Praying the Psalms

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This devotional is written by Dan Fox.

Psalm 42

Book II Psalms 42 - 72 Psalm 42

 For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

 1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One[d] with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon - from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock, 'Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?' 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

Reflection

Psalm 42 starts with this lovely picture:

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.

Many of us will have perhaps seen pictures of a deer calmly drinking from a trickling stream - but I think this picture would be more accurate if it had an out of breath deer, desperately looking for a drink. I don't know about you but there have been many times in my life where I have been desperately looking for God.

As the psalmist goes through the psalm, they are longing for God, thirsty for him, crying out for him. And repeated through the psalm is this reminder:

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."

In the middle of all this oppression and horrific stuff that is going on; throughout the psalm, the psalmist has to remind themselves to put their hope in God saying 'I shall again praise him'

Verse 4 talks about how much they long to go to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise - I think many of us can relate to that at the moment - whilst it is great that we can meet in the same place again in person, I'm really looking forward to when we can praise together.

And as this psalm reminds us, and we might need to remind our selves, 'put your hope in God for we will again praise him!

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