Psalm 42:5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. 6 O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon, from the little mountain Mizar. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Brenton's English of the Greek (Septuagint): (SEE COMMENTS BELOW) Wherefore art thou very sad (perilupos = afflicted beyond measure, deeply grieved, very sad, deeply distressed, profoundly sorrowful), O my soul? and wherefore dost thou trouble (suntarasso = thrown into complete confusion, profoundly disturbed, agitated like a glass of water sharply jarred, causing inward commotion, made restless, disturbed equanimity) me? Hope (elpizo in Aorist Imperative = calls for urgent attention! Do this now! "Just do it!") in God; for I will give thanks to him; he is the salvation of my countenance. 6 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.
ESV: 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 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.
Geneva Bible: Why art thou cast downe, my soule, and vnquiet within me? waite on God: for I will yet giue him thankes for the helpe of his presence.
Good News Translation: Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my Saviour and my God.
KJV: Why [art thou cast down,] O my soul?, and why art thou disquieted, in, me? hope thou in God:, for I shall yet praise, him for the help, of his countenance. 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.
NCV: Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I should put my hope in God and keep praising him, my Savior and 6 my God. I am very sad. So I remember you where the Jordan River begins, near the peaks of Hermon and Mount Mizar.
NET: Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention. 46 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.
NIV: Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 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. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and 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. (NLT - Tyndale House)
TLB: Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God! I shall yet praise him again. Yes, I shall again praise him for His help.
Young's Literal: 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 Thee from the land of Jordan, And of the Hermons, from the hill Mizar.
Note that the comments on Psalm 42:5 are generally applicable to the similar refrain which is repeated in Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5.
WHY ARE YOU IN DESPAIR O MY SOUL AND WHY HAVE YOU BECOME DISTURBED WITHIN ME: (Ps 42:11 Ps 35:14 Ps 43:5 Ps 55:4,5 Ps 61:2 Ps 142:2,3 Ps 143:3,4 1Sa 30:6 Mk 14:33,34)
Sam Storms - As though he were two men,” says Spurgeon, “the Psalmist talks to himself. His faith reasons with his fears, his hope argues with his sorrows.” David chides David out of the dumps! What does he say to himself? Hope in God! Wait for God! This is no mindless meditation, a closing of the eyes or a passive twiddling of the thumbs. Rather we are to envision an expectant, straining anticipation for God’s deliverance. This is a spiritually aggressive confidence that God will act and show himself faithful based on past performance.
Why is the psalmist asking this question? Let's examine the context for the answer…
These things I remember, and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, with the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
Notice that the psalmist has lost his joy and his attitude of gratitude. That never happens to us does it beloved? And why was he losing his joy and thanksgiving? He remembers "these things." What things? Again we examine the context Ps 42:1, 2, 3 and see he has lost a sense of God's presence (That never happens to us does it?). Spurgeon explains it this way…
When he harped upon his woes his heart melted into water and was poured out upon itself. God hidden, and foes raging, a pair of evils enough to bring down the stoutest heart! Yet why let reflections so gloomy engross us, since the result is of no value: merely to turn the soul on itself, to empty it from itself into itself is useless ("pour out my soul within me"), how much better to pour out the heart before the Lord! (Which we see in Ps 42:5) The prisoner's tread wheel might sooner land him in the skies than mere inward questioning raise us nearer to consolation.
And so we see that in the context of lost joy, the psalmist preaches hope in God, which is a sure "antidote" for restoration of joy. See the discussion of the relationship between Biblical Hope and Supernatural Joy - Biblical Joy & Hope.
Note also that Ps 42:5, 11, 43:5 are virtually identical. Clearly it would appear that God desires to emphasize the "power" of the principle taught by the personal proclamation of hope to one's soul to fight out of or through those difficult, soul discouraging times we all experience.
The English translation (Brenton's) of the Greek Septuagint is interesting and gives us some insights into the spiritual dynamics taking place in the psalmist's heart…
Wherefore art thou very sad (perilupos = afflicted beyond measure, deeply grieved, deeply distressed, profoundly sorrowful), O my soul? and wherefore dost thou trouble (suntarasso [sun/syn = speaks of intimate association + tarasso] = thrown into complete confusion, profoundly disturbed, agitated like a glass of water sharply jarred, causing inward commotion, made restless, disturbed equanimity) me? Hope (elpizo [word study] in aorist imperative = calls for urgent attention! Do this now! "Just do it!") in God; for I will give thanks to Him; He is the salvation (soterios/soterion = pertains to the means of salvation = bringing salvation, delivering, rescuing) of my countenance.
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.
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).
The Septuagint translates despair with the Greek verb suntarasso which is a combination of sun/syn (with) and tarasso (troubled). See Psalm 42:6 comments for insights gleaned from New Testament uses of the verb tarasso.
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."
Don’t give in to despair! Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12-note). Remind yourself of God’s goodness and love (See discussion of "Vertical Vision" in commentary on Ps 42:6). Talk to Him. He will meet your needs. He’ll lead you in paths of love and light and joy where you will find new hope.
Beyond the losses of this life
That cause us to despair,
New hope is born within our hearts
Because our God is there.
No one is hopeless whose hope is in God.
No Jesus, no hope.
Know Jesus, know Hope!
Power of Vertical Vision - A small South American fish called "four eyes" knows how to make the best of two worlds. His secret is his large bulging eyes. The Creator designed them so that he can see above the water and below it at the same time. The fish does this by cruising along through the water with the upper half of his eyes above the surface. This top half has an air lens, and the bottom half has a water lens. Together, the two lenses outfit "four eyes" with a set of natural bifocals, allowing him to see both the upper world and the underworld. In a sense, Christians must be like this little tropical fish. We should look up longingly into the idealism of heaven while looking down lovingly into the realism of earth. The heavenward look is to reflect a hunger and thirst for truth and righteousness, while the earthly look shows our compassion and love for the lost and suffering. Who is in a better position to know the best of both worlds than Christians? We have received both truth and love. — M. R. DeHaan. II
KEEP GOD'S TRUTH IN YOUR HEAD
AND HIS LOVE IN YOUR HEART.
The Septuagint (Lxx) translates despair (shachach/sahah) with the Greek adjective perilupos (peri = about + lupe = sorrow, cf study on lupeo) (4036) which describes one's emotional state as very sad, exceedingly sorrowful, deeply distressed/grieved, or characterized by affliction beyond measure. Perilupos is used only 10 times in all of Scripture, and two of the Lxx uses suggest that in some contexts perilupos can also describe the emotion of anger…
Genesis 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry (Hebrew = burn or be kindled with anger; Lxx = perilupos = very sorrowful)? And why has your countenance fallen?
Psalm 42:5 Why are you in despair (Hebrew = shachach/sahah; Lxx = perilupos = very sorrowful), O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
Psalm 42:11 Why are you in despair (Hebrew = shachach/sahah; Lxx = perilupos = very sorrowful), O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 43:5 Why are you in despair (Hebrew = shachach/sahah; Lxx = perilupos = very sorrowful), O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Daniel 2:12 Because of this the king became indignant and very furious (Hebrew = become angry; Lxx = perilupos) and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
Matthew 26:38 (Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane) Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me."
Mark 6:26 And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her.
Mark 14:34 And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."
Luke 18:23 (Context: Rich young ruler asking Jesus how to obtain eternal life - read Lk 18:18-22) But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
Luke 18:24 And Jesus looked at him and said (KJV adds that Jesus "was very sorrowful" translating perilupos which is not in the manuscripts used to translate NAS and ESV), "How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!
Here are are the 21 uses of the Hebrew word shachach/sahah in the OT where it is rendered as - been humbled(1), bow down(1), bowed down(3), bowing(1), bows down(1), bring down(1), brought low(1), collapsed(1), crouch(2), despair(4), humbled(3), prostrate(1), sing softly(1)…
Job 9:13 "God will not turn back His anger; Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab.
Job 38:40 When they crouch in their dens And lie in wait in their lair?
Psalm 10:10-note He crouches, he bows down, And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones.
Psalm 35:14-note I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.
Psalm 38:6-note I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long.
Psalm 42:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
Psalm 42:6-note O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Psalm 42:11-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 43:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 107:39-note When they are diminished and bowed down Through oppression, misery and sorrow,
Proverbs 14:19 The evil will bow down before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
Ecclesiastes 12:4 and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will sing softly (apparently describing "low" in terms of decibel level).
Isaiah 2:9 So the common man has been humbled And the man of importance has been abased, But do not forgive them.
Isaiah 2:11 The proud look of man will be abased and the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
Isaiah 2:17 The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
Isaiah 5:15 So the common man will be humbled and the man of importance abased, The eyes of the proud also will be abased.
Isaiah 25:12 The unassailable fortifications of your walls (Moab) He will bring down, Lay low and cast to the ground, even to the dust.
Isaiah 26:5 "For (term of explanation - see preceding passage to see what God is explaining) He has brought low those who dwell on high, the unassailable city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He casts it to the dust.
Isaiah 29:4 Then you will be brought low; From the earth you will speak, And from the dust where you are prostrate Your words will come. Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground, And your speech will whisper from the dust.
Isaiah 60:14 "The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; And they will call you the city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Habakkuk 3:6 He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting.
The renowned preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon who was known to wrestle with the dark cloud of depression had an interesting thought on Psalm 42:5…
You see, the psalmist here talks to himself. Every man is two men; we are duplicates, if not triplicates, and it is well sometimes to hold a dialogue with one’s own self. “Why art thou east down, O my soul?” I always notice that, as long as I can argue with myself about my depressions, I can get out of them; but when both the men within me go down at once, it is a downfall indeed. When there is one foot on the solid rock, the other comes up to it pretty soon.
As one well remarks, Christian men have a deal of indoor work to do. They have not only to question others, but they have to question themselves. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” Be very jealous, dear friends, of doubts, and fears, and despondency. Some of us are sometimes the subjects of these emotions, and this is pitiable; but when we try to pamper them, this is inexcusable. Endeavour to live above this disquietude; you cannot praise God, you cannot serve your fellow-men, you cannot do anything well, when your soul is in a disquieted state.
Hope in God is the best cure
for this despondency.
“Hope thou in God.” When thou hast no hope in thyself, nor in thy graces, nor in thine experience, “hope thou in God.” He is loving faithful, powerful, and true, so “hope thou in God.” “For I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” “My countenance is wrinkled, and covered with sores through my sickness; but he is the help of my countenance, and I shall yet praise him.”
As old Master Trapp says, “David (Ed: Whether the sons of Korah actually wrote this psalm or it was written for them is not readily resolved) tries to talk David out of the dumps; and he does well.” Here were two Davids-David that was down and David that was up, and David draws David up. So you, too, if you are a little low to-night, should let your better, godlier self talk to yourself.
If you cannot do anything else, yet hope. The New Zealanders call hope “ the swimming thought,” because when everything else is drowned up comes hope at the top of the wave. You cannot drown hope. Snatch from the altars of the future fire-brands with which to kindle the altar of to-day. “ I shall yet praise Him.” I am not always going to be low. I have hung the harp upon the willows, but I have not broken its strings. I shall take it down again. “ I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” If He does but look upon us,-if He does but have pity upon us,-let us be content with that, and abide His time.
Kidner comments that Ps 42:5
is an important dialogue between the two aspects of the believer, who is at once a man of convictions and a creature of change. He is called to live in eternity, his mind stayed on God; but also in time, where mind and body are under pressures that cannot and should not leave him impassive. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)
Spurgeon on Psalm 42:5…
Often when depressed, I challenge my soul with these questions,
“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?”
Did Jesus ever feel like this? The thought that Christ is affected by my particular trial is inexpressibly delightful, and my depression vanishes. When the Holy Spirit bring this home to the soul, we bless the Savior’s name because He did not merely carry our sins in His own body on the tree (1Pe 2:24); He also bore our griefs and carried our sorrows (Is 53:4). Jesus was not merely a substitute, which is the greatest of all consolations, but He is also affected by my trial. Jesus suffers with you and in you; you are a member of His body, and He supports you. Look into His face by faith and be assured that He is not hard or without pity. Look into His face when you are distressed by the wrongs of others and believe that He knows it, notices it, and has sympathy. Jesus feels what we feel. He sympathizes with us. Are we bearing our crosses for His sake? If we are, then we will gladly welcome the trials, provided that He is honored. This gives great strength. Beloved, if you have forgotten your Lord (and it would not be unusual if you have), think of Him again. You will find the dear Savior is a well of living water that is close to you.
Why are You Disquieted? (disquieted” more literally is "tumultuated" [to make a tumult or great commotion] a word frequently applied to the roaring and tumult and tossing of the sea. (See Isaiah 17:12; Jer. 5:22; 6:23)
Sorrow can be greatly alleviated if we give serious thought to the Word. Evidently, this is what Job did when he said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Here the patriarch recalls at least four subjects for serious consideration, and he draws great comfort from them. Use Job as your example. Do not merely sit still and say, “I shall be comforted.” Look for themes on which to meditate profitably. Get an anchor-hold on some great and clearly ascertained truth, a truth in which you can have no possible doubt. Then you may begin to be comforted. Do you remember how David talked to himself as if he were another person?
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (Ps. 42:5).
You see, there are two Davids talking and cheering one another. We should always be good company with ourselves. We should always be able to interrogate ourselves, and in deep sorrow we should be able to comfort ourselves. When you have learned this lesson, you will have learned the art of comforting others. (Spurgeon, C., & Clarke, R. H.. Beside still waters : Words of comfort for the soul. 1999)
Spurgeon in the Treasury of David comments …
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? As though he were two men, the psalmist talks to himself. His faith reasons with his fears, his hope argues with his sorrows. These present troubles, are they to last forever? The rejoicings of my foes, are they more than empty talk? My absence from the solemn feasts, is that a perpetual exile? Why this deep depression? To search out the causes of our sorrow is often the best surgery for grief. Self-ignorance is not bliss; in this case it is misery. The mist of ignorance magnifies the causes of our alarm; a clearer view will make monsters dwindle into trifles. Why art thou disquieted within me? Why is my quiet gone? If I cannot keep a public Sabbath, yet wherefore do I deny my soul her indoor Sabbath? Why am I agitated like a troubled sea, and why do my thoughts make a noise like a tumultuous multitude? The causes are not enough to justify such utter yielding to despondency. Up, my heart! Your castings down will turn to liftings up, and your disquietudes to calm. Hope thou in God. If every evil is let loose from Pandora’s box, yet is there hope at the bottom. God is unchangeable, and therefore his grace is the ground for unshaken hope. If everything be dark, yet the day will come, and meanwhile hope carries stars in her eyes; her lamps are not dependent upon oil from without, her light is fed by secret visitations of God, which sustain the spirit. For I shall yet praise him. A loss of the present sense of God’s love is not a loss of that love itself; hope knows her title to be good when she cannot read it clear. For I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Salvations come from the propitious face of God, and he will yet lift up his countenance upon us. Note well that the main hope and chief desire of David rest in the smile of God. This verse, like the singing of Paul and Silas, looses chains and shakes prison walls. He who can use such heroic language in his gloomy hours will surely conquer.
Disturbed (01993) (hamah) conveys the root meaning of to cry out, to make a loud noise, or be turbulent. Hamah is a strong word, emphasizing unrest, uproar, commotion, strong feeling. Hamah means to murmur, to moan, to growl, to roar, be boisterous, to be in great commotion or tumult, to rage, to war, to clamor or be clamorous.
Waves roar (Ps 46:3, Jer 5:22). Nations "roar" (Ps 46:4). A city is in an uproar (1Ki 1:41). People murmur (Psalm 55:17). The heart pounds (Jer 4:19).
