- my God : Ps 22:1 43:4 88:1-3 Mt 26:39 27:46
- therefore: Ps 77:6-11 Jon 2:7
- from the: Ps 61:2 2Sa 17:22,27
- Hermon: Deut 3:8,9 4:47,48
- Mount Mizar: or, the little hill, Ps 133:3)
KJV Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
NET Psalm 42:6 I am depressed, so I will pray to you while I am trapped here in the region of the upper Jordan, from Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
BBE Psalm 42:6 My soul is crushed down in me, so I will keep you in mind; from the land of Jordan and of the Hermons, from the hill Mizar.
BHT Psalm 42:7 ´élöhay `älay napšî tišôäh `al-kën ´ezkorkä më´eºres yardën wehermônîm mëhar mic`är
CSB Psalm 42:6 I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
ESV Psalm 42:6 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.
GWN Psalm 42:6 My soul is discouraged. That is why I will remember you in the land of Jordan, on the peaks of Hermon, on Mount Mizar.
NAB Psalm 42:6 Why are you downcast, my soul; why do you groan within me? Wait for God, whom I shall praise again, my savior and my God. 7 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you From the land of the Jordan and Hermon, from the land of Mount Mizar.
NAS Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember Thee from the land of the Jordan, And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
NIV Psalm 42:6 my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon-- from Mount Mizar.
NKJ Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar.
NLT Psalm 42:6 my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you-- even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.
YLT Psalm 42:5 What! bowest thou thyself, O my soul? Yea, art thou troubled within me? Wait for God, for still I confess Him: The salvation of my countenance -- My God! 6 In me doth my soul bow itself, Therefore I remember
MY SOUL IS IN DESPAIR
Here is the English of the Septuagint
O my God, my soul has been troubled (tarasso - shaken or stirred up, troubled, agitated, distressed, acute mental/spiritual agitation) within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the little hill.
William MacDonald writes - The depression recurs in cycles. But faith strikes back with the confident assertion that it will remember God from the land of the Jordan and of Hermon and from the Hill Mizar. Perhaps these three places symbolize three spiritual experiences; we do not know. What does seem clear is that they represent the land of exile, far removed from the house of God in Jerusalem. And the thought seems to be that even when we cannot visit the house of God, we can still remember the God of the house!
My God - Not "O God," but "My God!" Although in despair, he has not jettisoned his relationship with the Almighty. God is still his high "Prize" and he acknowledges this truth, but clearly his faith is "under assault." As Spurgeon said "You cannot praise another man’s God. Possession is not only nine points of the law, but it is all the points of the Gospel."
Despair (07817) (shachach/sahah) means literally to be brought low and figuratively to be humbled, to have one's arrogance brought down (Is 2:9, 11, 17, 5:15), to be in despair (Ps 42:5, 6, 11, 43:5) In some contexts it means to bow down in the sense of doing obeisance before someone (Isa 60:14 Pr 14:19). It can mean to bow in sense of to walk in a stooped posture, for example describing one who is dejected as in a period of mourning (Ps 35:14 Ps 38:6 or to crouch - Job 38:40). Physically (literally) bringing a wall down (Isa 25:12, crumbling a mountain Hab 3:6).
