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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 42



Verses 1-11

Psalms 42:1. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

“As the hart panteth” or “brayeth.” And if such be your soul’s panting after God, you shall have what you pant for. Sooner or later, God will manifest himself in grace to the man who cries after him in this fashion.

Psalms 42:2. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : —

“My soul, my very soul, thirsteth for God, the living God.”

Psalms 42:2-3. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

That is another of the taunts of the ungodly. Just now, they said, “When shall he die and his name perish?” Now they cry, “Where is thy God?” “You said that he would help you; you were sure that he would comfort you; you were confident that he would draw near to you; and now you are crying and panting after him, and have not got what you want: ‘Where is thy God?’”

Psalms 42:4. When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me :-

That is not a good thing to do; if you do pour your soul out, do not pour it into yourself again. There is little gain when you merely empty your grief out of yourself into yourself. I have known many a man lay his burden down, and then take it up again directly. That is poor economy; the way to get rid of the sorrow is to pour out your hearts before God. There is no wisdom in doing what the psalmist says he did: “I pour out my soul in me:”—

Psalms 42:4-5. For I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?

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 cast 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.

Psalms 42:5. Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

“I know I shall; he will yet look at me. I shall not always be in the dark; wherefore, let me begin at once to praise him.” It is well sometimes to snatch a light from the altars of the future, and with it to kindle the sacrifices of the present: “I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”

Psalms 42:6. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

From the little hill I will think of all thy former love; — all the sacred spots where thou hast met with me, all the lonely places where thou hast been my comfort, and all the joyful regions where thou hast been my glory. I will think of these, and take comfort from them, for thou art an unchanging God; and what thou didst for me aforetime, thou wilt do for me again and yet again.

Psalms 42:7. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Here is a great storm; here is a man, not merely on the sea, but in the sea;

with not only some waves beating upon him, but with all of them going over him; and those not common waves, but God’s waves. That is a Hebraism for the biggest waves, Atlantic billows; all these have gone right over him, yet see how he swims. Hope in God always crests the stormiest billow.

Psalms 42:8-9. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

See what liberties saints take with God; how they reason with him, how they argue with him; and God loves them to do so. Are you not pleased with your child when he urges reasons why you should do this or that for him? You are glad to see that he has mind enough to think of these things, and confidence enough in you to expect you to be affected by his pleadings; and the Lord loves his people to discourse with him. “Put me in remembrance,” saith he, “let us plead together.” “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” If we reasoned more with God, we should reason less with ourselves. There is a good reason for reasoning with God, but it is often unreasonable to reason with yourself.

Psalms 42:10-11. As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? 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.

It is curious to see the duplicate man here; he talks to himself as “thou,” and yet he says “I.” “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance.” First, he said, “I shall yet praise him for the health of his countenance;” now it is “the health of my countenance.” When God helps us with his countenance, then our own countenance soon grows bright and healthy. “Who is the health of my countenance,” says the psalmist; and then he comes to the sweetest note of all, “and my God.”

“For yet I know I shall him praise,

Who graciously to me,

The health is of my countenance,

Yea, mine own God is he.”

Oh, sweet word that! May each of us be able to reach it! Amen.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 41, 42.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 42:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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