Psalm 42

As a deer longs for flowing streams,

so my soul longs for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and behold the face of God?

My tears have been my food day and night,

while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:

how I went with the throng,

and led them in procession to the house of God,

with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,

a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my help and my God. My soul is cast down within me;

therefore I remember you

from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts;

all your waves and your billows have gone over me.

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,

and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?”

As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me,

while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.


From Tom Chafin, Pastor

First Christian Church, St. Albans

Although the writer of this moving psalm is not named, most believe David to be its author. If so, he probably wrote it during a strained family relationship with his third son (Absalom) when David was separated from his people, his throne and his wealth. During that time, he endured the oppression of his enemies and rumors that God had forsaken him.

This psalm depicts the struggle we often experience between pessimism and optimism as we vacillate between doubt and faith, despair and hope, looking at our circumstances and then looking at God.

The psalmist still referred to God as his “rock.” God was his solid strength and defense. Even though he felt that he had been forgotten, he knew that such could not possibly be the case. Even as he felt the painful mocking and sarcastic words of his adversaries, he continued to hope in God. He continued to believe that God would change the expression of his face to gladness. The psalmist did not lose hope or faith during his struggles.

We should not forget that God never forsakes nor forgets us even

if life’s circumstances overwhelm us. Remember that God is near, and nothing can separate us from His presence or concern.


In life, in death, in life beyond death, you are with us, O God,

and we shall praise you now and always. Amen.