Note that the Greek word used to translate despair (shachach) is tarasso which is a strong word, meaning “to deeply upset,” “to deeply disturb,” “to perplex,” or “to create fear.” Most of the NT uses of tarasso describe the state of one's mind as stirred up, agitated or experiencing inward commotion. The passive voice is always used in the NT with a negative meaning, conveying the sense of emotional disturbance or inner turmoil, so that one is unsettled, thrown into confusion, or disturbed by various emotions, including excitement, perplexity, fear or trepidation. John records that even Jesus experienced this emotion - "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled." (John 11:33) And again "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour '? But for this purpose I came to this hour." (John 12:27) And again "When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me."" (John 13:21). The OT antidote for despair is to preach a sermon of hope to your soul. In John 14:1 Jesus gave His disciples instructions on how to fight despair declaring "Do not let your heart be troubled (present imperative with a negative); believe (present tense or present imperative) in God, believe (present tense or present imperative) also in Me." and again ""Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled (present imperative with a negative), nor let it be fearful (present imperative with a negative)." (John 14:27) Notice the repetition of the present imperatives (positive and negative) which are commands calling for this attitude to be one's habitual practice or lifestyle. How is this possible? While it is impossible, it is "Him possible!" In other words the only way to obey Jesus' commands is by continually (daily) surrendering to the enabling power of the Holy Spirit Who indwells us and gives us both the desire and the power to obey! (See Php 2:13NLT-note) Notice that in John 14:1 Jesus' "antidote" for a troubled mind is to continually believe in God and in Him, again, something we must choose to do (100% our responsibility), but can only accomplish with the Spirit's enabling power (100% God's sovereign provision). In John 14:27 Jesus' "antidote" for a troubled mind is His gift of supernatural, inner peace, peace independent of one's circumstances. It follows that when our mind is troubled we need to do what Jeremiah did (see notes below on Lamentations) when he was feeling hopeless - "This I recall to my mind." (Lam 3:21). What is "this"? The truth about God (e.g., Lam 3:22,23) and in the present context the truth that Jesus has given us His peace! This is not "mind over matter," but it is choosing (enabled by the Spirit) to set one's mind on the truth about God (cp discussion of "Vertical Vision" below).
The etymology of the English word "despair" is enlightening - Despair - early 14 century, from stem of Old French desperer "be dismayed, lose hope, despair," from Latin desperare "to despair, to lose all hope," from de- "without" (see de-) + sperare "to hope," from spes "hope" (see sperate). Notice that the literally (etymological) rendering of "despair" is "no hope!" It is a a state of depressed mood and hopelessness. The Cambridge Dictionary says despair is "the feeling that there is no hope and that you can do nothing to improve a difficult or worrying situation."
When our lives are heavy laden,
Cold and bleak as winter long,
Stir the embers in our hearts, Lord;
Make Your flame burn bright and strong.
Spurgeon writes - O my God, my soul is cast down within me. Perhaps the spasm of despondency returned. With God the song begins the second time more nearly than the first. The singer was also a little more tranquil. Outward expression of desire was gone; there was no visible panting; the sorrow was now all restrained within doors. Within or upon himself he was cast down; it may well be so while our thoughts look more within than upward. If self were to furnish comfort, we should have but poor provender. There is no solid foundation for comfort in such fickle frames as our heart is subject to. It is well to tell the Lord how we feel, and the more plain the confession the better. Therefore will I remember thee. Blessed downcasting which drives us to so sure a rock of refuge as thee, O Lord! From the hill Mizar. He recalls his seasons of choice communion by the river and among the hills, and especially that dearest hour upon the little hill where love spoke her sweetest language and revealed her nearest fellowship. It is great wisdom to store up in memory our choice occasions of converse with heaven; we may want them another day, when the Lord is slow in bringing back his banished ones, and our soul is aching with fear. Or does David mean that even where he was he would think of his God; does he declare that, forgetful of time and place, he would count Hermon as holy as Zion, and even Mizar, that insignificant rising ground, as glorious as the mountains which are round about Jerusalem!"
Therefore - Always be alert to this term of conclusion asking what it is it "there for?" Some uses will be very obvious as in the present passage, but other uses will not be so obvious and will force you to re-read the preceding context to determine what the writer is concluding. In this case, the psalmist concludes that his inner feeling of hopelessness calls for immediate action. His "antidote" for those "horizontal" thoughts ("horizontal vision") that drag him down is to inject "vertical" thoughts ("vertical vision"). In other words, instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the Problem Solver. Instead of looking horizontally (in a sense at what one sees on an earthly plane), make the choice to set the eyes of your heart vertically, looking at heavenly things. The first is temporal and passing, while the second is eternal and forever.
When you come to that place in your life where you discover that Jesus is all that you have, you then discover that Jesus is all that you need!