The LXX translates hamah in Ps 42:5, 11, 43:5 with the Greek verb suntarasso (sun = with + tarasso = literally to shake or agitate like water in a glass sharply jarred, figuratively to cause inward commotion, take away calmness of mind) which means to throw (or be thrown) into complete confusion, to profoundly disturb, to greatly vex, to confound, to disturb. Can't we all recall times when suntarasso vividly describes our mental status? And yet what this verse teaches us is that THERE IS HOPE!
The verb hamah is difficult to translate uniformly and the translation will vary depending on the version - e.g., see Isa 17:12KJV has "make a noise," Isa 17:12ASV "roar," Isa 17:12RSV "thunder." This variation is seen even with the 20 different English words or phrases used to translate the 32 OT uses of hamah (see below) - aroused(1), become disturbed(2), boisterous(4), brawler(1), disturbed(2), growl(1), howl(2), intones(1), made an uproar(1), make an uproar(2), making such an uproar(1), mourning(1), murmur(1), noisy(1), pounding(1), roar(5), roar like the roaring(1), roars(2), wails(2), yearns(1).
Hamah - 32 verses in the OT.
1Kings 1:41 Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, "Why is the city making such an uproar?"
Psalm 39:6-note "Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
Psalm 42:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
Psalm 42:11-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 43:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 46:3-note Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
Psalm 46:6-note The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted.
Psalm 55:17-note Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice.
Psalm 59:6-note They return at evening, they howl like a dog, And go around the city.
Psalm 59:14-note They return at evening, they howl like a dog, And go around the city.
Psalm 77:3-note When I remember God, then I am disturbed; When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. Selah.
Psalm 83:2-note For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves.
Proverbs 1:21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
Proverbs 7:11 She is boisterous and rebellious, Her feet do not remain at home;
Proverbs 9:13 The woman of folly is boisterous, She is naive and knows nothing.
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.
Song of Solomon 5:4 "My beloved extended his hand through the opening, And my feelings ("bowels" - inmost parts) were aroused for him.
Isaiah 16:11 Therefore my heart intones ("moans" = HCSB, "moan" = ESV; "constantly sighs" = NET) like a harp for Moab And my inward feelings for Kir-hareseth.
NET Note: The point of the comparison to a harp is not entirely clear. Perhaps his sighs of mourning resemble a harp in sound, or his constant sighing is like the repetitive strumming of a harp.
Isaiah 17:12 Alas, the uproar (related word "hamon") of many peoples Who roar like the roaring of the seas, And the rumbling of nations Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!
Isaiah 22:2 You who were full of noise, You boisterous town, you exultant city; Your slain were not slain with the sword, Nor did they die in battle.
Isaiah 51:15 "For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name).
Isaiah 59:11 All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.
Jeremiah 4:19 My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot be silent, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war.
Jeremiah 5:22 'Do you not fear Me?' declares the LORD. 'Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.
Jeremiah 6:23 "They seize bow and spear; They are cruel and have no mercy; Their voice roars like the sea, And they ride on horses, Arrayed as a man for the battle Against you, O daughter of Zion!"
Jeremiah 31:20 "Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him," declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 31:35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name:
Jeremiah 48:36 "Therefore My heart wails for Moab like flutes; My heart also wails like flutes for the men of Kir-heres. Therefore they have lost the abundance it produced.
Jeremiah 50:42 "They seize their bow and javelin; They are cruel and have no mercy. Their voice roars like the sea; And they ride on horses, Marshalled like a man for the battle Against you, O daughter of Babylon.
Jeremiah 51:55 For the LORD is going to destroy Babylon, And He will make her loud noise vanish from her. And their waves will roar like many waters; The tumult of their voices sounds forth.
Ezekiel 7:16 'Even when their survivors escape, they will be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, each over his own iniquity.
Zechariah 9:15 The LORD of hosts will defend them. And they will devour and trample on the sling stones; And they will drink and be boisterous as with wine; And they will be filled like a sacrificial basin, Drenched like the corners of the altar.
ARE YOU LIVING
IN THE PITS?
One would think depression might not effect believers but of course that is simply not true - all believers are affected by varying degrees of depression from time to time or over a long time and can identify with the title of Erma Bombeck's best-selling book "If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I Living in the Pits?"
James Montgomery Boice summarizes the causes of spiritual depression from Psalm 42-43…
1. Forced absence from the temple of God, where God was worshiped (Ps 42:1–2).
So the psalmist is far from home and feels that he is therefore also far from God. It is not that he does not believe that God is everywhere, or that God is not with him. He is praying to God in these psalms, after all. But his being away from home has gotten him down, and his depressed state has caused him to feel that God is absent. There is another dimension to this sense of alienation.
2. The taunts of unbelievers (Ps 42:3, 10).
In this distant land the psalmist was also surrounded by unbelievers who taunted him with the biting challenge, “Where is your God?” This must have hurt him a lot, because he repeats the line twice in just this one composition… “Where is your God when you need him? Where is your God now?” That is a cause for deep depression. Where is God indeed? Where is God when I am in a far country, separated from my usual work, taunted by enemies? Why doesn’t God seem to hear my cries? Why doesn’t he intervene to change my circumstances?
3. Memories of better days (Ps 42:4).
The psalmist was also troubled by memories of better days. There is a proper use of memory in times when we are depressed, remembering God’s past acts as an encouragement to believe that he will act for us again.
4. The overwhelming trials of life (Ps 42:7).
A bit further on in this psalm the writer speaks of the overwhelming trials of his life, referring to them as “waves and breakers” that have swept over him.
5. Failure of God to act quickly on our behalf (Ps 42:9).
Verse 9 is a painful cry to God for having forgotten him. It reminds us of nothing so forcefully as Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46),
6. Attacks from ungodly, deceitful, and wicked persons (Ps 43:1).
The second of these two psalms brings in another cause of depression. It is attacks by unscrupulous and deceitful enemies.
He Can Lead You Out Of It (Read: 1 Kings 19:1-12) "After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.+ —(1 Kings 19:12) Almost everyone will at some time in their life be affected by depression, either their own or someone else’s. Some common signs and symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, worthlessness, and helplessness. Although we cannot say for certain that characters in the Bible experienced depression, we can say that some did exhibit a deep sense of despondency, discouragement, and sadness that is linked to personal powerlessness and loss of meaning and enthusiasm for life. Elijah is one biblical character who fits this description. After defeating the prophets of Baal, he received a death threat from Jezebel. His hope was shattered, and despondency set in. He wanted to die! God helped Elijah deal with his despondency in several ways. The Lord did not rebuke him for his feelings but sent an angel to provide for his physical needs. Then, the Lord revealed Himself and reminded Elijah that He was quietly working among His people. Next, He renewed Elijah’s mission by giving him new orders. Finally, God reminded Elijah that he wasn’t alone. In our times of discouragement, let us remember that God loves us and desires to lead us to a place of a renewed vision of Himself! by Marvin Williams
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
The weak, the helpless, and the discouraged
are in the Shepherd’s special care.
HOPE IN GOD (All the following passages use the same Hebrew word Ps 42:5 translates "Hope" = La 3:21, 24 Job 13:15, Mic 7:7= "I will watch expectantly"!) (Ps 27:13,14 Ps 37:7 Ps 56:3,11 Ps 71:14 Job 13:15 Isa 50:10 La 3:24-26 Ro 4:18-20 Heb 10:36,37):
- Detailed discussion of powerful principle = HOPE IN GOD!
- See also study of "The Blessed Hope"…
- The Blessed Hope: Part 1
- The Blessed Hope: Definition
- The Blessed Hope: Source of
- The Blessed Hope: Part 2
- The Blessed Hope: Stabilizing Effect
- The Blessed Hope: Sanctifying Effect
- Other Resources on the Blessed Hope
AN UPWARD LOOK
BY A DOWNCAST SOUL
(Title from J M Boice)
Hope in God - The verb "hope" is actually a command in Hebrew. In the Greek translation (Septuagint -Lxx) of the Hebrew, the verb elpizo is in the aorist tense, imperative mood, which means something like "Hope now! Just do it! Do it now! It is urgent!" This is God's provision for our pathos, our sadness, our grieving, our sorrow, our discouragement, our despair, our downcast state, etc. God is for us, so who can be against us. His Word of Truth is a Word of Hope, not despair, a Word to build up, not tear down, our soul. And so His Spirit inspires the psalmist to issue an urgent call to His children to "Hope in Him!" Indeed, as Peter said "Lord, to whom can we go, for You have the words of eternal life?"
To hope in God does not mean to "cross your fingers." It does not mean, God might work for his servant. It means, be confident that He will! be strong in God! Be courageous in God! Preach to your soul a sermon about the full assurance of hope (Heb 6:11-note)! Hope is the absolute assurance of a future good. The women of old who "hoped in God" obtained God's righteousness through their "hope" (1Pe 3:5-note).
John Phillips on hope in God - Now if he had said, "Hope in an alliance with Egypt, or hope because the Babylonians have sent an envoy to you to discuss mutual cooperation against the foe"-if he had said that, he would have been doomed to disappointment. If we are going to hope in someone befriending a wayward child, in getting a loan from the bank to make that payment, in a change in top management so we'll get the recognition we feel we deserve, we may well be hoping in the wrong thing. But if our hope is in God we are safe, for God cannot let us down. He has said, "The promise is to you and to your children." He has said, "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Hope in God! Then we will be safe.
Hope (03176) (yahal/yachal) conveys the idea of tarrying, of confident expectation, of trust. The central idea of this verb is to wait as Noah literally did in Ge 8:12 (cp 1Sa 10:8, 13:8, et al). Wait means to stay or rest in expectation, to remain stationary until the arrival of some person or event.
As alluded to above, yahal is translated in the Septuagint -Lxx with the Greek verb elpizo which means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. To express desire for some good with the expectation of obtaining it.
Several Hebrew words convey the sense of hope. Most often where we find "hope" in the OT English versions, the Hebrew word is miqveh (04723), tiqvah (08615) (from the common root qavah = 06960) or yachal (03176). Each Hebrew word invites us to look ahead eagerly with confident (trusting) expectation. Each Hebrew word for hope also calls for patience, reminding us that the fulfillment of hope lies in the future.
So in the context of Ps 42:5, the implication is that sometimes we will "preach a sermon" of "Hope in God" to our souls and we may have to be patient, waiting for the Spirit to take this truth and renew our mind and uplift our soul (cp Micah 7:7-note). So while this verse is not a magic cure for every downcast moment, it is a supernatural source of wisdom for how to conduct ourselves when we find ourselves in the horrid "slough of despond!" May the Spirit of God give each of us the faith to believe Psalm 42:5, the grace to consider preaching it to our soul and ultimately the desire and the power to follow through with the proclamation with a willingness to wait upon the timing of the LORD, for Him to give us His strength in our downcast times (Isaiah 40:31).
Yachal - 40 verses in the OT and rendered in NAS as delay(1), have hope(2), hope(13), hoped(1), wait(13), wait expectantly(2), waited(7), waste time(1).
Genesis 8:12 Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again.
1 Samuel 10:8 "And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do."
1 Samuel 13:8 Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him.
2 Samuel 18:14 Then Joab said, "I will not waste time here with you." So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
2 Kings 6:33 While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him and he said, "Behold, this evil is from the LORD; why should I wait for the LORD any longer?"
Job 6:11 "What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure?
Job 13:15 "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.
Job 14:14 "If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes.
Job 29:21 "To me they listened and waited, And kept silent for my counsel.
Job 29:23 "They waited for me as for the rain, And opened their mouth as for the spring rain.
Job 30:26 "When I expected good, then evil came; When I waited for light, then darkness came.
Job 32:11 "Behold, I waited for your words, I listened to your reasonings, While you pondered what to say.
Job 32:16 "Shall I wait, because they do not speak, Because they stop and no longer answer?
Psalm 31:24-note Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.
Psalm 33:18-note Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
Psalm 33:22-note Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.
Psalm 42:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him [for] the help of His presence.
Psalm 42:11-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 43:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 69:3-note I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.
Psalm 71:14-note But as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.
Psalm 119:43-note And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances.
Psalm 119:49-note Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope.
Psalm 119:74-note May those who fear You see me and be glad, Because I wait for Your word.
Psalm 119:81-note My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word.
Psalm 119:114-note You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.
Psalm 119:147-note I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.
Psalm 130:5-note I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.
Psalm 130:7-note O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption.
Psalm 131:3-note O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever.
Psalm 147:11-note The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
Isaiah 42:4 "He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."
Isaiah 51:5 "My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait for Me, And for My arm they will wait expectantly.
Lamentations 3:21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
Lamentations 3:24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
Ezekiel 13:6 "They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, 'The LORD declares,' when the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word.
Ezekiel 19:5 'When she saw, as she waited, That her hope was lost, She took another of her cubs And made him a young lion.
Micah 5:7 Then the remnant of Jacob Will be among many peoples Like dew from the LORD, Like showers on vegetation Which do not wait for man Or delay for the sons of men.
Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.
James Montgomery Boice summarizes from Psalm 42 how the godly person can win out over depression…
1. He takes himself in hand.
The most important thing to be said about the approach to depression taken by the author of this psalm is that he does not give in to depression or self-pity but rather takes himself in hand and wrestles through it. He reminds himself of what he really knows and finds that “no reasons for being cast down are so strong as those for elation and calm hope.”
Lloyd-Jones makes a great deal of this point, stressing that talking to ourselves rather than allowing circumstances to talk to us is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. It is a case of the mind speaking to the emotions rather than the emotions dictating to the mind: “You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’—what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’—instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way.”
In a similar vein, J. J. Stewart Perowne (Psalm 42 Commentary) speaks of “the struggle between the spirit of faith and the spirit of dejection, between the higher nature and the lower, between the spirit and the flesh.”
2. He challenges himself to do what should be done.
The second step in the battle against depression follows from the act of addressing oneself in this manner. Indeed, it is a part of it. It is to challenge oneself to do what the spiritual self knows should be done: “Put your hope in God.” There can be no lasting hope in anything else in this sinful, failing world. There never has been. There never will be. Besides, the believer has put his or her trust in God in past days. He can do so again. It is a mark of simple sanity to do what the psalmist urges should be done.
3. He reminds himself of a great certainty.
To “hope in God” leads to the final step in the crusade against depression, the reminder, based on the character of the God we trust, that “I will yet praise him.” This is a great certainty. God has not changed. Therefore, his purposes for me have not changed. He has led me to uplifting victories in times past. He will do so again. Therefore, instead of looking at the past glumly as something I have lost, I will look to it as a foretaste of the many good things yet to come. We can find multiple examples of this in the lives of the Bible’s characters, people like Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and David…
Is there a cure for depression? Yes. But it is not in us. It is in God. The cure is to seek God’s face, so ours will not be downcast, which is what the psalmist does. (Psalms 42-106 Expositional Commentary Dr. James Montgomery Boice)
Thomas Watson… The God of hope will open a window of hope in the darkest times—and a door of hope in the most desperate cases. The God of hope will bear up the spirits of His saints in hope, against hope; and this hope will never disappoint them. It shall never be said, "there is no peace, there is no hope," until it can be said "there is no God in Israel." (Farewell Sermon)
William Plumer - like faith, hope admits of degrees, varying from a faint expectation, Psalm 42:5, to a "full assurance." Heb. 6:11. Like faith, it always keeps Christ in view. Like faith, also, it will last until death, and then give place to enjoyment; "for what a man has, why does he yet hope for?" Let us therefore "hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." Heb. 3:6. "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. 1:13. (Vital Godliness)
William Gurnall on "Hope thou in God.” - I shall show what powerful influence hope hath on the Christian in affliction, and how. First, it stills and silenceth him under affliction. It keeps the king’s peace in the heart, which else would soon be in an uproar. A hopeless soul is clamorous: one while it chargeth God, another while it reviles his instruments. It cannot long rest, and no wonder, when hope is not there. Hope hath a rare art in stilling a froward spirit, when nothing else can; as the mother can make the crying child quiet by laying it to the breast, when the rod makes it cry worse. This way David took, and found it effectual; when his soul was unquiet by reason of his present affliction, he lays it to the breast of the promise: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God.” And here his soul sweetly sleeps, as the child with the breast in his mouth; and that this was his usual way, we may think by the frequent instances we find; thrice we find him taking this course in two Psalms, 42 and 43… Secondly, this hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath; it is called “the rejoicing of hope,” Heb. 3:6. And hope never affords more joy than in affliction. It is on a watery cloud that the sun paints those curious colours in the rainbow… There are two graces, which Christ useth above any other, to fill the soul with joy—faith and hope, because these two fetch all their wine of joy without door. Faith tells the soul what Christ hath done for it, and so comforts it; hope revives the soul with the news of what Christ will do: both draw at one tap—Christ and his promise.
