Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
4 When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
This is one of my favorite Psalms since a young age, in the Spanish Bible the word pants is translated “brama” (cry) which shows a sense of need but also of desperation, here is expressed the idea of desperately looking for, longing for God: “Como el ciervo brama por las corrientes de las aguas” the live of the deer depends on that water. The Hebrew word translated as ‘pants‘ is the Strong’s Dict. # H6165, we can find this word only 2 times in the Old Testament, 1 time here in Psalm 42 & the other time in Joel 1:20 where is translated as CRY : “The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” this is a cry of desperation, of thirst & hunger. We could even say it’s a matter of life or death.
“but when he is hard hunted, and nearly spent, he will take to some river or brook, in which he will keep as long as his breath will suffer him. Understand that when a hart is spent and sore run, his last refuge is to the water; and he will commonly descend down the streame and swimme in the very middest thereof; for he will take as good heede as he can to touch no boughes or twygges that grow upon the sides of the river, for feare lest the hounds should there take sent of him. And sometimes the hart will lye under the water, all but his very nose; and I have seene divers lye so until the hounds have been upon them, before they would rise; for they are constrayned to take the water as their last refuge.” – Tuberville’s Art of Venerie, chapter 40: Lond. 4th., 1611.
Barnes’s Bible Commentary says: “The word (hart/deer) is masculine, but in this place is joined with a feminine verb, as words of the common gender may be, and thus denotes a hind, or female deer. ”
This shows the cry if not a male deer looking for a female deer, like some people may imply.
On verses 3, 9 & 10 we notice there is distress by the oppression of the enemy, who mocks continually with the phrase “Where is your God?” The enemy is always working to saw seeds of doubts into our hearts. This Psalm can be applied to our situation today, that we don’t go to a church to fellowship & to sing praises to our God as we normally used to. This is a time of great distress that can cause discourage & depression to many, even believers. (Vs. 5- Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?). But we have the answer of what to do in this kind of situation.
What is the answer for the downcast soul?
1/We earnestly look for God, He is our Refuge, our Rock. (Psalms 27, 37, 46, 91, etc). We have the example of a deer yearning for water, its life depends on finding it. (If you wondered far from Him then just repent & confess your sin). LET US CRY OUT TO HIM!! Our Savior!.
2/ We sing praises & wait on Him. – Vs.5 & also emphasized on vs. 11 “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him” We praise Him in the midst of our circumstances, before we had an answer, that’s faith that pleases Him. Heb.11:6. We wait on Him remembering when He saved us & how He had helped us before, also we wait by reading Psalms or Bible passages that encourage us, we talk to HIM (we pray) & praise some more. This isn’t a shallow or quick communication but a constant deep yearning & praying. Vs. 7 “Deep calls unto deep.”
3/ God has not forgotten you!!
Vs. 8, The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with you— vs. 11 In seeking the help of His countenance, the psalmist understood that the answers were not within himself, but only in the living God, our Deliverer! We look up! like the deer. – Our Lord Jesus humbled Himself coming in the flesh & also took our place to paid for our sins, He will rescue you & He will get you out of the situation, just put your TRUST in HIM alone, & not in men. He will provide for you! Bless Him! Praise Him! He is worthy! Hallelujah!