I remember Thee - This is an act of faith, for faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The psalmist cannot literally "see" God, but in choosing to "remember Thee" he is choosing by faith to "see" God. As Paul said now in these mortal, temporal bodies, "we walk by faith, not by sight." Indeed, earlier Paul had written "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen ("horizontal vision"), but at the things which are not seen ("vertical vision"); for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18-note)
I remember Thee - This is one key to battling recurring despair, despondency or depression. What does the psalmist remember about God? He does not specifically say in this verse but read the following lines (especially Psalm 42:8). The what is not as important as the Who! When we set our minds on the things above ("Vertical Vision" - Col 3:2-note cp Col 3:1-note), the things of this world (including despair) "will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." (Pause and sing "Turn Your Eyes on Jesus") Peter says it this way "Therefore, gird (prepare) your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope (aorist imperative) completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ ("Vertical Vision"). (1 Peter 1:13-note) So say to your soul, "Soul, remember God. Remember His attributes. Remember His power. Remember His imminent return! Remember that your Jesus Who holds the entire universe together by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3-note) is able to hold you in the midst of the raging storm! Jesus came to turn our darkness into light and to transform our despair into hope. Indeed, the One Who holds the universe intact will never lose His grip on you!
Recommended Resource for Restoring Your "Vertical Vision" - Fix Your Eyes on Jesus by Anne Ortlund
We see this same spiritual dynamic at work in the life of the "weeping prophet" Jeremiah who recorded...
So I say, "My strength has perished, And so has my hope from the LORD."
19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
20 Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22 The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.(Lam 3:18-25)
Notice how Jeremiah recalled to his mind truths about God, specifically His ceaseless lovingkindnesses (plural - cp the psalmist's remembrance of Jehovah's lovingkindness in Ps 42:8) and His never failing compassions (plural!) And so in this short passage we see the prophet traverse from the slough of despond ("my hope" perished ~ "horizontal vision") to the fountain of hope ("therefore I have hope" ~ "vertical vision") because he choose to remember God. He choose to recall that the anchor of God’s faithfulness holds firm in the strongest storms! When you are in despair the last place you want to go is to the Word of God (and the God of the Word), but it is then that we must cry out for His help in time of need (just in the nick of time, cp Heb 4:16-note = "appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it" - Amplified), knowing that even the power to cry out is provided by His all powerful Spirit Who will not allow us to be tested beyond what we are able to endure (read 1 Corinthians 10:13-note).
So next time despair "knocks", enabled by the Holy Spirit, send Philippians 4:8-9 to "answer the door"....
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell (present imperative - only possible to obey as we surrender to and depend on the indwelling Spirit) on these things ("Vertical Vision"). The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice (present imperative) these things; and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9-note)
C. S. Lewis and his older brother, Warren (Warnie), endured several terms at Wynyard, an English boarding school for boys. The headmaster was a cruel man who made life unbearable for everyone there. Decades later, Warnie wrote in his understated dry wit, “I am now sixty-four and a bit, and have never yet been in a situation in which I have not had the consolation of reflecting that at any rate I was better off than I was at Wynyard.” Most of us can recall a similar dark and difficult time in our lives and be grateful that we’re better off now than we were then (Ed: cp "Therefore I remember Thee"). (The Low Point)
Phil Newton - Charles H. Spurgeon, the best-known preacher of the 19th century, faced times of melancholy despair. On one such occasion he was taking a holiday and slipped into a Methodist Church for Sunday worship. He said, "I felt at that time very weary, and very sad, and very heavy at heart; and I began to doubt in my own mind whether I really enjoyed the things which I preached to others. It seemed to be a dreadful thing for me to be only a waiter, and not a guest, at the gospel feast." The man conducting the service was an engineer, and rather than developing his own sermon, he had borrowed one of Spurgeon's. He did not know that the London pastor was in his service. As he preached, Spurgeon commented, "The tears flowed freely from my eyes; I was moved to the deepest emotion by every sentence of the sermon, and I felt all my difficulty removed, for the gospel, I saw, was very dear to me, and had a wonderful effect upon my own heart." He later introduced himself to the shocked speaker, and told him that it was just the sermon that he needed to hear [C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography: The Full Years, vol 2, 365-366]. If someone like Spurgeon occasionally struggled with doubts due to his bent of personality, do not be surprised if that happens to you. Like Spurgeon, find your assurance once again in the gospel. (Sermon on Matthew)
