October 9 - Psalm 42

Thursday, October 9, 2008

October 9 - Psalm 42:1-11

Many of these Psalms reside in my mind as songs. I'm grateful to the many musicians over the centuries who have set these songs to music that grows more and more familiar to me. The beginning phrases of this Psalm echo through my soul as I acknowledge how much I constantly long for the presence of God in my life. As much as He is always present with me, it never seems to be enough.

David was in exile. This is written by one of the Levitical priests that come from the tribe of Korah. Yes, this is the same tribe that was pretty much eliminated in Numbers 16:31-35 for plotting against Moses and Aaron. Those that refused to participate in this soon rose to prominence and during the time of David and Solomon, were pressed into service as temple musicians (I Chron. 6:31) and guardians of the threshold (I Chron. 9:17-19) which led to the presence of the Lord. The priest that wrote Psalm 42 was likely traveling with David.

His longing for the days when he was in Jerusalem is apparent in Psalm 42:4. We read in verse 2 (Psalm 42:2) that he met with God. The terminology used here implies worship and was the time when each Jew was called to worship personally at the temple.

Mount Hermon, in Psalm 42:6 is about 35 miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee. These men are far from Jerusalem.

Trouble seems to keep coming, in what feels like waves sweeping over him (Psalm 34:7). Over and over the waves buffet him, though he is trying to leave his hope in the Lord. This verse tells of something much more amazing, though. Deep calls to deep. No matter what is happening on the surface, God's voice calls out to the depths of our souls.

When a hurricane is raging across the surface of the ocean, the depths of the ocean are not affected. The deepest parts of our souls are connected to the depths of God's grace, mercy, knowledge, love. Those ties cannot be tossed and destroyed by the waves and breakers.

The lament continues in Psalm 42:8-10. Even though God loves and sings to the Psalmist, he remains despondent.

Through all of that, though ... he remembers that the only place to put his hope is in God.

Today ... where is your hope? In your bank account? The stock market (that's not a good idea)? The government? Your family? How about your job and sense of stability? We are reminded that all of these things can quickly fade away. The only safety comes from placing our hope in God.