Henry March on “Hope thou in God.” - The word which is here rendered “hope” denotes that expectation which is founded on faith in God, and which leads the soul to wait upon him. The idea is beautifully expressed in Psalm 39:7. “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.”
Max Lucado - Slumps: the petri dish for bad decisions, the incubator for wrong turns, the assembly line of regretful moves. How we handle our tough times stays with us for a long time. How do you handle yours? When hope takes the last train and joy is nothing but the name of the girl down the street . . . when you are tired of trying, tired of forgiving, tired of hard weeks or hardheaded people . . . how do you manage your dark days? With a bottle of pills or scotch? With an hour at the bar, a day at the spa, or a week at the coast? Many opt for such treatments. So many, in fact, that we assume they reenergize the sad life. But do they? No one denies that they help for a while, but over the long haul? They numb the pain, but do they remove it? Or are we like the sheep on the Turkish cliff ? Who knows why the first one jumped over the edge. Even more bizarre are the fifteen hundred others who followed, each leaping off the same overhang. The first 450 animals died. The thousand that followed survived only because the pile of corpses cushioned their fall. We, like sheep, follow each other over the edge, falling headlong into bars and binges and beds. . . .Is there a solution? Indeed there is: . . . be quick to pray. Stop talking to yourself. Talk to Christ, who invites. “"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). God, who is never downcast, never tires of your down days. (Facing Your Giants)
Elmer Towns - Hope is a healing medicine for depressed believers. Hope is soul aspirin for those who suffer from chronic discouragement.
Spurgeon wrote these words related to Psalm 42:5 - "Sorrow deserves sympathy. But when believers refuse to be comforted, they act like the world. When a Christian is beyond comfort over the loss of creature goods, God’s name is degraded. Surely the professed truths never entered the soul. If the furnace is hot, let your faith be strong. If the burden is heavy, let your patience endure. Acknowledge that He who lends has the right to reclaim. As you bless the giving, bless the taking. There are times when the brightest–eyed Christians can hardly brush the tears away. Strong faith and joyous hope subside into a fear that is scarcely able to keep the spark of hope and faith alive. In times of gloom, when your soul is overwhelmed, grasp the promise and rejoice in the Lord. Although it is not always easy, cry with David, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” (Ps. 42:5). Question the cause of your tears. Reason until you come to the psalmist’s conclusion, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him” (Ps. 42:5). If you can believe God in the midnight of your soul, then you have ten times more cause to rejoice than to sorrow. If you can lie humbly at Jesus’ feet, there are more flowers than thorns ready to spring up in your path. Joys lie in ambush. You will be surrounded with songs of deliverance. Companions in tribulations, do not give in to hopeless sorrow. Salute with thankfulness the angel of hope, for you shall yet praise Him."
John Piper tells of story of how he put the truth of Psalm 42 into practice in a difficult situation. The following is Dr Piper's answer to a question "How did your emphasis on "Hope in God" begin?" Piper answers "That's a good question, and I'm not sure that I know the answer because the roots go back beyond my consciousness. I'm sure they do, in two senses: (1) I was born of God unto a living hope, and that happened before I hoped in God, and it is what made me hope in God; and (2) as a little child my dad was hoping in God and modeling hope in God for me before I even knew what was happening. So the roots go back into my dad and they go back into God's grace in my heart. Here's a really concrete practical place where they go. When I was in Germany studying, my first ten days there I didn't know any German. I was living with my wife in an apartment with another man, sharing a kitchen and sharing a bathroom. It was a temporary ten-day situation and I felt absolutely adrift. I wondered, "What am I doing studying here? I don't know the language, I don't have an apartment, and I've got a wife I can't take care of." And what I did to survive was to immerse myself in the psalms everyday. And the psalm that rose high was Psalm 42:5 "Why are you downcast O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God." That phrase from Psalm 42 stayed with me from 1971-1974 in Germany. It took me from '74 to '80 through my teaching years. And it brought me in my sense of insecurity as a brand new pastor taking this church downtown. "I don't know how to do this ministry, Lord! I feel so nervous and so insecure." Again and again I would say, "Hope in God! Why are you downcast O my soul?" That's why I said, "Put that big sign up on the wall," (Hope in God) because I'm leaning on God for my daily bread at home, for making my marriage work, for doing this ministry I don't know how to do, and for facing all the challenges of this culture and all the expectations people have that I don't know how to meet. "God, you're my only hope." So that time in Germany of leaning heavily for those days of fear on Psalm 42 was really big.
Again in a sermon in his First Peter series, Dr Piper writes "We have a big sign on the west side of the church that reads, HOPE IN GOD. And we have a banner on the roof facing east which says, HOPE IN GOD. This is not a coincidence. It's because we believe that this command, "Hope in God," is the very heart of what God commands and delights in....The secret to flourishing in difficult relationships is not to get your strength from those relationships, but from God. Hope in God. Look to God for the love and the security and the joy that you long for. Then you will be able to have strength for others—believer or unbeliever in your life....Let your hope in God go to work on your inner being and make you a gentle, quiet, fearless person. I'm talking to men and women here. It will have its distinct, complementary form and expression in men and women, but it will be there in both, if they hope in God and not themselves or in other people or circumstances.
O my soul, why art thou grieving;
Why disquieted in me?
Hope in God, thy faith retrieving;
He will still thy refuge be! —Psalter
Hope—in—God—Alone - Many years ago a submarine was rammed by another ship and quickly sank off the Massachusetts coast. Although rescue was impossible at that depth, a diver was dispatched to determine if there was still life aboard the disabled vessel. The diver placed his helmeted ear against the sub's hull and heard a faint tapping sound. Carefully he made note of the dots and dashes and decoded the following question: "Is—there—any—hope?" With great remorse he slowly signaled back: "Hope—in—God—alone." (6000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truth)
Illustration - As German bombs rained down on England during World War II, the situation grew desperate. Hearts were filled with discouragement and thoughts of defeat. Then Winston Churchill’s voice came over the radio. It caused the nation to take heart and restored morale to a people ready to quit. On a spiritual level, believers have hope in a God whose voice still rings out through the pages of His Word. In moments of discouragement, Christians are a testimony to those who have never met God or heard His voice.
Billy Graham on have hope in God - How can we have hope when there isn’t any reason to have hope? Some people, I’ve found, are just naturally optimistic; no matter what happens to them, they almost always react with a brave smile and a positive outlook. “We must keep up our hopes,” they say—even when they have no reason to hope. Unfortunately, their hope is little more than wishful thinking. And that isn’t the kind of hope the Bible urges us to have. The Bible tells us to find our hope in God—not in our circumstances, or our natural optimism (or pessimism), or our family or friends—but in God. How is this possible? It happens when we realize how much God loves us. His love is so deep that He was willing to give His Son’s life for us. And it happens when we realize that this life is not all, but ahead of us is Heaven. Is your hope in Jesus—both for this life and the life to come?
Chris Tiegreen - The psalmist talked to himself as an exercise in Presence. He spoke to his own soul about truth. That happened a lot in the Psalms, in fact. David told his soul to bless the Lord (Psalm 103:1-2, NKJV) and resolved to constantly praise and boast in the Lord (Psalm 34:1-2), for two examples among many. Here, an unnamed psalmist asks some probing questions about his own discouragement and then declares an intent to praise. There are times, it seems, when self-talk is entirely appropriate. It’s easy to see why. God wants us not only to know truth intellectually but to believe it deep in our hearts. When we mentally agree with Scripture but let circumstances or feelings dictate an opposite view—for example, when we believe God can do the impossible but then despair in an impossible situation—we are not in sync with Him. We have to assert truth against circumstances and feelings, just like Abraham, who “against all hope” continued to hope and believe (Romans 4:18, NIV). The hearts of those who tell themselves to do that will beat with God’s heartbeat. Hear His desire: “My truth is real and unchanging, regardless of how you feel in any given moment or what you see with your eyes. Much of life is a decision about how and what to see—the reality I tell you about or the ‘reality’ you perceive. My people, those with My heart, learn to insist on seeing from My perspective rather than theirs. That pleases Me more than you know. I show My favor to those who look past apparent contradictions to see Me. When you choose to tell yourself the truth, I choose to fill your decision with My Presence.” (The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional)
Below is the great hymn Blessed Assurance (Play Hymn) by Fanny Crosby who was physically blind, but by the Spirit of Christ she was spiritually able to look ahead and describe our Blessed Hope with the beautiful words "Watching and waiting (description of Biblical hope), looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love."
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Norn of his Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
Question: How does faith work patience?
Answer: Faith argues the soul into patience. Faith is like that town clerk in Ephesus who allayed the contention of the multitude and argued them soberly into peace (Acts 19:35,36). So when impatience begins to clamor and make a hubbub in the soul, faith appeases the tumult and argues the soul into holy patience. Faith says, "Why are you disquieted, O my soul?" (Psalm 42:5). Are you afflicted? Is it not your Father who has done it? He is carving and polishing you, and making you fit for glory. He smites that he may save. What is your trial? Is it sickness? God shakes the tree of your body so that some fruit may fall, even "the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (Heb. 12:11). Are you driven from your home? God has prepared a city for you (Heb. 11:16). Do you suffer reproach for Christ's sake? "The spirit of glory and of God rests upon you" (1 Pet. 4:14). Thus faith argues and disputes the soul into patience.
Pray to God for patience. Patience is a flower of God's planting. Pray that it may grow in your heart, and send forth its sweet perfume. Prayer is a holy charm, to charm down the evil spirit of impatience. Prayer composes the heart and puts it in tune, when impatience has broken the strings and put everything into confusion. Oh, go to God. Prayer delights God's ear; it melts his heart; it opens his hand. God cannot deny a praying soul. Seek him with importunity and either he will remove the affliction—or, which is better, he will remove your impatience! (The Godly Mans Picture)
In all His dispensations—the severest and the darkest—have faith in God. This is, perhaps, one of the greatest achievements of faith. To believe in God when He smiles, to trust in Him when conscious of His nearness, to have faith in Him when the path is flowery and pleasant, were an easy task. But to have faith in Him when "He holds back the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud upon it; to love Him when He frowns; to follow Him when He withdraws; to cleave to Him when He would seem to shake us off; to trust in Him when His arm is raised to slay—this were faith indeed. And yet all this the faith of God's elect can achieve. If not, of what value is it? Of what possible use to the mariner would be the compass which would only work in the day, and not in the night? which only served to steer the vessel in light winds, and not in rough gales? Faith is the believing soul's compass, guiding it as truly and as certainly to the heavenly port through the wildest tempest as through the serenest calm. To change the figure, faith is that celestial telescope which can pierce the thickest haze or the darkest cloud, descrying suns and stars glowing and sparkling in the far distance. It can discern God's smile under a frown; it can read His name to be "love" beneath the dark dispensation; it can behold the Sun of Righteousness beaming through the interstices of gloomy clouds; and now and then it can catch a glimpse of the harbor itself, with the towering turrets and golden spires of the "new Jerusalem" glittering in the distance. Oh, it is a wonderful grace, the precious faith of God's elect!
Is God dealing with you now in a way of deep trial, of dark providence, mysterious to your mind, and painful to your heart? Is He even chastening you for your backslidings, correcting you for your sins? Still "have faith in God." Sensible appearances, second causes, cannot in the least degree affect the ground of your faith which is God Himself—His immutable nature, His unchangeable love, His eternal purpose, His everlasting covenant, His own Divine and glorious perfections. Believe that you are in His heart, and that your interests are in His hands. Have faith in His wisdom to guide, in His love to direct, in His power to sustain, in His faithfulness to fulfill every promise that now relates to your best welfare and happiness. Only believe in God—that all things in His disposal of you, in His transactions with you, are working together for our present and eternal good. All that He expects and requires of you now is to have faith in Him. The cloud may be dark, the sea tempestuous, but God is in the cloud, and "the Lord sits upon the flood." Even now it is the privilege of your faith to exclaim, "My soul, hope you in God. He is my God; I will trust, and not be
Oh, what inspiring words are these—"hope you in God!" I hesitate not to say, my reader, you may hope in God. Though your case may seem desperate, to your eye cheerless and hopeless, not merely too intricate for man, but too unworthy for God—yet you may hope in God. Take your case to Him, hoping against hope, and believing in unbelief. Will He close His heart against you? Never! Will He repel you when you fly to Him? Never! It is not in the heart of God, no, nor is it in His power, to do so. Take hold of His strength—I speak it humbly, reverentially—and you have overcome God. You disarm Him of the instrument and of the power to punish you; you have laid your hand of faith upon the strength of His love, and have made peace with Him. You cannot cherish a hope too sanguine, nor exercise a faith too implicit in God, hopeless, cheerless, and extreme as your case may be. Impossible! God never appears so like Himself, as in the season of the believer's darkness and suffering. At the very moment in which he sees the least of God, God appears the most what He is. The tenderest unfoldings of His heart are in sorrow, the brightest exhibitions of His character are in darkness, and the most glorious displays of His wisdom, power, and grace are seen gleaming through the mist.
Hope in God!
His mercy is great unto the Heavens,
His grace is as free as the air,
His love is as changeless as His nature,
His promise is as immutable as His love.
Hope in God, for you shall yet praise Him.
He will save you for His own sake,
and present you before assembled worlds
as a monument of His mercy, and a trophy of His grace!
- James Smith
Warren Wiersbe writes - You have a secure future in Jesus Christ. The best is yet to come. Hope in God and start praising Him. The psalmist said, I shall yet praise Him. But don't wait! Start praising Him now. I've discovered that when I get discouraged, the best thing to do is praise the Lord immediately. Praise is the greatest medicine for a broken heart. The psalmist praised God for the help of His countenance. No matter how you feel or whatever your circumstances, if you'll look to the face of God, you'll discover that He's smiling on you.How do you cope with discouragement? Certainly, if it is caused by guilt from unconfessed sin, you need to repent and ask forgiveness. Generally, the cure for being down is to hope in God and praise Him. Your hope in Him is well founded, for He is ever faithful to His Word. Are you discouraged? You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can praise God. (Psalm 42:1-11 Are You Down?).