WATCHING AND WAITING (Scriptures that speak of "Vertical Vision") - This thought would give me hope, and through my struggle I would eagerly wait until my change comes. I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. And so my soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. So I will wait for the LORD Who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will even look eagerly for Him. I will watch expectantly for the LORD. I will wait for the God of my salvation, waiting expectantly for God's Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who delivers us from the wrath to come. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait (in great anticipation and patience) for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. For we through (the enabling power of) the Spirit, by faith, are waiting eagerly for the hope (absolute certainty) of righteousness, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (Who promised) "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." Maranatha. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. (Job 14:14, 19:26, 27, Ps 130:6, Titus 2:13-14, Isaiah 8:17, Micah 7:7, 1 Th 1:10, Phil 3:19-20, 1 Cor 15:51-52, 1 John 3:2, Gal 5:5, 1 Cor 1:7, Rev 22:12, 1 Cor 16:22-24)
Vertical versus Horizontal Vision - Years ago, a minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him in front of the service station. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. “Reverend,” said the young man, “sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip.” The minister chuckled, “I know what you mean. It’s the same in my business.” If ours is an eternal perspective, we will gripped by the biblical truth that our brief earthly sojourn is designed to prepare us for an eternal heavenly citizenship. The more we align ourselves with this perspective, the more it will have an impact on our short-term and long-term priorities. (Kenneth Boa)
Abram's Bad Example of Horizontal Vision - Genesis 12:10-20-note gives us an example from Abram's life of choosing "Horizontal Vision" over "Vertical Vision." As Warren Wiersbe says Abram "moved from confidence to fear. When you are in the place of God’s choosing, you don’t ever need to be afraid; for faith and fear cannot dwell in the same heart (Isa. 12:2; Mark 4:40). The fear of God is the fear that conquers every fear (Ps. 112; Isa. 8:13); but “the fear of man brings a snare” (Prov. 29:25, NKJV). God had repeatedly said “I will” to Abraham, but now Abraham was saying “They will” (Gen. 12:12, italics added). He took his eyes off the Lord and started looking at people." Abram reasoned within himself, rather than praying outside himself. He feared for his life and forgot his right fear of God. He reasoned that Pharaoh would see Sarai's beauty, covet her and kill him to fulfill his lusts. He forgot that God had given him a promise to bless the world through a seed (descendant) from his and Sarai's line, something that could not have occurred if he were killed! In short, he looked at the (possible) problem instead of looking at his Protector!
Charles Swindoll - Our past is like an art gallery. Walking down those corridors of our memory is like walking through an art gallery. On the walls are all of yesterday’s pictures: our home, our childhood, our parents, our rearing, the heartaches, the difficulties, the joys and triumphs as well as the abuses and the inequities of our life. Since Jesus Christ our Lord is the same yesterday and today and forever, then we can take the Christ of today and walk with Him into our yesterday and ask Him to remove the pictures that bring bad or defeating memories. In other words, the Christian can let Jesus invade yesterday and deal with those years of affliction—those years which the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25–26)—and remove those scenes from the corridors of our lives. I have them. You have them. We need to let Him leave the murals that bring pleasure and victory and take down from the walls those things that bring despair and defeat. (David: A Man of Passion and Destiny)
Here is a devotional from Dennis Fisher that emphasizes the value of "Vertical Vision" over "Horizontal Vision" -
Perspective From The Clouds (Read: Job 3:3-5; 42:5-6) "I have heard of You . . . but now my eye sees You." (Job 42:5) In 1927 the silent film Wings, a World War I film about two American aviators, won the first Academy Award for Best Picture. When it was being filmed, production stopped for several days. Frustrated producers asked the director why. He responded: “All we have is blue sky. The conflict in the air will not be as visible without clouds. Clouds bring perspective.” He was right. Only by seeing aerial combat with clouds as a backdrop could the viewer see what was really going on. We often wish for blue skies instead of storm clouds. But cloudy skies may reveal God’s faithfulness. We gain perspective on how God has been faithful in our trials as we look back on the clouds. At the beginning of his terrible suffering, Job lamented: “May the day perish on which I was born . . . . May a cloud settle on it” (Job 3:3-5). His experience of despair continued for a long time until God spoke. Then Job exclaimed, “I have heard of You . . . but now my eye sees You” (42:5). Job had encountered the sovereign Creator, and that changed his perspective on God’s purposes. Do clouds of trouble fill your skies today? Sooner than you think, God may use these clouds to help you gain perspective on His faithfulness.
