Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?
Scripture: Psalm 42:1–42:11, Psalm 43:1–43:5
Key Truth: The Christian life contains seasons of dryness, of being overwhelming, of feeling burdened with sorrow, however there is a greater hope in the steadfast love of God worthy of praise even during these seasons.
Have you ever struggled with depression or thought your situation would be improved if you died?
“(Psalm 42-43 are) an important dialogue between the two aspects of the (Psalmist), 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.”
Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72
Dry Seasons in Desert Places: The Streams of Mercy of the Living God
“Israel is to remember God’s wonderful acts and proclaim them aloud among the worshiping congregation in the temple. They are to testify among the nations to God’s gracious dealings with them. Memory in Israel is not a private act of momentary recall but a continuous communal rehearsal of divine faithfulness. Much of the temple worship seems to have been focused around proclaiming the mighty acts of God ad offering thanksgiving and praise for them….Forgetting is a willful act of ‘unlearning,’ whereby rebellious humans reject what they have known and —through lack of commitment, disobedience, and refusal to transmit the truth—seek to create a world in which God does not act or exist. Such humans are able to cry (as the enemies do in our psalm): ‘Where is your God?’”
Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms, Vol. 1: The NIV Application Commentary
Have you endured a dry season spiritually? What role did remembering God’s faithfulness play in bringing you refreshment?
The Overwhelming Flood: The Saving Comfort of God’s Steadfast Love
“The meaning [of v. 11] is, I shall praise Him as He who shall change my marred form, and give me beauty; who shall change my humiliation into exaltation; who shall in my case, and then in the case of all my people, exchange the wilderness and its parched sands for the kingdom and its rivers of pleasure.”
Andrew A. Bonar, Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Did God’s steadfast love bring you comfort?
Weighed Down with Sorrow: The Light that Leads to Hope and Praise in God
“The inner feelings express themselves in questions, despair, and hope in God. The questions are overtaking him. Yet, while hemmed in by the questions in his desperate situation, he still could engage himself in dialogue. There was no voice from God. In the loneliness of alienation, his faith was tried and triumphed! Faith and doubt are twins; and when doubt seemed to triumph, true faith calmed its questions. Faith answered. Faith despairs and despair hopes!”
William A. VanGemeren,
“Psalms” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary,
Vol. 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
Have you ever been weighed down with sorrow? Did you seek the light of God’s truth to give you hope and help you to praise Him?
Psalm 42-43 teaches us that we will sometimes experience seasons:
-of dryness in which we should remember the refreshing faithfulness of God in worship
-of being overwhelmed in which we should rest in the comfort of God’s steadfast love
-of feeling burdened with sorrow in which God’s truth leads us to hope in and praise Him