Thelma Wells has a devotional entitled Call God! and notes that one of the names we should learn to call on is El Roi -
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5–6)
Some days this world seems to be just a big fat mess. On the news we see footage of war and destruction. People all over the country are being abused and misused, many right in their own homes. Children are acting crazy. Husbands and wives are abandoning each other and their kids. Churches are in upheaval, just going through the motions of worshiping God. Merciless killings and rampant crime plague our communities. People are losing their jobs and the economy looks like it’s going rapidly down the tubes. It seems like more people are physically sick today than ever before. In America, the richest country in the world, there are folks going to bed hungry and homeless. Schoolchildren have to pass through metal detectors to go to their classroom, lunchroom, or library. Drug and alcohol abuse is at an all-time high. Sexual perversion, promiscuity, and pornography are destroying lives and relationships.
I’ll tell you, some days I wonder if we’re in a submarine at the bottom of the sea, with no hope of seeing the sun on the water again.
What can we do when we feel like that? I’ve found a way to the surface. Repeat after me, and we can both be saved from our despairing moments: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
When all I can see is trouble everywhere I turn, I review the names of God to remind me of his goodness and how worthy he is to be praised. Then I give him a call!
When you need God’s power to help, call Elohim—God.
When you need the divine presence of God, call Yahweh— the Lord.
When you need the sacredness of God, call El Elyon—the Most High God.
When you need an overseer of your affairs, call El Roi—the God who sees.
When you need an all-powerful deity, call El Shaddai—God Almighty.
When you need a provider, call Yahweh Yireh—the Lord will provide.
When you need a helper, call Yahweh Nissi—the Lord is my banner.
When you need peace of mind, call Yahweh Shalom—the Lord of peace.
When you need a perfect Savior, call Qedosh Yisrael—God is morally perfect.
When you need a protector, call Yahweh Sabaoth—God is our Savior and protector.
When you need a God who will not die, call El Olam—the everlasting God.
When you need a God of righteousness, call Yahweh Tsidkenu—God is our standard for right behavior and righteous living.
When you need a divine presence, call Yahweh Shammah— the Lord is there.
When you need a God of ultimate authority, call Attiq Yomin—the Ancient of Days, who will one day judge the nations.
Right this minute I can feel refreshing air being pumped into my spirit, lifting it from the bottom of the sea to the surface where the light of God is beaming down on the cabin of my soul. My soul sings “Holy, Holy, Holy” to the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of your glory! Blessing and honor, dominion and power be unto you, Most High God. You are here for us in every area of our lives. Praise you because you are worthy of our praise!
My soul is no longer cast down. I am no longer disturbed. God has hoisted my soul from the depths to the light, by the power of his name. My spirit is irrepressible because he has filled it with hope. Hallelujah!
Oh, Divine Master, it’s so good to consider your name. Our only true hope lies in your character. Any time we feel like we cannot rise above the ocean floor, may your name fill our minds and lift our hearts in praise. We appreciate the wonder-working power of your name, God Most High. Amen. (Irrepressible Hope Devotional)
Keep the Melody Playing - A traveler visiting Amsterdam was intrigued by a chiming tower in the middle of the city Every hour when the melody was played on the chimes, he would watch and listen. He became so interested that he asked permission to climb to the tower room to watch the musician. Once he got there, however, he didn't hear any music. All he heard was the thump and bang of the keys. In the chime room there was nothing but a terrible clatter, yet beautiful music floated across the city. In a small way this illustrates the difference between what we see happening in our lives and the beautiful work God is accomplishing in us as He works through us. Often in the clatter and thump of life, we wonder what is happening. But if we are faithful to God and obedient to His Spirit, others will see and hear the beauty and harmony of Christ's life in us. Let's hope in God. No matter how discordant things seem, He keeps the melody playing. —P R. Van Gorder
The English poet Alexander Pope said, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast, man never is but always to be blessed." As Christians, we know there is only one sure and abiding source of hope, and that is God. If hope originated in ourselves, we would be cast into the depths of despair because life's complex problems have a way of squeezing every last ounce of it from our hearts. But when we trust God, hope abounds by the power of the Holy Spirit. In his book Live With Your Emotions, Hazen G. Werner quotes part of a letter from a woman who had run out of hope. She wrote, "A vile and ugly sin had dogged my way for years. My soul had been eclipsed in darkness. I began to feel I would never be emancipated from its grasp. Then one evening in the midst of my despair, I felt the impulse to say, `Thank you, God, anyway,' and for a moment it was light. I said to myself, `That must be the way.' I began to thank Him still more, and the light continued and grew, and for a whole evening I was relieved of my burden." What that woman seemingly stumbled onto by accident, the psalmist knew from experience. The power of gratitude can lift the weight of the most pressing trial. Turning the gaze of his soul heavenward, he saw God as an inexhaustible source of hope. When we get discouraged, we can talk to ourselves as David did: "Why are you cast down, 0 my soul? . . . Hope in God" (Psalm 42:5). No matter how dark the path, thank God for Himself. It will open a window to heaven and let in a ray of hope. —D.J.DeHann.
Hope, like an anchor, is fixed on the unseen.
Streams in the Desert - “Hope thou in God.” Oh, remember this: There is never a time when we may not hope in God. Whatever our necessities, however great our difficulties, and though to all appearance help is impossible, yet our business is to hope in God, and it will be found that it is not in vain. In the Lord’s own time help will come. Oh, the hundreds, yea, the thousands of times that I have found it thus within the past seventy years and four months! When it seemed impossible that help could come, help did come; for God has His own resources. He is not confined. In ten thousand different ways, and at ten thousand different times God may help us. Our business is to spread our cases before the Lord, in childlike simplicity to pour out all our heart before God, saying, “I do not deserve that Thou shouldst hear me and answer my requests, but for the sake of my precious Lord Jesus; for His sake answer my prayer, and give me grace quietly to wait till it please Thee to answer my prayer. For I believe Thou wilt do it in Thine own time and way.” “For I shall yet praise him.” More prayer, more exercise of faith, more patient waiting, and the result will be blessing, abundant blessing. Thus I have found it many hundreds of times, and therefore I continually say to myself, “Hope thou in God.”—George Mueller.
Look Up! - Read: Psalm 42:1-11 - Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him. —Psalm 42:11, Psalm 42:5 We all have moments in life when we get the “blues”—when we feel down and sadness engulfs us. The psalmist David was no exception. Speaking from his own experience, he cried out, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God” (Ps 42:11). That’s good advice for anyone who is facing discouragement. In the book of Acts we are told about an experience in the life of the apostle Paul while he was on a ship headed to Rome. A violent storm threatened to plunge the vessel and all its passengers to the bottom of the sea. One night, however, an angel of the Lord appeared and assured the apostle that not a person on board would perish. Paul believed that message and said to his fellow passengers, “Take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (Acts 27:25). Like the writer of Psalm 42, Paul put his hope in the Lord. Even though you may be fearful and discouraged, you can find reason for cheer if you look to the heavenly Father. Remember what David advised, “Hope in God,” and then say with the apostle Paul, “I believe God.” The next time you’re down, remember to look up! - Richard DeHaan
Lift up your eyes, discouraged one,
The Lord your help will be;
New strength will come from Him who said,
"For rest, come unto Me."
When you can't find a way out, look up!
"Self Talk" - In his book The Good News About Worry, William Backus recommends "truthful self-talk." He tells about Hester, who wanted to spend time with her grandchildren in another city but was afraid to fly. Finally she began telling herself, "Hester, you are safer in a commercial plane than in a car. If it should crash, it will only land you in heaven. Buy that ticket and get going." Hester eventually boarded a plane and visited her grandchildren. The writer of Psalm 42 engaged in a similar kind of self-talk. He was in the northern part of the country and could not go to the temple at Jerusalem where he longed to be apart of the worshiping community The people around him did not share his yearning, and they taunted him. He was deeply despondent. But instead of giving up in despair, he told himself that circumstances would change (vv 5, 11), and that God would make His presence felt by day and by night even in the north country (v. 8). As he talked to himself about the truths of God's character, he was encouraged and strengthened.—Herbert Vander Lugt
Self- Talk is most helpful when you talk to yourself about God!
Hope In God - Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. —Psalm 42:5. Looking at the western shores of Sri Lanka, I found it hard to imagine that a tsunami had struck just a few months earlier. The sea was calm and beautiful, couples were walking in the bright sunshine, and people were going about their business—all giving the scene an ordinary feeling I wasn’t prepared for. The impact of the disaster was still there, but it had gone underground into the hearts and minds of the survivors. The trauma itself would not be easily forgotten. It was catastrophic grief that prompted the psalmist to cry out in anguish: “My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?’” (Ps. 42:3). The struggle of his heart had likewise been turned inward. While the rest of the world went on with business as usual, he carried in his heart the need for deep and complete healing. Only as we submit our brokenness to the good and great Shepherd of our hearts can we find the peace that allows us to respond to life: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (Ps. 42:5). Hope in God—it’s the only solution for the deep traumas of the heart.
The Christian’s hope is in the Lord,
We rest secure in His sure Word;
And though we’re tempted to despair,
We do not doubt that God is there.
No one is hopeless whose hope is in God.
Finding New Hope (Read: 1 Kings 19:1-18) - "Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him." —Psalm 42:5. A woman who was widowed for the second time felt the loss deeply. She saw little reason to go on living. One day she got into the car with her young grandson. After securing him properly, she started the car without fastening her own seatbelt. When the 5-year-old politely pointed this out to her, she told him she didn’t care about her safety because she wanted to go to Jesus and Grandpa. The boy replied, “But Grandma, then you would leave me!” God used this youngster to bring to her the realization that He still had service for her to perform, and that her situation was not as hopeless as it seemed to be. During almost 50 years of ministry, I’ve seen many despairing people come to the place where they felt there was no way out. Like Elijah, they wanted to die (1 Ki. 19:4). God sustained them, however, and showed them that He still had work for them to do. They discovered that the situation was not as dark as they had thought and that God had a reason for them to go on living. Don’t give in to despair! Remind yourself of God’s goodness and love. Talk to Him. He will meet your needs. He’ll lead you in paths of love and light and joy where you will find new hope. (Herbert VanderLugt)
Beyond the losses of this life
That cause us to despair,
New hope is born within our hearts
Because our God is there.
Duty of Hopefulness - "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."—Ps. 43:5 - After a great disappointment in early life, Sir William Rowan Hamilton fell into deep despondence, and on one occasion was tempted to commit suicide. He thus writes to a friend: "I have once in my life experienced, in all but its last fatal force, the suicidal impulse. It was, as I full well remember, in the month of February, 1825, and when on my way from Dublin to this Observatory, for Dr. Brinkley had invited me to join a dinner party here. The grief which had recently fallen upon me was one which I feel even yet. I remember the exact spot where I thought for a moment of plunging, for death, into the water. A feeling of personal courage protected me (Ed: I submit this was the "voice" of the Holy Spirit!), revolting against the imagined act, as one of cowardice. I would not leave my post; I felt I had something to do. Alas! what practical irreligion and real unbelief were shown in that complete and prostrate despondence! I am now deeply convinced that along with resignation and heavenly hope, it is a duty to cherish also, if possible, a spirit of hope, though not of anxiety, with respect to this earthly existence, for to a sinful and tremendous depth, at the thought of which I shudder now, I have sounded long ago the abysses of the opposite spirit, and through God's grace emerged." (Anecdotes Illustrative of Old Testament)
Anne Ortlund - Parts of your life will be good, maybe even wonderful. Parts of your life will be bad, maybe awful. Don't fix your eyes too much on any of it. If you look too much at the good you'll get cocky. If you look too much at the bad you'll get defeated. Anyway, what's good today may be bad tomorrow, and what's bad today may be wonderful tomorrow. Nowhere does the Bible say to put your hope in life improvement; you'd spend your days in fear of disappointment. Hope in God. Fix your eyes on Him, and let Him give you what He wants to; for you it will all turn out to be good.
Rod Mattoon in a sermon on Job has the following discussion - Three times in Psalm 42 and 43 David said, Psalm 42:5; 42:11; 43:5—“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Looks like he was trying to make sure we got the message. Hope in the Lord will lead to praising Him no matter how difficult or dire your situation may be. Trust the Lord to work on your behalf. There was a man named Jeremiah Lanphier who lived in New York City during the 1850s. Those were years of tension, when the shadow of war loomed over America. There were strikes, depressions, failing banks, long jobless lines, and an air of simmering violence. In this setting, Lanphier accepted a calling as a full-time city evangelist. He walked the streets, knocked on doors, put up posters, and prayed constantly—all to no visible result. As his discouragement increased, Lanphier looked for some kind of new idea, some possibility for breakthrough. New York was a business town; maybe the men would come to a luncheon. So he nailed up his signs, calling for a noon lunch in the Old Dutch Church on Fulton Street. When the hour came, he sat and waited until finally a single visitor arrived. Several minutes later, a couple of stragglers peeked through the door. The handful of them had a nice meal. Lanphier gave his idea another go on the following week. Twenty men attended; at least it was a start, but then forty came on the third week. The men were getting to know each other by this time, and one of them suggested he'd be willing to come for food and prayer every day. Lanphier thought that was a good sign, and he ramped up his efforts for a daily meal and prayer time. Before long, the building was overflowing. The luncheon had to move again and again, so high was the demand. The most intriguing element of the "Fulton Street Revival," as they called the phenomenon, was the ripple effect. Offices began closing for prayer at noon. Fulton Street was the talk of the town, with men telegraphing prayer news back and forth between New York City and other cities. Yes, other cities had started their own franchises; other godly meetings were launching in New York. The center of the meeting was prayer, and it was okay to come late or leave early, as needed. Men stood and shared testimonies. This was not a place for the well-known preachers of the day. This was about the working class, businessmen who wanted to share the things of God. Some historians went so far as to refer to the Fulton Street Revival as the Third Great Awakening, because it lasted for two years and saw as many as one million decisions for Christ. Given the influence of New York City, no one could estimate the national and international impact that spread out from Jeremiah Lanphier's simple lunch breaks. It is well known, however, that great funds were raised for fulfilling the Great Commission and reaching people for Christ. Beloved, hope in God. Don’t let Satan devour your confidence in the Lord.
FOR I SHALL AGAIN PRAISE HIM:
For - Always pause and ponder and query this strategic term of explanation. What is the psalmist explaining? Clearly he is explaining that once "hope" settles into his soul and heart, words of praise come from his heart and out of his lips as praise. Have you praised Him yet this morning (today)? Perhaps you need a "heart check up" for He is worthy to be praised every day!
I shall yet praise Him - This is a great word for any one who finds themselves in the "dark night of the soul!" The psalmist says that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an on-coming train, but an omnipotent God Who is working praise in our soul! In short, our present downcast mood does not have to be the final act in our life’s drama.
Discouragement sounds a discordant note in our lives. We feel out of sorts and everything turns colorless. Praise has a way of dispelling the darkness. If you find yourself tossing and turning, consider a little night music: Psalm 42. Make it a prayer to the God of your life. (Quiet Reflections)
Praise (03034) (yadah) primarily means to acknowledge or confess sin (Lev 5:5, Lev 16:21 on the Day of Atonement, Lev 26:40, Nu 5:7, 1Ki 8:33, 35), God's character and works, or man's character. Yadah is also frequently rendered "praise" (1Chr 16:4) or "give thanks." (2Sa 22:50 - partially quoted in Ro 15:9; 1Chr 16:7, 8, 34, 35, 41, 23:30, 25:3, 29:13, Ps 7:17) At first glance, the meanings may appear unrelated. But upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that each sense profoundly illumines and interprets the other. Yadah overlaps in meaning with a number of other Hebrew words implying "praise," such as halal (whence halleluyah).