God, give us wings to rise above
The clouds of trial that block the sun,
To soar above gray skies and see
The love and goodness of Your Son.
Often the clouds of sorrow reveal the sunshine of His face. —Jasper
INSIGHT: In Job 3:3-5, we have what many Bible scholars call Job’s soliloquy. After a time of quiet agony, the great Old Testament saint breaks his silence and lets out his anguish. He calls for darkness and then destruction to overwhelm him. Instead of seeing God’s light-filled and good creation, Job feels he is living in a world of darkness. But in Job 42:5-6, we see the resolution to Job’s conflict. Out of the whirlwind, God challenges Job and points to creation as a witness to His reality. Although he is never told that his sufferings are the result of spiritual warfare from the devil, Job submits to the sovereignty of God and experiences restoration.
Dave Branon's devotional "Out Of The Darkness" is based on Psalm 77:1-15 where Asaph writes "I cried out to God . . . . Who is so great a God as our God?" (Psalm 77:1,13). Branon writes "I don’t know what desperate situation gripped Asaph, the writer of Psalm 77, but I’ve heard, and made, similar laments. Over the past dozen years since I lost my daughter, many others who have experienced the loss of a loved one have shared with me heartbreaking sentiments like these: Crying out to God (Ps 77:1). Stretching empty arms heavenward (Ps 77:2). Experiencing troubling thoughts about God because of horrible circumstances (Ps 77:3). Enduring unspeakable trouble (Ps 77:4). Cowering under the feeling of being cast aside (Ps 77:7). Fearing failed promises (Ps 77:8). Fearing a lack of mercy (Ps 77:8). But a turnaround occurs for Asaph in Ps 77:10 through a recollection of God’s great works. Thoughts turn to God’s love. To memories of what He has done. To His marvelous deeds of old. To the comfort of God’s faithfulness and mercy. To reminders of God’s wonders and greatness. To His strength and redemption. Despair is real in this life, and answers do not come easily. Yet in the darkness—as we remember God’s glory, majesty, power, and love—our despair can slowly subside. Like Asaph, we can rehearse God’s acts, especially the salvation He brought through Jesus, and we can return to where we once were—resting gratefully in His mighty love. Lord, we cannot fathom the depth of Your character or the wisdom of Your actions when trouble visits us. Help us to inch our way back into Your arms through a rehearsal of Your goodness and a recollection of Your glorious love.
Branon then writes "Remembering the past can bring hope to the present." I would add the qualifier that we must remember the past times when God has moved in our lives, when the hand of the Almighty took hold of our stumbling hand, when in our weakness, we experienced the very real truth that His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9), etc. In other words like the psalmist say "Therefore I remember Thee!"
A Gift Of Hope - He shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. —Judges 13:5 - When a powerful typhoon swept through the city of Tacloban, Philippines, in 2013, an estimated 10,000 people died, and many who survived found themselves homeless and jobless. Necessities became scarce. Three months later, while the town was still struggling to dig itself out from the destruction, a baby was born on a roadside near Tacloban amid torrents of rain and strong wind. Although the weather brought back painful memories, residents worked together to find a midwife and transport the mother and newborn to a clinic. The baby survived, thrived, and became a symbol of hope during a time of despair. Forty years of Philistine oppression marked a grim period in Israel’s national history. During this time, an angel informed an Israelite woman that she would give birth to a special son (Judg. 13:3). According to the angel, the baby would be a Nazirite—a man set apart to God—and would “begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (v.5). The infant, Samson, was a gift of hope born in a troubled time. Trouble is unavoidable, yet Jesus has the power to rescue us from despair. Christ was born “to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace” (Luke 1:76-79). Lord, help me to see beyond my circumstances and put my hope in You. All authority and power are Yours. Remind me of Your goodness, and let me rest in Your love. Jesus is the hope that calms life’s storms. (Jennifer Benson Schuldt)
Dennis Fisher has written a devotional entitled God's Enduring Word - Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35 At the beginning of World War II, aerial bombings flattened much of Warsaw, Poland. Cement blocks, ruptured plumbing, and shards of glass lay strewn across the great city. In the downtown area, however, most of one damaged building still stubbornly stood. It was the Polish headquarters for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Still legible on a surviving wall were these words: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Jesus made that statement to encourage His disciples when they asked Him about the “end of the age” (v. 3). But His words also give us courage in the midst of our embattled situation today. Standing in the rubble of our shattered dreams, we can still find confidence in God’s indestructible character, sovereignty, and promises. His enduring Word assures us of His unfailing love. The psalmist wrote: “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89). But it is more than the word of the Lord; it is His very character. That is why the psalmist could also say, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations” (Ps 119:90). As we face devastating experiences, we can define them either in terms of despair or of hope. Because God will not abandon us to our circumstances, we can confidently choose hope. His enduring Word assures us of His unfailing love. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Your Word. Thank You for its truth, its timelessness, and the guidance You give us by that Word. Help us believe and trust everything You say. We can trust God’s unchanging Word.
