppressing him were the worst kind. They were the worldly, the ungodly, the unmerciful. (42.9, 10; 43.1)
  • His longing desire was to return to Jerusalem so he could worship on the holy hill (probably Mt. Zion) (42.4; 43.3, 4)

What was his chief prayer request, specifically in 43.3, 4?

  • A change in scenery
  • A change in circumstances
  • A return trip back home
  • The good ol’ days to return

The refrain of these songs is sung 3 times. The placement is no accident. What’s the significance of the placement?

  • 42.4 is a remembrance of what it used to be, the good and fun times
  • 42.10 is the reality that he feels like God is gone. He feels the messy situation is growing more and more out of control.
  • 43.4 is longing, thinking, admitting that it would be so good to return to the city. It would be so good to be out of this situation, and back in the one I was comfortable with, when it was so easy.
  • Every time the refrain is sang, it is in reaction to the desire of a change in circumstances.

What is the point in the refrain? What is the point of these Psalms?

  • Circumstances must not dictate our depression or excitement
  • Our lives are not to be about circumstances
  • Our lives must be lives in the confident hope in God
  • These circumstances, though severe and breath taking at times, are not forever!

Our hope can’t lie in a better job, a better car, a better nose, more money in my account, a spouse. Our hope must be in Him, the hope (expectation) of His love, deliverance, mercy towards us.

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