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Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul? (Psalm 42:1-43:5)

Phillip Stuckey, March 31, 2019
Part of the Exposition of the Psalms series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

Psalm 42 marks the beginning of Book Two in the Psalter (Ps. 42-72). It is very highly probable that Psalm 42 and 43 were at one time a single psalm. They share not only an identical refrain but similar themes. Psalm 43 is also the only psalm in Book Two without a title. This psalm was not written by David, but the sons of Korah, most likely the same Korah who rebelled against Moses and Aaron (Num. 26:11; 16:1-50). Why was the psalmist’s soul downcast? What can we learn from him that will help overcome our own struggles?

Tags: Depression, Faith, Hope, Old Testament, Prayer, Psalms, Repentance, Salvation, Victory

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Psalms 42–43 (Listen)

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

42:1   As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
  My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
  When shall I come and appear before God?
  My tears have been my food
    day and night,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
  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.
  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.
  My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
  from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
  Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
  all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
  By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
  I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
  Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10   As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
11   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.

43:1   Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
    against an ungodly people,
  from the deceitful and unjust man
    deliver me!
  For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
    why have you rejected me?
  Why do I go about mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?
  Send out your light and your truth;
    let them lead me;
  let them bring me to your holy hill
    and to your dwelling!
  Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy,
  and I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.
  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.

(ESV)

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