All Safe! All Well! - Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 - In January 1915, the ship Endurance was trapped and crushed in the ice off the coast of Antarctica. The group of polar explorers, led by Ernest Shackleton, survived and managed to reach Elephant Island in three small lifeboats. Trapped on this uninhabited island, far from normal shipping lanes, they had one hope. On April 24, 1916, 22 men watched as Shackleton and five comrades set out in a tiny lifeboat for South Georgia, an island 800 miles away. The odds seemed impossible, and if they failed, they would all certainly die. What joy, then, when more than four months later a boat appeared on the horizon with Shackleton on its bow shouting, “Are you all well?” And the call came back, “All safe! All well!” What held those men together and kept them alive over those months? Faith and hope placed in one man. They believed that Shackleton would find a way to save them. This human example of faith and hope echoes the faith of the heroes listed in Hebrews 11. Their faith in the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” kept them going through great difficulties and trials (Heb. 11:1 nkjv). As we look out upon the horizon of our own problems (Ed: I call this "horizontal" thinking or "horizontal vision"), may we not despair. May we have hope through the certainty of our faith in the One Man—Jesus, our God and Savior (Ed: I call this "vertical" thinking or "vertical vision"). Thank You, Father, for the promise of forgiveness made possible by Jesus. May that promise lighten the darkest of our days. The hope of Jesus shines brightly even on our darkest day. We can take courage and hope from those who have preceded us in the life of faith. The author of Hebrews lists many examples of people who acted in faith despite their circumstances and despite the fact that they had not yet received what “had been promised” (11:39). This is why Hebrews 11 begins by saying that “faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (J.R. Hudberg) - By Randy Kilgore
Spurgeon on I remember Thee - Oh, what a mercy it is to be able to look back upon our past experiences of God’s mercy! How delightful it is to remember what the Lord was, to us in days gone by, for he is the same God still. When you are like in the great storm, when neither sun, nor moon, nor stars for many days appeared, it is very pleasant to remember that the sun, moon, and stars did shine in the past, and that they will shine forth again. From the little hill I will think of all thy former love, — all the sacred spots where thou hast met with me, all the lonely places where thou hast been my comfort, and all the joyful regions where thou hast been my glory. I will think of these, and take comfort from them, for thou art an unchanging God.; and what thou didst for me aforetime, thou wilt do for me again and yet again. Is it not a blessed thing that, even when he is down, he says, “ Oh, my God”? He gets hold of his God. He has loat his company, but he has not lost his God. See-” my soul”-” my God.” His God is as much his as his soul is his. He puts them together-” my God “-” my soul.” Therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonite, from the hill Mizar. Were these places where he was then wandering? He would remember God wherever he was. He would remember happier days-seasons long past when he did walk in fellowship with God. So let us remember how he kept his tryst with us in former days of sorrow,-how he manifested himself unto us as he does not to the world. He will do the same now. Let us be of good courage.
