This devotional was penned by Eduardo.
As I read Psalm 42 today, I was reminded of the powerful hymn “As the Deer” by Robin Mark. It was one of the first Christian hymns I discovered. Martyn Nystrom was the original writer, he says that the entire writing process of the hymn only took a few minutes as he simply started to sing the message of Psalm 42:1 “right off the page”. Seems like cheating right? Well, many can over-complicate the composition of a Christian song. I encourage you to go and have a listen. I feel this complements today’s reading well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBppKZ0eJlQ .
In Psalm 42 we encounter a writer, who served as a temple musician (1 Chronicles 6:31-38). He is far from Jerusalem, his land, not being able to worship in the house of God. His situation is delicate, difficult and through it all, he is going through a spiritual low. Jesus spoke of his soul in a very similar way in Gethsemane - “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38).
How does the Psalmist deal with these challenging times?
1. Through it all, he still praises God, affirming God’s sovereign love - “by day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me” (verse 8).
2. Further, he is ‘thirsty’ for God - This is vital because he is not thirsty for relief from his current circumstances, more than that, he is thirsty for God himself (verse 1-2).
3. And finally, he also preaches to himself - “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God…” (Verse 5).
We can sympathize with the writer of this Psalm as he speaks of missing the house of God (verse 4). But whatever situation we find ourselves in, as the Psalmist does, may we praise God and remember his sovereign love above all. That we can likewise, thirst for God. Yes, we also want relief from our tough situations but God himself is more important. It can be that we idolatrize the solution of a problem, worshipping God only if everything is ok in our lives, but that’s not how it should be. And finally, let us preach to ourselves, primarily the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that makes us free, independent of what situation we are living in.