The Septuagint (Lxx) translates yadah in Ps 42:5 with the verb exomologeo (see root verb = homologeo) which in active voice means to agree, promise, fully consent (Lu 22.6), in the middle voice it can describe either sins openly confessed or acknowledged (Mt 3.6) or speak of grateful acknowledgment to God (e.g., extol, praise, thank) (Mt 11.25) and finally in some contexts speaks of an open expression of allegiance or acknowledgement (Php 2.11).
In Ge 29:35 (cp Ge 49:8) we see the name Judah (Yehudah) which is derived from yadah (Judah means "Praise Yahweh"). How wonderful that Jesus will return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, for He alone is the grounds and reason for any and all true praise! (Rev 5:5) (Wikipedia article on Judah)
Vine - Yadah overlaps in meaning with a number of other Hebrew words implying “praise,” such as halal (whence halleluyah). Man is occasionally the object of yadah; but far more commonly, God is the object. The usual context seems to be public worship, where the worshipers affirm and renew their relationship with God. The subject is not primarily the isolated individual, but the congregation. Especially in the hymns and thanksgivings of the Psalter, it is evident that yadah is a recital of, and thanksgiving for, Yahweh’s mighty acts of salvation… The vista of yadah expands both vertically and horizontally—vertically to include all creation, and horizontally stretching forward to that day when praise and thanksgiving shall be eternal (e.g., Ps. 29; 95:10; 96:7-9; 103:19-22). (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)
Swanson - 1. (hif) express praise, extol, i.e., make a public confession of the attributes and acts of power of a person (2Sa 22:50), (hitp) (2Ch 30:22) note: there is a focus on the content of praise, spoken out-loud, usually in the context of the community; 2. (hif) give thanks, i.e., give an expression of praise for a person, with a particular focus on the subject being engaged in the expression of thanks or praise (1Ch 29:13); 3. (hif) confess, make an admission, i.e., to publicly admit to something, usually a wrong of some kind (Ps 32:5; Pr 28:13); (hitp) (Lev 5:5; Da 9:4) (A Dictionary of Biblical Languages w- Semantic Domains- Hebrew)
Yadah - 111 verses which show a range of terms used to translate into English - confess(10), confessed(3), confesses(1), confessing(2), gave(1), gave praise(1), give you thanks(5), give thanks(59), giving praise(1), giving thanks(3), glorify(1), hymns of thanksgiving(1), making confession(1), placed(1), praise(17), shoot(1), thank(5), thanksgiving(1), throw down(1).
Yadah - 111 verses - Ge 29:35; 49:8; Lev 5:5; 16:21; 26:40; Num 5:7; 2 Sam 22:50; 1Kgs 8:33, 35; 1Chr 16:4, 7f, 34f, 41; 23:30; 25:3; 29:13; 2 Chr 5:13; 6:24, 26; 7:3, 6; 20:21; 30:22; 31:2; Ezra 3:11; 10:1; Neh 1:6; 9:2f; 11:17; 12:24, 46; Job 40:14; Ps 6:5; 7:17; 9:1; 18:49; 28:7; 30:4, 9, 12; 32:5; 33:2; 35:18; 42:5, 11; 43:4f; 44:8; 45:17; 49:18; 52:9; 54:6; 57:9; 67:3, 5; 71:22; 75:1; 76:10; 79:13; 86:12; 88:10; 89:5; 92:1; 97:12; 99:3; 100:4; 105:1; 106:1, 47; 107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31; 108:3; 109:30; 111:1; 118:1, 19, 21, 28f; 119:7, 62; 122:4; 136:1ff, 26; 138:1f, 4; 139:14; 140:13; 142:7; 145:10; Prov 28:13; Isa 12:1, 4; 25:1; 38:18f; Jer 33:11; 50:14; Lam 3:53; Dan 9:4, 20; Zech 1:21
William Gurnall on I shall yet praise Him
He is the skilful physician, who at the same time that he evacuates the disease, doth also comfort and strengthen nature; and he the true Christian, that doth not content himself with a bare laying aside evil customs and practices, but labours to walk in the exercise of the contrary graces. Art thou discomposed with impatience, haunted with a discontented spirit under any affliction? Think it not enough to silence thy heart from quarrelling with God, but leave not till thou canst bring it sweetly to rely on God. Holy David drove it thus far; he did not only chide his soul for being disquieted, but he charges it to trust in God.
Spurgeon on I Shall Yet Praise Him…
Sorrow deserves sympathy. But when believers refuse to be comforted, they act like the world. When a Christian is beyond comfort over the loss of creature goods, God’s name is degraded. Surely the professed truths never entered the soul. If the furnace is hot, let your faith be strong. If the burden is heavy, let your patience endure. Acknowledge that He who lends has the right to reclaim. As you bless the giving, bless the taking. There are times when the brightest-eyed Christians can hardly brush the tears away. Strong faith and joyous hope subside into a fear that is scarcely able to keep the spark of hope and faith alive. In times of gloom, when your soul is overwhelmed, grasp the promise and rejoice in the Lord. Although it is not always easy, cry with David, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” (Ps. 42:5). Question the cause of your tears. Reason until you come to the psalmist’s conclusion, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him” (Ps. 42:5). If you can believe God in the midnight of your soul, then you have ten times more cause to rejoice than to sorrow. If you can lie humbly at Jesus’ feet, there are more flowers than thorns ready to spring up in your path. Joys lie in ambush. You will be surrounded with songs of deliverance. Companions in tribulations, do not give in to hopeless sorrow. Salute with thankfulness the angel of hope, for you shall yet praise Him. (Spurgeon, C., & Clarke, R. H.. Beside still waters : Words of comfort for the soul. 1999)
Ray Stedman -
If you refer to the inscription with which this psalm opens, you will find that it is addressed to the Choirmaster, and is called a Maskil of the Sons of Korah. These inscriptions are part of the inspired record; they belong with the psalm and indicate something vital about it. Maskil is the Hebrew word for teaching. This Psalm is intended to teach something to us. What? Judging by the repeated refrain, it is intended to teach us how to handle our blue moods, the times when we get up in the morning and say, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?"
We all know that there are some mornings when we spring out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and say, "Good morning, God." There are other mornings when we only manage to pry open our eyelids, sit dejectedly on the side of the bed and say, "Good God, it's morning." These are the mornings that are in view here. The answer to each blue mood is, "Hope thou in God;" i.e., wait for God. He is working out his purposes and if you hang on you will yet praise him.
Just a word further on the inscriptions. The Sons of Korah were a family of singers in Israel who passed along their musical office from generation to generation, and were noted as an outstanding family of musicians. Several of the Psalms come from them. The experience which this psalm reflects was unquestionably David's, but it was put to music by the Korah Family Singers, and dedicated to the Chief Musician, or the Royal Choirmaster. Most of us believe that the blues songs began with The St. Louis Blues, but actually they began in Jerusalem with The King David Blues. Here is one of The King David Blues. It is designed to teach us a very important lesson: How to handle our blue moods, those times when you say to yourself, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?" Some scholars feel that the occasion which is reflected in this psalm was when David was excluded from the temple at the time of Absalom's rebellion. Late in David's reign Absalom took over the kingdom temporarily and David was driven into exile outside Jerusalem. It was probably on this occasion that he wrote this psalm. There is no mention of this in the psalm, but it clearly reflects a time of depression and frustration. But David does not accept that blue mood, that depression of spirit, as inevitable. He does something about it. The whole purpose of this psalm is to help us learn how to handle these times in our own lives. None of us need think that because we are Christians we shall escape times of depression; they will come. But when they come, we need to do something about them. I am afraid most Christians simply succumb to them. They just go along making everybody around them miserable because they are passing through times of depression. They are in a bad mood, and they wait for it to pass but do nothing about it.
Lest you think that some of the great saints have never had this kind of trouble, let me share with you a quotation from an outstanding theologian and preacher of the l9th century, Dr. John Henry Jowett. He once wrote to a friend,
I wish you wouldn't think I'm such a saint. You seem to imagine that I have no ups-and-downs but just a level and lofty stretch of spiritual attainment with unbroken joy and equanimity. By no means. I am often perfectly wretched, and everything appears most murky. I often feel as though my religious life had only just begun and that I am in the kindergarten age. But I can usually trace these miserable seasons to some personal cause, and the first thing to do is to attend to that cause and get it into the sunshine again.
That is what this Psalm attempts to teach us: how to get into the sunshine again. It is a teaching psalm designed for that very purpose. As we look at it you will note that it traces three stages of the Psalmist's experience, and at the end of each stage there comes the refrain that describes what brought him through, "Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God."
Now the first stage is one of intense longing and desire. (Psalms 42 - Ray Stedman Expository Studies)
FOR THE HELP OF HIS PRESENCE: (Ps 44:3 Ps 91:15,16 Nu 6:26 Mt 1:23 Mt 28:20)
Young's Literal has "The salvation of my countenance -- My God!"
Holman Christian Standard Bible has "my Savior and my God."
Berkley Version has an interesting translation as "My face healer."
Jesus assures us of His abiding presence in some of His last words to His apostles…
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo (A marker calling for us to "pay attention" = Behold! Look! Listen!), I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20)
Presence (06440)(panim/paniym/paneh) occurs over 2000x and is a masculine plural (it always occurs in plural in OT) noun which literally means face (Ge 43:31; Lev. 13:41; 1Kgs. 19:13). Paniym can be a substitute for the entire person (Ex 33:14,15). More often it is used figuratively. The Septuagint translates panim in this passage with the word prosopon which is literally "the eye (ops) toward (pros)" and thus the front, the face, countenance, appearance or presence. This makes God's Help very personal. He is not some distant, uninterested God! (Remember that next time you feel as if He has deserted you dear believer -- and memorize Hebrews 13:5-note!) The psalmist has a sense of God's presence. This reminds of those beautiful words "As for me, the nearness of God is my good." (Ps 73:28-note, cp Isa 58:2)
Usage: 1745 verses in NAS and is most often translated before(868), face(259), faces(49), presence(131), countenance(12), open(15), surface(26), sight(26), front(86),
Vine - panim (פָּנִים, 6440), “face.” This noun appears in biblical Hebrew about 2,100 times and in all periods, except when it occurs with the names of persons and places, it always appears in the plural. It is also attested in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Phoenician, Moabite, and Ethiopic. In its most basic meaning, this noun refers to the “face” of something. First, it refers to the “face” of a human being: (Ge 17:3). In a more specific application, the word represents the look on one’s face, or one’s “countenance”: (Ge 4:5). To pay something to someone’s “face” is to pay it to him personally (Dt. 7:10); in such contexts, the word connotes the person himself. Panim can also be used of the surface or visible side of a thing, as in Ge 1:2. In other contexts, the word represents the “front side” of something (Ex. 26:9). When applied to time, the word (preceded by the preposition le) means “formerly”: “The Horim also dwelt in Seir [formerly] … (Dt. 2:12). This noun is sometimes used anthropomorphically of God; the Bible speaks of God as though He had a “face”: (Ge 33:10). The Bible clearly teaches that God is a spiritual being and ought not to be depicted by an image or any likeness whatever (Ex 20:4). Therefore, there was no image or likeness of God in the innermost sanctuary—only the ark of the covenant was there, and God spoke from above it (Ex 25:22). The word panim, then, is used to identify the bread that was kept in the holy place. The KJV translates it as “the showbread,” while the NASB renders “the bread of the Presence” (Nu 4:7). This bread was always kept in the presence of God. (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)
Victor Hamilton - (pānîm). Face. This particular word always occurs in the plural, perhaps indicative of the fact that the face is a combination of a number of features. As we shall see below, the face identifies the person and reflects the attitude and sentiments of the person. As such, pānîm can be a substitute for the self or the feelings of the self. In the Bible the “face” (along with the other parts of the body) is described not merely as an exterior instrument in one’s physiology, but rather as being engaged in some form of behavioral pattern, and is thus characterized by some personal quality. It is only natural that the face was considered to be extraordinarily revealing vis-a-vis a man’s emotions, moods, and dispositions. A “hard” face is indicative of defiance (Jer 5:3), impudence (Pr 7:13), ruthlessness (Deut 28:50). A “shining” face is evidence of joy (Job 29:24). A “shamed” face points to defeat, frustration, humiliation (II Sam 19:5). A “flaming” face is one convulsed by terror (Isa 13:8). An “evil” face is a face marked by distress and anxiety (Gen 40:7). A “fallen” face stems from very strong anger or displeasure (Gen 4:5). To make a person’s face “sweet” is to conciliate him or seek his favor (of God; 1Kgs 13:6; 2Kgs 13:4). The KJV translates freely this last phrase “X sought/entreated the Lord.” But the Hebrew runs literally “X made sweet the Lord’s face.” Similarly, this idiom is used of man (Pr 19:6). The phrase “to hide one’s face” means to show aversion or disgust (Isa 53:3) and “to turn away the face” is to reject (Ps 132:10). Conversely, “to raise the face” of another is to show favor, respect, acceptance (1Sa 25:35), or show partiality and favoritism (Lev 19:15). Most of these idioms and phrases are also applied to God. God’s face “shines” (Ps 4:6) as a sign of favor and good will. His face may “fall” in anger (Jer 3:12). God may “hide” his face (Ps 13:1). Five times one encounters the phrase “to see God’s face” probably in the technical sense of visiting the sanctuary for cultic worship; Ex 23:15; 34:20 (KJV, “none shall appear before me”); Dt 31:11; Ps 42:2; Isa 1:12. In each of these instances the verb rāâ “to see,” is pointed as a Niphal, and is translated then “to appear,” the idea of “appearing before” softening the concept of seeing God’s face. In one case (1Sa 1:22) the Niphal is indicated by the consonantal text. The thought of lērāôt pānāy, Niphal infinitive construct, “to appear before God” is acceptable, even mandatory, but the possibility of lirôt pānāy, Qal infinitive construct, is inconceivable, according to Ex 33:20. There are some exceptions to this, for example, Jacob (Gen 32:30) and Moses (Ex 33:11). They saw God “face to face” pānîm el pānîm. A man must perish if he looks on or even hears God (Ex 19:21). For this reason Moses (Ex 3:6), Elijah (1Kgs 19:13), and even the seraphim (Isa 6:2) cover their faces in God’s presence. The man who remains alive after seeing God is overwhelmed with astonishment and gratitude (Gen 32:30; Deut 5:24); with awe (Jdg 6:22–23; 13:22; Isa 6:5). In the New Testament God is manifested in Jesus who alone has seen the Father (Jn 1:18; 6:46; 1Jn 4:12). Christ is not only the Word through whom God is heard. He is the image through whom God is seen. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
Help (translated "salvation" 61/77x)(03444) (yeshua see note on related word "Yehosua" in next paragraph) is from a root in Arabic = "make wide" or "make sufficient' sarar = "narrow," = "be restricted" or "cause distress." The idea of wide connotes freedom from distress and ability to pursue one's objectives. It means to move from distress (enemies, natural catastrophies, plague or famine, sickness) to safety which requires deliverance. Generally deliverance comes from some an outside source. The one who brings deliverance is known as the "savior." Yeshua may be used in everyday life free of theological overtones at a well Moses saved daughters of Reuel (Ex 2:17) but generally has strong religious meaning. And so we read Yahweh wrought deliverance - God of our salvation Ps 68:19-20. Yeshua can also describe salvation through human agents empowered by God. While the NT idea of salvation is primarily forgiveness of sin, deliverance from sin's power and defeat of Satan, the OT only begins to point in this direction. And so in the OT the majority of references to salvation speak of Yahweh granting deliverance from real enemies and out of real catastrophies.
John Phillips notes that ""help" is in the plural-literally it means "salvations." Not just "salvation," but "salvations.""