Life’s Darkest Moments - An angel touched [Elijah], and said to him, “Arise and eat.” —1 Kings 19:5 - Charles Whittlesey was a hero’s hero. Leader of the so-called “Lost Battalion” in World War I, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery when his unit was trapped behind enemy lines. When the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated, Charles was chosen to serve as pallbearer for the first soldier laid to rest there. Two weeks later, it is presumed that he ended his own life by stepping off a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. Like Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-7), Charles was publicly strong, but in the quiet, post-public moments, his feelings of despair set in. People today frequently face situations bigger than they can handle. Sometimes it’s temporary despair brought on by fatigue, as in Elijah’s case. He had been part of a great victory over the prophets of Baal (1 Ki 18:20-40), but then he feared for his life and ran into the wilderness (1 Ki 19:1-3). But often, it’s more than despair and it’s more than temporary. That’s why it is imperative that we talk about depression openly and compassionately. God offers His presence to us in life’s darkest moments, which enables us, in turn, to be His presence to the hurting. Crying out for help—from others and from God—may be the strongest moment of our lives. Father, grant us the candor to admit to each other that sometimes life overwhelms us. And grant us the courage to help others find help—and to seek it when we need it. Hope comes with help from God and others. (Randy Kilgore)
Remembering Our Father’s Words - I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. —Psalm 119:93 - Jim Davidson was climbing down Mount Rainier when he fell through a snow bridge and into a crevasse (a pitch-black, ice-walled crack in a glacier). As Jim stood bloodied and bruised in that dark ice cave, he reflected on his childhood and recalled how his father had repeatedly reminded him that he could accomplish great things if he pressed through adversity. Those words helped to sustain Jim as he spent the next 5 hours climbing out of that dark ice cave to safety with very little gear and under extremely difficult circumstances. The psalmist seemed to climb out of his own crevasse of affliction and pain by recalling his heavenly Father’s words. He admitted that if God and His Word had not sustained him with joy, he would have died in his misery (Ps. 119:92). He expressed full confidence in the Lord’s eternal Word (Ps 119:89) and in the faithfulness of His character (Ps 119:90). As a result of God’s faithfulness, the psalmist made a commitment never to forget God’s words to him because they had a central part in rescuing his life and bringing him strength. In our darkest caves and moments of affliction, our souls can be revived by our Father in heaven when we recall and fill our minds with His encouraging words. Thinking It Over - What crevasse of discouragement are you currently in? How can you use this time as an occasion to revive your soul by filling your mind and heart with God’s Word? Remembering God’s words revives our soul. (Marvin Williams)
I Am Not Forgotten - Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. —Psalm 33:20 - Waiting is hard at any time; but when days, weeks, or even months pass and our prayers seem to go unanswered, it’s easy to feel God has forgotten us. Perhaps we can struggle through the day with its distractions, but at night it’s doubly difficult to deal with our anxious thoughts. Worries loom large, and the dark hours seem endless. Utter weariness makes it look impossible to face the new day. The psalmist grew weary as he waited (Ps. 13:1). He felt abandoned—as if his enemies were gaining the upper hand (v.2). When we’re waiting for God to resolve a difficult situation or to answer often-repeated prayers, it’s easy to get discouraged. Satan whispers that God has forgotten us, and that things will never change. We may be tempted to give in to despair. Why bother to read the Bible or to pray? Why make the effort to worship with fellow believers in Christ? But we need our spiritual lifelines most when we’re waiting. They help to hold us steady in the flow of God’s love and to become sensitive to His Spirit. The psalmist had a remedy. He focused on all that he knew of God’s love, reminding himself of past blessings and deliberately praising God, who would not forget him. So can we. Lover of my soul, who draws close in the darkest and longest night, please keep me trusting You, talking to You, and leaning on Your promises. God is worth waiting for; His time is always best. All believers go through times of frustration due to unanswered prayer. Yet the Scriptures provide hope for this apparent dilemma. Psalm 13 illustrates the release that grows out of praying through a problem. David asks God four times “how long” he must wait to get an answer to prayer (Ps. 13:1-2). Eventually he understands that his perspective has not been a divine one. He then asks God to “give light to my eyes” so that he can have the strength to endure opposition (Ps. 13:3-4). David redirects his heart to trust in God’s unfailing mercy. The Hebrew word for “mercy” here is hesed, which connotes enduring, unfailing, and gracious care. With a new perspective, David now sings of God’s goodness with petitions of praise (Ps. 13:5-6). (Marion Stroud)