Note that there is a similar Hebrew word Yehoshua/Jehoshua (03091) which is the English Name Joshua (as translated in the OT), and which is the equivalent of the Name Jesus (Iesous) in the NT. Yehosua is from Jehovah (Yahweh) + yasha' (03467) and means "the LORD delivers." Yehosua is translated in the Greek (Lxx) as Iesous which is Name "Jesus" in the NT. Iesous means Yahweh saves. The root yasha' (see word study)' means "to save, to help, to deliver, to defend. The underlying idea of this verb is bringing to a place of safety or broad pasture as opposed to a narrow strait, symbolic of distress and danger." (Baker, W. The Complete Word Study Dictionary : Old Testament)
The Lxx translates Yeshua in Ps 42:5 with the Greek adjective soterios/soterion (from soter = savior) an adjective which refers to that which is pertains to the means of salvation = bringing salvation, delivering, rescuing and is used 5x (Lk. 2:30; 3:6 = Luke's uses clearly refer to the salvation wrought by the Savior Christ Jesus as does the use in Acts 28:28; Eph. 6:17; Titus 2:11). Soterios describes the act of delivering or saving from great danger or peril and of healing, protecting and preserving. In the original Greek text here in Titus 2:11 "soterios" is an adjective meaning "saving, bringing salvation" and describes the effect of this grace as being beneficent and redemptive.
Herbert Lockyer - Jesus (Iesous) means, "Jehovah Salvation." Salvation is not something, but Someone. "He Himself (autos, not merely like Joshua, He is God's instrument to save) saves His people from their sins. He was born a Saviour (Luke 2:11 - soter). In his profitable study YESHUA IN THE ΤENACΗ (the name Jesus in the Old Testament), Arthur E. Glass draws attention to the fact that the name Jesus is actually hidden in the Old Testament, being found about one hundred times from Genesis to Habakkuk. The author affirms that Every time the Old Testament uses the word salvation (especially with the Hebrew suffix meaning "my," "thy," or "his," with very few exceptions (when the word is used in an impersonal sense) it is identically the same word as YESHUA (Jesus). This is actually what the angel said to Joseph—Thou shalt call His name YESHUA (salvation). Author Glass then goes on to show how this works out in some of the Old Testament passages. What David actually said was, "I will rejoice in thy YESHUA" (Jesus) (Ps. 9:14). That Jesus was the fulfillment, embodiment, and personification of the oft-repeated term "salvation" is borne out in the great passage from the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, God is my YESHUA [a reference to Jesus in His pre-incarnate, eternal existence (John 1:1)]; I will trust, and not be afraid; for JAH-JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my YESHUA [Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 1:14)]. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of YESHUA" [Jesus crucified, waters of salvation flowing from Calvary (John 7:37-39)] (Isa. 12:2, 3). No other name has endeared the Saviour to our hearts, or has been enshrined in so many Christ-honoring hymns as JESUS. It will ever remain "sweet... in a believer's ear. It soothes his sorrows... and drives away his fears." (All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible)
Many names are dear, but His is dearer;
How it grows more as life goes on!
Many friends are near, but He is nearer,
Always what we want, and all our own.
Yeshua - 77 uses in the OT - NAS translates Yeshua as - deeds of deliverance(1), deliverance(6), help(4), prosperity(1), salvation(61), save(1), saving(1), security(1), victories(1), victory(1).
Genesis 49:18 "For Your salvation (Lxx = soteria) I wait (or trust or hope = qavah = invites us to look ahead eagerly with confident expectation and also calls for patience, reminding us that the fulfillment of hope lies in the future), O LORD.
Exodus 14:13 But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.
Exodus 15:2 "The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him.
Deuteronomy 32:15 "But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked-- You are grown fat, thick, and sleek-- Then he forsook God who made him, And scorned the Rock of his salvation.
1 Samuel 2:1 Then Hannah prayed and said, "My heart exults in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
1 Samuel 14:45 But the people said to Saul, "Must Jonathan die, who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Far from it! As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day." So the people rescued Jonathan and he did not die.
2 Samuel 10:11 He said, "If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the sons of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come to help you.
2 Samuel 22:51 "He is a tower of deliverance to His king, And shows lovingkindness to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever."
1 Chronicles 16:23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
2 Chronicles 20:17 'You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you."
Job 13:16 "This also will be my salvation, For a godless man may not come before His presence.
Job 30:15 "Terrors are turned against me; They pursue my honor as the wind, And my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
Psalm 3:2-note Many are saying of my soul, "There is no deliverance for him in God." Selah.
Psalm 3:8-note Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.
Psalm 9:14-note That I may tell of all Your praises, That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in Your salvation.
Psalm 13:5-note But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
Psalm 14:7-note Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.
Psalm 18:50-note He gives great deliverance to His king, And shows lovingkindness to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever.
Psalm 20:5-note We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
Psalm 21:1-note For the choir director. A Psalm of David. O LORD, in Your strength the king will be glad, And in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice!
Psalm 21:5-note His glory is great through Your salvation, Splendor and majesty You place upon him.
Psalm 22:1-note For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
Psalm 28:8-note The LORD is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed.
Psalm 35:3-note Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; Say to my soul, "I am your salvation."
Psalm 35:9-note And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD; It shall exult in His salvation.
Psalm 42:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
Psalm 42:11-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 43:5-note Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 44:4-note You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob.
Psalm 53:6-note Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores His captive people, Let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
Psalm 62:1-note For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.
Psalm 62:2-note He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Psalm 62:6-note He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
Psalm 67:2-note That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Psalm 68:19-note Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.
Psalm 69:29-note But I am afflicted and in pain; May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high.
Psalm 70:4-note Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, "Let God be magnified."
Psalm 74:12-note Yet God is my king from of old, Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth.
Psalm 78:22-note Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation.
Psalm 80:2-note Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your power And come to save us!
Psalm 88:1-note A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. For the choir director; according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You.
Psalm 89:26-note "He will cry to Me, 'You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.'
Psalm 91:16-note "With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation."
Psalm 96:2-note Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Psalm 98:2-note The LORD has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
Psalm 98:3-note He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Psalm 106:4-note Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation,
Psalm 116:13-note I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the LORD.
Psalm 118:14-note The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:15-note The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
Psalm 118:21-note I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation.
Psalm 119:123-note My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation And for Your righteous word.
Psalm 119:155-note Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes.
Psalm 119:166-note I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, And do Your commandments.
Psalm 119:174-note I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.
Psalm 140:7-note "O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle.
Psalm 149:4-note For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:3 Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation.
Isaiah 25:9 ¶ And it will be said in that day, "Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."
Isaiah 26:1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: "We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security.
Isaiah 26:18 We were pregnant, we writhed in labor, We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind. We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, Nor were inhabitants of the world born.
Isaiah 33:2 O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their strength every morning, Our salvation also in the time of distress.
Isaiah 33:6 And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.
Isaiah 49:6 He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
Isaiah 49:8 Thus says the LORD, "In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
Isaiah 51:6 "Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment And its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not wane.
Isaiah 51:8 "For the moth will eat them like a garment, And the grub will eat them like wool. But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation to all generations."
Isaiah 52:7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
Isaiah 52:10 The LORD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God.
Isaiah 56:1 ¶ Thus says the LORD, "Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.
Isaiah 59:11 All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.
Isaiah 59:17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
Isaiah 60:18 "Violence will not be heard again in your land, Nor devastation or destruction within your borders; But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.
Isaiah 62:1 ¶ For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet, Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, And her salvation like a torch that is burning.
Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD."
Habakkuk 3:8 Did the LORD rage against the rivers, Or was Your anger against the rivers, Or was Your wrath against the sea, That You rode on Your horses, On Your chariots of salvation?
Warren Wiersbe asks "Are you Down?" (From Back to the Bible)
Twice in Psalm 42 the writer asks: "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?" (Ps 42:5,11). Perhaps you have asked the same thing. Why do we have hours, sometimes days, perhaps weeks of depression and discouragement? There may be times when we are not at our best physically. I think of Elijah, who had that difficult experience on Mount Carmel when he battled the prophets of Baal and God sent fire from heaven. When it was over, he was tired. His nerves had been stretched to the breaking point, and he got discouraged and ran away. He needed food and sleep, so God sent an angel to feed him and give him rest.
Sometimes our depression is satanic. The Enemy is throwing darts at us. And instead of holding up the shield of faith, we fail to trust God. Those darts then start fires of depression and discouragement in our lives. Sometimes our depression comes from guilt because of unconfessed sin. Sometimes it's just sorrow because of circumstances. We may have lost a loved one or a friend. Sometimes we feel that we have failed and that everything has come to an end.
What's the cure for all of this? "Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance" (Ps 42:5). You have a secure future in Jesus Christ. The best is yet to come. Hope in God and start praising Him. The psalmist said, "I shall yet praise Him." But don't wait! Start praising Him now. I've discovered that when I get discouraged, the best thing to do is praise the Lord immediately. Praise is the greatest medicine for a broken heart. The psalmist praised God for "the help of His countenance." No matter how you feel or whatever your circumstances, if you'll look to the face of God, you'll discover that He's smiling on you.
How do you cope with discouragement? Certainly, if it is caused by guilt from unconfessed sin, you need to repent and ask forgiveness. Generally, the cure for being down is to hope in God and praise Him. Your hope in Him is well founded, for He is ever faithful to His Word. Are you discouraged? You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can praise God. (Recommended Resource to look at after you have done your own devotions in the Psalms - Prayer, Praise & Promises A Daily Walk Through the Psalms - Warren W. Wiersbe)
"Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed in me? Hope in God." Psalm 42:5
There is something singularly tender and touching in the enquiry that David here makes of his own soul. He addresses it as the faithful and tender companion of all his joys and all his sorrows—his treasure and his all. For if our soul be happy, we must needs be happy; if our soul be troubled, we must needs be troubled; if our soul be safe, we must needs be safe; if our soul be cast down, we must needs be cast down too. Not that there is any thought or feeling in man distinct from his soul—I mean not that. But David here addresses his soul, as being that which is the most precious part of man, redeemed at an infinite price by the blood of the Lamb; and the prosperity or adversity of which must ever deeply interest him.
In this touching and affectionate address to his soul, we may notice two things.
I. The question itself—"Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed in me?"
II. The encouragement that he addresses to his cast down and disturbed soul—"Hope in God."
I. The QUESTION itself—"Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed in me?"
It is evident from the very form of the question that David here puts, that his soul was "cast down." If it were not "cast down, and disturbed in him," the enquiry that he makes as to the cause of its disquietude would be utterly useless.
But we may take these words as applicable not to David only at the time he put the question, but as suitable also to the family of God who tread in the experience of David.
A. The first question David asks his soul is, "Why are you cast down, O my soul?" Let us look, then, at some of the things which cause the souls of God's people to be often "cast down" within them.
But, first, what is it to be "cast down?" It is to be depressed; to feel our soul bowed down within us; to be sunk low, in a low spot; to be brought off from presumption, false confidence, levity, profanity, pharisaism, and worldliness; and by the work of the Spirit upon us, to be brought into that low place, out of which nothing but the hand of the Lord evidently stretched out and his arm made bare can deliver us.
Now there are many things that cause the souls of God's family to be "cast down" from time to time within them.
1. The guilt of sin. If there be anything that casts the soul down more than another, that sinks it into a low spot before the throne of the Most High, it is the guilt of sin lying with weight and power upon the conscience. And when I speak of guilt, I do not confine it to the first convictions of sin produced by the law in the application of the spirituality of the commandment to the conscience—but I mean the felt sense of sin, as it pursues us all our journey through, as it perpetually rises up in our heart, polluting the conscience, and striving ever to regain the mastery. This it is that makes the guilt of sin lie with weight upon the soul.
I do believe, from soul experience, that one of the greatest, if not the greatest burden and trial to the child of God, is the daily, hourly, minutely, momently workings of sin. The adulterous eye, the roving heart, the defiled imagination, the constant stream of iniquity polluting every word and thought, every feeling and desire, is and must be a burden to the soul, just in proportion as the fear of God lives and works in a man's conscience. And whenever sin gets the mastery over us, though it be but for a short time, (I am not speaking here necessarily of gross sins, or of outward falls; for sin in some shape or other is perpetually striving to rule within where it does not rule without), guilt will as surely follow it as the shadow does the sun. But even where sin does not get the mastery, those whose consciences are tender in God's fear continually feel the workings of pride, hypocrisy, presumption, and self-righteousness; of carnal desires, of filthy lusts, of worldly-mindedness, and of everything that is hateful and vile in the eyes of a holy God.
No, do we not continually find how, in spite of all our desires, and all the resolutions we make (which are not wise in making) to the contrary, how instantaneously temptation sets fire to the combustible materials we carry within? and what an awful flame there is at times bursting forth in our carnal mind? These things, I am sure, will bring guilt, shame, and sorrow upon every conscience that is quickened to fear God; and just in proportion to the depth and working of godly fear in a man's soul will be the burden of sin from time to time upon his conscience.
2. Another thing that casts down the souls of God's family is the unceasing conflict which they have to maintain between those desires to live under God's leading; and those desires to live after the course of this world. In other words, the conflict between nature and grace, between the spirit and the flesh, will always cast down the soul in proportion to the intensity of the struggle. To be baffled, as we are hourly baffled, in all our attempts to do good; to find the carnality of our hearts perpetually obstructing every desire that rises in our bosom to be heavenly minded, spiritual, enjoy God's word, feel his presence, and live to his honor and glory; thus to have the tide of carnality and pollution perpetually bearing down every spiritual desire in the heart—must not that cast down the soul that covets nothing so much as to live under a sense of God's presence and favor?
And that this conflict should be a perpetual and unceasing one; that we should have so little respite from it; that it should not be merely now and then, but more or less, in proportion to the depth of godly fear, always be going on in our soul—must not this cast down the poor soul that is the subject of it? I am sure it cast me down day after day, and sometimes hour after hour, to feel such an unceasing and perpetual conflict between that in us which is spiritual, heavenly, and holy, and that in us which is earthly, carnal, sensual, and devilish.
3. Another thing which casts down the soul is the hiding of God's countenance; the inability to realize his most gracious presence, or feel the manifestations of his most precious favor. How continually the souls of God's people are cast down by reason of their inward darkness! When the Lord is the light of their countenance—when he supports them by his gracious word and Spirit, they are not cast down. But when they cry, and he does not hear; when they pour out their hearts before him, and get no answer; when in spite of all the tears that wet their cheeks, and the convulsive sobs that heave from their bosom, there is no word, no testimony, no sweet inshining, no precious flowing out of his gracious presence and love—must not that make the souls of God's people to be cast down within them?
4. The temptations that the Lord's people are so painfully exercised with, is another thing that makes their souls to be often cast down within them. There is in the bosom of the child of God a holy principle—as holy as God is holy, as pure as God is pure—for it is God's own nature, that is, his communicable nature, as we read, 2 Pet. 1:4, "partakers of the divine nature." This pure nature must ever hate sin, must ever loathe that which is opposed to Christ's image, must always painfully feel the presence and power of everything that is opposed to its spirituality, holiness, and purity.
Now, when a man is assailed with temptations to blasphemy, to curse and swear, to doubt the truth of the Scriptures, to question the very being of God, to disbelieve the Godhead of Jesus, to commit the worst of iniquities, and these temptations are perpetually struggling and striving for the mastery in his heart—must not this cast his soul down? What life, what power, what tenderness, what reality can there be in a man's religion, if he can feel the waves of temptation roll over his soul, and he as hard under them as a rock in the ocean?
Is it not just in proportion to the depth of the work of grace upon a man's heart—in proportion to the spirituality and liveliness of the new man of grace, that temptations are painfully and sensibly felt? Filth is no burden to the filthy; it is the clean who feel the disgusting nature of filth. And so spiritually. Sin to the dead sinner is no burden; temptation to those who have but a name to live is no sorrow. But to the "pure in heart" who shall see God, to the spiritually minded, to the partakers of the divine nature, to those in whose bosoms the Lord of life and glory is enthroned to them, just in proportion to the depth of the Spirit's work upon their heart, must temptation ever prove a burden.
Must not then the people of God be perpetually alive more or less, to the power of temptation? Where is temptation? It is in my bosom. Every lust and obscenity, every unclean bird of night, every base and black reptile—do I not carry about in my bosom a cage of these hideous and ravenous creatures? And will these beasts of prey lie torpid and inert in my bosom? Will not my old corrupt nature work, and that powerfully—desire, and that actively? Will it not rage, and that often abominably within?
If I carry, as I do carry in my bosom, a constant fountain of temptation; and if I have also in me a new principle that is born of God, and is conformed, in its measure, to the mind and image of Christ—must I not groan and grieve, being burdened by the temptations that are constantly springing out of my carnal mind? If I have any spiritual feeling, any tenderness of conscience, any divine life in my heart, any longing to bless and praise God, or any desire to fear him—will not my soul groan under temptation just in proportion to the depth of the Spirit's work in my conscience?
5. The many afflictions that the Lord's people have to pass through, is another cause of their souls being cast down. And the Lord means these things to cast them down. Afflictions and trials that never cast them down! Call them afflictions! it is but the name. The Lord in sending afflictions means them to do a certain work. We are high—they are sent to bring us low. We are often standing upon the pinnacle of presumption and confidence—and the Lord sends these troubles to put us in our right spot. We are proud—they are meant to humble. We are worldly—they are meant to purge out of us this worldly spirit. We are carnal—they are sent to subdue this carnality. We are often straying from the Lord into bye-paths—they are meant to bring us by wholesome corrections into the strait and narrow path that leads to glory.
Afflictions thereof which are not felt; that never exercise a man, and try his spirit—do not call them afflictions—they are not worth the name; to call them so is but hypocrisy and deceit. But if we "endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ"—if we are really among the afflicted people of God, we must expect at times to be cast down and burdened by troubles. Now the Lord sends afflictions for a special purpose; and this special purpose is, to cast down the soul, that he himself may have the honor of raising it up.
Many of the Lord's people are deeply afflicted by bodily afflictions; and those who pass through bodily afflictions (I am a living witness to it) know how they depress the spirit and cast down the soul; and how they open the door for Satan to come in, with many doubts and fears, and many distressing trials and exercises. But how good it is to be thus laid low, and kept low! What a check it is to the spirit of levity, frivolity, worldliness, and folly that there is in our carnal mind! What heavy weights and burdens are needed to have this horrible and abominable levity and frivolity kept effectually down! Now a man cannot be very light and trifling who has a suffering body, and is continually depressed in his spirit by the bodily afflictions he passes through; nor can there be much room for lightness and frivolity in a man's soul, when his poor body is racked with disease and pain. The Lord therefore sends these bodily afflictions upon his people, in order to mortify and subdue that wretched spirit of frivolity which is usually so active in them.
Others of the Lord's family are cast down by heavy temporal afflictions. The Lord does not see fit that his people should have this world's honors, riches, and prosperity; they could not stand it. Riches, honors, prosperity, an easy path, do not suit the family of God. They puff up with pride, feed the spirit of worldliness, lead a man into bye-paths, and take him away from the company of God's poor exercised family. The Lord, therefore, for the most part exercises his family with temporal afflictions, with poverty, with distressing circumstances, and thus casts them down, and keeps them down that they may not be lifted up and so drawn away by temporal prosperity.
Others of the Lord's family have to pass through heavy family afflictions and trials. A dear wife is taken off—a beloved husband is torn from a wife's bosom—a child is smitten down with the hand of disease—or else, the children, instead of being comforts, grow up to be burdens and sorrows to their parents. By these afflictions the Lord often casts down the souls of his people.
Others of the Lord's people are cast down by their evidences being beclouded; by many anxious doubts and fears as to the reality of the work of grace upon their souls; by seeing and feeling so little of the love of God shed abroad in their hearts; by having the depths of their unbelief and infidelity open up to their view, and being thus made to fear lest "concerning faith they some day may make shipwreck."
Many are the causes (each "heart knows its own bitterness") why the souls of the Lord's people are cast down within them; and this is the case, not only now and then, but more or less unceasingly. For they need continually to be put into a low place; they cannot bear much prosperity. They need to be well plagued and exercised, that they may prize divine consolation, and feel that nothing can support and bless them but the hand of God alone.
B. But David puts another question to his soul—not differing much from the first, but still having a slight distinction—"Why are you disturbed in me?" The expression, "cast down," refers more especially to present feeling; but the word, "disturbed," refers more to the anxiety of the soul in looking to the future.
The causes of trouble in the heart of a child of God are often of this two-fold nature. Not merely does present sorrow and affliction cast down the soul at the time; but it is disturbed at the prospect of the future. This ever will be the tendency of affliction and sorrow. Could we see the rainbow in the cloud, and feel assured the sun would soon shine forth, half the trouble would be taken away. But to see the whole atmosphere enwrapped in misty darkness; to view clouds rising upon all sides of the horizon; not to behold one ray of light piercing through the dark gloom—it is this which makes the soul not merely "cast down" for the present, but "disturbed" for the future.
Thus when under guilt, there will be disquietude until pardon is sweetly experienced. When under afflictions, there will be disquietude and doubts how the afflictions will terminate. When engaged in conflict with the enemies of our soul's peace, there will be disquietude lest we should be overcome in the battle. When the body is afflicted with pain and disease, disquietude may be felt whether it will end in death. When family afflictions press down the mind, there will be disquietude what the result may be. In a word, whatever be the source of sorrow that casts down the soul, from the present trouble and present affliction there will be almost necessarily many an anxious glance towards the future, many a watching whether the cloud gives any indication of dispersion, many fears lest the thunder-storm, whose roar we hear in the horizon, and the flashes of which we perceive afar off, will not approach nearer and nearer, and burst wholly upon us.
So that when the soul is cast down, distressed, and burdened, it is not merely so with what is taking place at the present; but suspicions and disquietudes arise as to what will be the outcome, as to what we may expect, and as to what we may fear for the future.
How gracious and merciful was it of the Lord to cause the soul of David thus to be exercised! How kind and tender it was of him to cause him, by the pen of inspiration, to record in the sacred Scriptures his painful experience! We have reason to bless God for it. Many of the Lord's dear family have had to take this enquiry into their lips, and with a burdened heart, cry aloud, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed in me?"
II. But we will pass on to the ENCOURAGEMENT that David proposes to his own soul. It was, as I hinted, the tender and affectionate partner of all his sorrows; and he desired it to be also the tender and affectionate partner of all his joys. "Hope in God."
He here addresses himself to his own soul, as though he would cheer it onward, as though he would hold forth to it some prospect of relief, as though he would lay the strong arm of consolation beneath it that it might not utterly sink, as though he would encourage it to look for better times, as though he would say, "My soul, cast not away all your confidence—Hope in God."
This will enable us to look a little at the foundation of the encouragement, strength and relief that David proposed to his soul—"Hope in God." What is the source—what is the fountain of hope—of all true and spiritual hope—such as David here encourages his soul to look to?
"Hope in God" springs from various causes. We will endeavor to enumerate a few. But observe. There can only be hope in God, just in proportion as we are brought into a state to need it. The Lord throws nothing away in providence; and the Lord will throw nothing away in grace. Those who have deeply scrutinized the works of God as Creator have admired the simplicity and perfection of his creative hand; nothing is given that was not needed, nothing is withheld that could not be spared; no scantiness on the one hand, no waste or profusion on the other. So it is in the kingdom of grace, as in the kingdom of nature—no good withheld from those who walk uprightly, no superfluous good wildly lavished upon those who do not need it. Thus we must be brought by the Spirit into a state and case to need these encouragements in order that we may have them. Consolations without afflictions, liftings up without castings down, communications out of Christ's fullness without previous emptyings, are but delusions. The one must be suitable and proportionate to the other. Preparation for God's bounty is indispensable. If that preparation do not take place, blessings suitable cannot come.
1. Thus, one source of hope in God springs out of the invitations that the Lord has given in his word to the poor and needy, to the exercised and distressed, to the burdened and sorrowful. For instance, the Lord says, "Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28.) "Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else." (Isa. 45:22.) "Him who comes unto me, I will never cast out." (John 6:37.) These invitations, addressed in God's word to certain characters, are applied from time to time by the blessed Spirit with dew and power to the soul, so as to encourage it to hope in God.
You will observe, that the Psalmist here encourages his soul to hope in God. Not in God's mercy, not in God's faithfulness, though both these are needed. But, if I may use the expression, he takes his desponding soul beyond the attributes of God to hope in the Person of God himself. So that, in order that there may be this hope in God, springing out of the suitability and preciousness of the invitation addressed to certain characters, there must be in the heart and conscience a personal knowledge of God—and this springing out of his own manifestations to the soul, and the communication to the heart of that precious faith by which the invitations are received into the affections as set forth in the Scriptures of truth.
Now the effect of the suitability and preciousness of the invitations flowing into the heart and conscience is to raise up a hope in God. It may not be a hope that affords strong consolation; it may not be a hope that entirely overcomes despondency. But yet it shall be a hope that shall raise the soul up from the waves. It is something like a buoy at sea, or the life-boat in a storm; it may often be dashed by the waves that beat upon it, yes, so dashed as to be hidden by the foam. But let there be a subsidence of the troubled waters, let the waves and billows cease, then we see the buoy again; that sure mark of the anchor beneath is not lost, though it may be hidden for a short space from the view. Thus, hope in God springing out of the suitability, sweetness, truth, and preciousness of the invitations, as they flow with power into the conscience, supports the soul under the waves of doubt and despondency, although it may feel the foam often dash over its poor desponding head, and even fear that it may prove a castaway.
2. But there is a "hope in God" springing out of the past testimonies that he has given to the soul. And this is what David seems here especially to allude to. He says, "O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore will I remember you from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar." In the land of Jordan, and the Hermonites, God had appeared conspicuously for David; and the little hill Mizar had been raised up in his heart and conscience by some testimony from God. He looked to that spot, and stood upon it as a foundation for his hope.
Now every intimation of God's favor that we may have received, every token for good that we may have experienced, every glimpse and glance, every believing view of a precious Christ, every feeling of the power of atoning blood in the conscience, and every manifest shedding abroad of divine love, is a testimony to which the soul may at times look; and if it could always look there, it would not be cast down and disturbed; nor would David need to raise up his soul and encourage it to hope in the Lord from past testimonies—I believe myself that when our testimonies are beclouded, we would look back for comfort to things we have gone through, but darkness rests upon them. It is with us as with Job; when he went forward, he could not behold; and when he went backward, there was darkness still. When the soul is cast down, testimonies are but dimly seen—If I may use so familiar an illustration, it is like passing through a deep cutting in a railway; we cannot see the country on either side, though there it is in all its blooming beauty.
So, as we pass through the deep cuttings in the soul, we cannot see our Mizars, our Ebenezers. They are there; the testimonies remain the same—but just in proportion as we sink, do we sink out of their sight. But David would encourage his soul to hope still in God; he would softly remind it of what it had sweetly experienced. This encouraged his poor troubled heart still to hope in God, looking for better times, and trusting that the Lord would shortly appear.
3. But again; "hope in God" will sometimes spring from a sight of scriptural evidence raised up by the Spirit of God in the heart. Observe, I draw a distinction between testimonies and evidences. All testimonies are evidences; but all evidences are not testimonies. The fear of God in a tender conscience; the sacrifices which a man has been enabled to make for God and truth; the hungerings and thirstings after Jesus; godly sorrow and contrition of soul; pantings, longings, and cryings after the Lord—these are evidences. But still, though evidences, we cannot rely upon them as we can rely upon testimonies. They are not strong enough to bear the soul up. We can see and admire them in others, and believe them to be in their case gracious marks of the Lord's teaching; but when we look into our own bosoms, we cannot see these evidences as distinctly in ourselves as we see them in others.
In others, we see the fear of God unmixed; in our own hearts, we seem often mingled with servile fear. In others, we see tenderness of conscience; but in our own case, we often feel hardness of conscience. We see others looking out of self; we feel our own hearts full of self. We see in others simplicity and sincerity; we feel in ourselves a corrupt and hypocritical nature. We see in others that which clearly bears the mark and stamp of God; we see in ourselves so very much that bears the mark and stamp of Satan, that we cannot read the mark and stamp of the Lord equally clear. So that the very evidences we admire in others, we cannot rest upon in ourselves, especially when these evidences are beclouded, especially when guilt, shame, and fear rise up in our heart, and cast a lowering cloud over these marks of the life of God in the soul.
But there are times when the Lord's people are kept from utter despondency by the possession of these evidences. The pouring out of soul in prayer, though it does not bring deliverance, yet often gives relief. The workings of a tender conscience cannot deliver a man from the feelings of guilt; but the workings of a tender conscience are an evidence of the Lord's having begun and carrying on a work of grace in the heart. The pantings, longings, and thirstings after Christ in his beauty and glory—these are not satisfactory evidences oftentimes to the soul; yet they do at times relieve it from that despondency and despair into which it otherwise would sink. So that there are times and seasons when these evidences are so beclouded as not to appear as evidences; and again there are times and seasons when these evidences are shone upon by the Holy Spirit, and then they stand forth as evidences.
I will illustrate my meaning by a simple figure. You travel in a dark and cloudy day in the country; you see but little of the steeples and towers of the towns and villages; they are all dark and gloomy. You travel through the same country on a bright and sunny day; the whole scene is changed, and adorned with beauty; the tall spires and towers of the towns and villages are lighted up with the golden rays of the sun, and the whole aspect of the landscape is changed. Yet its features are exactly the same on the lowering and gloomy day, as when they are rendered conspicuous by rays of the sun.
So spiritually. Hungering and thirsting after God, godly fear, love to Jesus, simplicity, spirituality, heavenly-mindedness—these are all evidences. But there are times and seasons when dark clouds hover over us, when these landmarks in the soul of what God has done for us are enveloped in darkness. They are there, though they are not seen. But when the light and life of the Spirit, and the shinings in of God's countenance illuminate the dark and gloomy heart, then these evidences stand forth, and shine in the blessed light of God's favor and presence, as evidences of the work of grace in the heart, and then the soul is enabled by them to "hope in God."
Now just in proportion to the "hope in God" will be the soul's relief from being cast down and disturbed within. The reason that we are downcast often in our soul is because we cannot exercise this "hope in God." The anchor is still within the veil; the ship rides securely; it is not carried down the tide of sin; it is not borne down the stream of an ungodly world; the vessel is at anchor; and though the waves and billows that dash against its sides may hide the cable that holds the anchor, yet there is a secret power which keeps the ship in her place.
The child of God never entirely loses his hope; he never utterly loses his trust in God; his faith never totally deserts him. What else is it that supports his soul from sinking into despair? What keeps him from plunging into the filth and abominations of his lustful heart? What preserves him from altogether giving up the very profession of religion? What keeps him from open blasphemy and infidelity? Is there not a secret power in his soul, invisible to himself, acting in a mysterious way, and holding him up, so that concerning faith he does not make shipwreck?
Perhaps some of you have made a profession many years, and many have been the waves and billows that have passed over your head; and the longer you live, the more will these billows roll. Never expect to be long at ease; and if you are spiritually-minded, you cannot bear the thought of being at ease. I can speak for myself; I would sooner have trials, temptations, troubles, exercises, crosses, and sorrows—feel my soul kept alive by them, and enjoy the presence and favor of God in them, than be at ease in Zion, and settled upon my lees, or have all prosperity, and know no changes nor reverses. But who has raised up your soul amid these waves and billows? Have you not sometimes been tempted to cast away all your confidence? Have you not sometimes been so cut up by guilt as to do you think never could lift up your head before God and his people again? Have you not been so carried away, at times, by some master sin as to fear lest it break out and bring you to open shame? Have you never got weary of religion altogether; and feared a time would shortly come when you would be made manifest as an hypocrite? And have you not waded through many other inward and outward trials which I cannot enumerate? trials which none but a man's own soul can know; for each heart knows its own bitterness—each one is best acquainted with his own sorrows, burdens, and perplexities.
We cannot breathe them all into the ears of our best friend. We admit our friend sometimes into the ante-chamber, into the outer court; but who has ever taken his friend into the inner chamber of his heart's secrets? I never have, and never can. There are depths there that the eye of man never has looked into; none but the eye of God is privileged to look into the very center of the heart. Child of God! is it not so? What then has kept you during all this storm? What has held you up secretly, when you have resolved upon some sin?—when you have contrived it, plotted it, planned it, and in a fit of wild despair at its vile workings in your heart, have felt that you would plunge into the sin today, though you jumped into hell tomorrow. What kept you? Was there not a secret power that held you up in this storm?
When doubts and fears and despondency almost made head in your heart, was there not a secret, "Who can tell?" a longing looking to the Lord, though you might be, with poor Jonah, in the very belly of hell, with the weeds wrapped round your head? and though you may have almost despaired of ever coming forth into the light and liberty of God's countenance, what held, what kept you from utter despair? Was there not a secret breathing of your soul Godwards? a mysterious laying underneath of the everlasting arms? a sensible going out of your whole soul and spirit into the bosom of Immanuel?
Or when you have backslidden—(and who dare say that he has never backslidden in heart, lip, or life? What! No adulterous eye, no roving heart, no filthy idol that has carried you away captive, and cut you up with guilt and shame?)—but when in this backsliding state, what kept you from utterly abandoning the place where God's word is preached, and turning your back upon the Lord's people, and the cause of God and truth? What brought you upon your knees, made you confess your sins, and caused tears of sorrow to roll down your cheeks, and the sobs of contrition to heave from your bosom? What held you up in these storms? Was it not the mysterious, the secret workings and operations of God the Spirit in your conscience, enabling your soul to hope in God; still to look to, lean upon, and pour out your heart before the Lord—to rely upon his word of promise, and to believe that whatever he might do would be right?
Now, by some of these encouragements would David support the affectionate partner (his soul) of all its cares and sorrows, as well as of all its joys. He would cheer her up as she traveled the strait and narrow road, breathe into her ear a little encouragement, and not allow her to cast away all her confidence. He would still endeavor to lay his friendly arm underneath her, and support her in the rough and rugged path—"Why are you cast down, O my soul?" Is the case altogether hopeless? Are you utterly disconsolate? Is there not a faithful God to go to? Is his mercy clean gone forever? Are the fountains of his grace and love dried up? Is the love of his bosom exhausted and withered?—"Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed in me?" Is there not an ever-living, ever-loving Jesus to go to? Is there no blessed Spirit to support you? Is there no kind bosom to lean upon? What! are you like the world, that when they are cast down, the only relief (if relief it can be called) is to sink altogether out of their own feelings? No, my soul—(he would thus seek to encourage the affectionate partner of his sorrows and joys;) No; the case is not desperate with you; it is not altogether lost and forlorn; while God the Father rests in his love; while the Savior is in the presence of God for you; while his blood can plead; while his love can comfort; while his presence can support; while his favor can bless, there is still encouragement for you. "Why then, are you cast down? All these things are working for your good; peace and joy can only spring out of trials and exercises."
The people of God are predestinated to walk in the paths of tribulation—no "strange thing" has happened unto you; nothing but what is the lot of saints. Have not the family of God trodden these paths before you? Did not the Son of God travel this dreary road? Was he not made perfect through sufferings? Did he not pour out his heart to God in strong cries and tears? Then "why are you cast down, O my soul?" If these things were to destroy you—if these griefs were to cut you off without hope or help—if these trials were to crush you in the dust without remedy—if these temptations were for your entire destruction—then, my soul, you might be cast down.
But when you have such sweet encouragements, such gracious support, such abundant promises—such a God, whose truth cannot be impeached, whose mercies cannot fail—such a High Priest of covenant faithfulness and superabounding grace—such a Three-One God to lean upon—"why are you cast down?" The present is painful; but will not the present pain be made up by future pleasure? The future is dark; but is not the Lord, who has helped hitherto, a present help; and will he not provide for the future? Has he not promised, "As your day is, your strength shall be!" Has it not passed from his faithful lips—"Your shoes shall be iron and brass?" Do you not know that the mercies of God fail not—that they are for evermore? Then, "why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed in me?" This is your remedy. I know that you are disturbed; and I know what your poor dark, anxious bosom is heaving with. But still "hope in God," for there is no care or restless disquietude for which the Lord is not your remedy.
How tenderly David—or rather, the Spirit of God in David, encourages his poor soul—"Hope in God." The soul's expectation shall not be cut off; Jesus still lives and reigns within the veil. "Hope in God." The time will come when "I shall praise him who is the health of my countenance and my God," adds the sweet Psalmist of Israel. "And believing I shall yet praise him; believing he is the health of my countenance; believing he is my covenant God and Father—I will hope in him, and not give it up; but still look unto him, and lean upon his everlasting arms which cannot fail, and his love that endures for evermore."
Now is not this precisely suitable to the state and case of every child of God here who is cast down and disturbed? Does not the same God live and reign, who lived and reigned when David wrote? Are not his consolations the same? Is not his love the same? Is not his faithfulness the same? O, it will be our mercy if our numerous causes for being cast down, if our numerous sorrows, anxieties, and disquietudes, lead us away from the creature, to "hope in God;" and to believe that we shall yet praise him, "who is the health of our countenance and our God."
Do you find yourself from time to time in the “slough of despond” like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress (Read about Christian's encounter & rescue!) or like Jeremiah who declared “My strength has perished and so has my HOPE from the LORD" (Lam 3:18) or like Job who declared “"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle and come to an end without HOPE” (Job 7:6)? We have all been there, haven't we? But the GOOD BOOK offers us a "GOOD HOPE BY GRACE" (2 Th 2:16), giving us His Good Word for what to do when we feel HOPELESS or in despair. In Ps 42:4, the psalmist had lost his joy which led to the Spirit inspired, soul reviving principle recorded in Psalm 42:5: “Why are you in DESPAIR (cast down, depressed), O my soul? And why have you become DISTURBED (groaning, in turmoil) within me?” Then the psalmist reveals the powerful principle for reviving a downcast soul - “HOPE IN GOD, for I shall again praise Him for the HELP (Hebrew = Yeshua = Savior ~ Jesus!) of His presence.” But what does the psalmist mean when he commands himself to "hope"? Hope is the Hebrew word yahal which means to wait, to rest in expectation, to remain stationary until the arrival of some PERSON or EVENT. For believers the PERSON is Jesus our HOPE (1 Ti 1:1) and the EVENT is His Second Coming (Titus 2:13) which includes the consummation of our salvation and our "adoption as sons, the redemption of our body" (glorification - Ro 8:23). And so HOPE is not hype but is a very real and ever present invitation to look ahead eagerly and with confident expectation that the best is yet to come.
Corrie Ten Boom said it this way "Look around and be distressed. Look inside and be depressed. Look at Jesus (our Hope) and be at rest." Indeed we must continually fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2), for outside of Him, there is no hope! We need to recall that Jesus understands what we are experiencing for He Himself said "My soul is DEEPLY GRIEVED (in Lxx same word as "despair" in Ps 42:5) to the point of death," (Mt 26:38) and thus He is able to "sympathize with our weaknesses." (Heb 4:15). Indeed, "since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is ever able to come to the aid of those who are being tempted." (Heb 2:18).
As John Piper says “we must fight the fight of faith (1Ti 1:18, 6:12, 2Ti 4:7). We must PREACH to our SOULS a sermon of hope…We must set before our own soul the banquet of promises that God has made to us and feed our faith to the full (Ro 10:17, Mt 4:4, 1Pe 2:2). Then it may be said of us as it was of Stephen and Barnabas: “They were filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 6:5, 11:24) (Ed: Recall that what “fills” us controls us! Ep 5:18).”
"Brethren beloved by God" (1Th 1:4), are you cast down and discouraged? You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can still choose to Hope in God. The great preacher C H Spurgeon was subject to frequent bouts of dark depression and so could testify from his own experience that "HOPE IN GOD is the BEST CURE for DESPONDENCY. When you have no hope in yourself, nor in your graces, nor in your experience, “hope in God.” He is loving, faithful, powerful and true, so “hope in God.”… If you cannot do anything else, yet HOPE. The New Zealanders call HOPE “the swimming thought,” because when everything else is drowned, up comes HOPE at the top of the wave. You cannot drown HOPE! Snatch from the altars of the FUTURE, firebrands (pieces of burning wood) with which to kindle the altar of TODAY."
Note in Ps 42:5 how our choice to HOPE precedes & invigorates our desire to PRAISE. When we preach to our soul the truth of His “saving help,” this promise of His presence for perpetuity lifts our soul so that we are enabled to respond with praise to Jesus. As Spurgeon affirmed "I am not always going to be low. I have hung the harp upon the willows, but I have not broken its strings. I shall take it down again. “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” If He does but look upon us. If He does but have pity upon us, let us be content with that, and abide His time." And so when we find ourselves in the "slough of despond," feeling downcast and without hope, remember that our Faithful God always provides the way of escape (1Cor 10:13), which in this case is to preach to your soul “Hope in God.” "As old Master Trapp says, “David tries to talk David out of the dumps; and he does well.” Here were two Davids… David that was down and David that was up, and David draws David up. So you, too, if you are a little low tonight, should let your better, godlier self talk to yourself." (Spurgeon)
Remember that the psalmist's command to HOPE does not mean, cross your fingers & hope it comes to pass. It does not mean, God might work for you. Instead, to HOPE means to be confident that God will surely cause all things to work together for your good and His glory (Ro 8:28)! Be strong in God and His promises! Preach to your soul this sermon about the full assurance of hope (Heb 6:11), an absolute assurance of a future good from God. If this were just a pious optimism that “everything will turn out all right,” it would be an utterly worthless sentiment. What makes the command to HOPE IN GOD valid is that it is based on the promise of the “non-lying” God (Titus 1:2, Nu 23:19) that His people "shall behold His face in righteousness… (and) be satisfied with (His) likeness when (we) awake." (Ps 17:15, cf Rev 22:4). Even Job (see below) testified “after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” (Job 19:26-27NLT)
In Lamentations, Jeremiah looked around at Jerusalem & the Temple in utter ruins and not surprisingly found his “soul….bowed down within” (Lam 3:20). And although he doesn’t quote Ps 42, it is clear that he practiced the powerful principle portrayed in that psalm, the principle of “Hope in God”, writing “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.” Then Jeremiah explains what he recalled to his mind, testifying that “The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22-23) He goes on to “quote” his own soul affirming that “The LORD is my portion. Therefore I have HOPE IN HIM (“Hope in God”). The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he WAITS silently for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam 3:24-26).
Job was suffering unimaginable despair and yet like the psalmist, by the grace of God, Job was enabled to PREACH HOPE to his downcast soul declaring “Though He slay me, yet I will HOPE (same Hebrew verb as in Ps 42:5) in Him” (Job 13:15). Job made a decision of his will, not based on the way he felt, but on his confidence in God to "preach to his soul" that he would wait expectantly for a future event, the hope of the resurrection. Affirming his confident HOPE IN GOD Job asked “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will WAIT until (not “if”) my CHANGE comes.” (Job 14:14, cf Job 19:25, 26) Beloved we like Job should be expectantly awaiting our great HOPE, that glorious day, when “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…we shall be CHANGED” & will “put on the imperishable & immortality,”(1Cor 15:52-53) & when forever “Death is swallowed up in victory." (1Cor 15:54). Now, that's a sermon to preach to ourselves! As Spurgeon so poetically put it, preaching hope to our soul is “like the singing of Paul and Silas, (for it) looses chains & shakes prison walls. He who can use such heroic language in his gloomy hours will surely conquer. In the garden of hope grow the laurels for future victories, the roses of coming joy, the lilies of approaching peace.” John Piper adds that "the best sermon you preach to yourself this week may be only three words long: HOPE IN GOD!"
May God grant us Spirit enabled desire & power to preach hope to our souls in our times of dark despair and "may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and GOOD HOPE BY GRACE, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word." Amen (2Th 2:16-17)
Below is a link to the great hymn BLESSED ASSURANCE by Fanny Crosby who was physically blind (certainly a reason to be downcast), but by God’s grace she was enabled to spiritually see into the future & to describe our BLESSED HOPE (Titus 2:13) with the beautiful words "WATCHING AND WAITING, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love". As God's grace enables, may we like the psalmist, like Jeremiah, like Job and like Fanny Crosby choose daily to set our mind on the things above and not on the things that are on the earth (Col 3:2), so that we might “AGAIN PRAISE HIM” (Ps 42:5), as the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9) puts a song in our soul enabling us to joyfully sing…
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Marinate your mind with Truth of Biblical Hope
F B Meyer's Devotional
May 19 THE SILVER LINING IN THE DARK CLOUD
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God."-- Ps 42:5, Ps 42:11; Ps 43:5
THESE TWO Psalms are evidently one. See how the same refrain rings through them both! They are generally allocated to that sad time in David's history, when the rebellion of his favourite son, Absalom, drove him as an exile beyond the Jordan (2Sa 15:14). But amid the great sorrows that rolled over his soul, there was one glad ingredient. Thrice over the Psalmist encourages himself to Hope! For many a sorrowful soul, this is a true emblem. Amid all the disappointment and despair of life, there is always one chord of Hope--God! We may stand amid the wreck of our earthly hopes. Through misconduct or mistake, as the result of folly or sin, we may have reduced ourselves and those dear to us to the last degree of misery; but the soul may always turn from its low estate to God, sure that He will have mercy, will abundantly pardon, and will turn again the adverse pressure of the tide.
See how the broken-hearted may still speak of God! This man had grievously sinned. He seemed to have forfeited all claim on God's recognition and care. He had brought shame and disgrace on the cause of religion. All down the years the story of his wrong-doing would give the enemies of truth abundant reason to blaspheme. And yet see how he dares to speak of God! He describes Him as the God of his life, as his Rock, as the Health of his countenance, the God of his strength, and the Gladness of his joy. This is a great lesson! We may change, but God changes never. We may turn our face from Him, or allow some evil thing to loom between ourselves and the clear shining of His face. But he shines on, and when we confess our sins, and put them away, we find ourselves afresh in the clear shaft of His illuminating rays. You may have lost all hope in yourself, your friends, your circumstances, but you must never lose your hope in God.
The past, which can only be viewed with repentance, is forgiven; the present, in which God is willing to be All-in-all; the future, when again the soul shall praise Him with joyful lips.Hope looks into the future.
I shall yet praise Him.
PRAYER - Our Father, forgive, we pray Thee, our murmuring and discontent, our perverseness and waywardness. Teach us to discern the silver edge of the lowering clouds, and to trust Thy love, which is leading us safely and by a right way to our home. AMEN.