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PSALM 42

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: 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? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: 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 holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. 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. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 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? 1As 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."

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

Any Bible student is familiar with the words. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?"

Here we have a discouraged Believer!

But not for long. He has hope! For the very same verse continues as he encourages his own soul: "Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His Countenance." Psalm 42:5

The Psalmist's amazing and inspired logic here just demands that we study this Psalm! Holy Spirit inspired I mean! Psalm 42 only has eleven verses. And we shall begin, of course with the first one.

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

The "hart" is a masculine noun spelled "ayal" in Hebrew. It means a little deer, a male deer, the animal. Synonyms include stag and buck.

The Psalmist, likely David I think, is accustomed to the outdoors. He may even now be running from an enemy! David from Saul who sought to kill him! Or from Absalom who wanted the Throne of Israel! He would have been hiding in caves and living in the wilderness probably. He would have observed and learned the way of the deer!

The verb "panteth" is "arag" and can mean "to cry," but here carries the meaning of "longing for" water! Breathing hard after exertion, usually accompanied by extreme thirst! I read once while studying the Son of Solomon that these deer thirsted the most after having battled a serpent, one of their mortal enemies! They trample such poisonous snakes to death, at great personal risk too!

The word "brooks," in Hebrew "aphiyq," means streams or even rivers. It is only used 19 times in the whole Bible! "Water brooks" imply moving water, living water! It is spiritually a picture of our Almighty God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Living Water! And the Holy Spirit Who is a Spring of Water gushing up in our souls!

Has anyone reading here today ever "thirsted" for God?

Sure you have, Spirit-filled Christian Brother or Sister!

This yearning for God is typical in the Psalms. For example, Psalm 63:1. "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is."

Or: "My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning." Psalm 130:6

If David is in the desert as he experiences these events, he would have often been thirsty! Water is essential anytime, but critically so in a dry and arid environment!

By the way, the "heart" was a strong sleek lovely animal, clean in its lifestyle. Again in the Song of Solomon it is a picture or type of the Bridegroom, of Christ Jesus ultimately!

I'll tell you this for sure. Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom, thirsts after Water too! After His Father in Heaven! He preached about water in John 4 and John 7. "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink," said our Lord.

He Himself thirsted on the Cross too! His shortest utterance from Calvary was simply: "I thirst!" John 19:28

Friend, today are you thirsty for God?

For His Word?

For His Second Coming?

If not, maybe you need a little more "salt" in your diet. I understand that will create thirst in a hurry!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 2:

The Psalmist, perhaps David in Psalm 42, reveals much about his character by simply telling us what he most desires! Read with me: "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" Psalm 42:2

Biblically speaking, God can be sensed and experienced and apprehended via the senses, the spiritual senses.

Look! Psalm 34:8 says "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." God can be metaphorically tasted! That verb "taste" can also mean "to perceive" and is so used once in the King James Version of the Bible. Yet this "tasting" is made parallel with "trusting" in the second half of this short yet inspired sentence!

God also has a sense of "smell!" Paul, writing in 2 Corinthians 2:15, declares "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish." The noun "savour" means "smell." When God comes to see us, things smell good! The Bride plainly says to the Bridegroom in Song of Solomon 1:3 that he smells good! "Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee."

God can, through faith, also be seen! "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Jesus said this in Matthew 5:8. And Moses endured ... "as seeing him who is invisible." Hebrews 11:27

God certainly can be heard spiritually! Hundreds of times individual Prophets recorded: "The Word of the Lord came unto me saying ...." See Jeremiah 1:4.

God can even "touch" a man! Jesus did, many times while on earth. Concerning a leper we read that Jesus was "moved with compassion, and put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean." Mark 1:41

Spiritual senses!

Little wonder then that the Psalmist hungers and thirsts for God! "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"

The verb "thirst" translates "tzsame" and each of the ten times it appears in Scripture it carries the idea of lacking and then craving water! Strangely, however, here in verse 2 it is expressed as a "completed action" verb! The thirsting was real, but it has been quenched ... permanently! God can do that! At least when we get to Heaven where ... "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." Revelation 7:16

Now David here seeks not just any god, but the Only God! The Only True God! The Living God! This adjective, "chay," not only means alive, but sustaining life too! It can mean eternally living also, and does so with God in view! If "chay" is used of a river, it means flowing! If it's used of grass, it means green! If used of springtime, it means budding! You get the picture I'm sure.

Then comes the clause that reveals David's heart.

"When shall I come and appear before God?"

He wants God!

He wants, I believe, to go to Jerusalem and to go to the Temple and to offer Blood sacrifice and to worship and praise God! To hear the songs of Zion! To fellowship with the dedicated people of God!

Yes indeed! You can tell a lot about a man or woman by just listening to what he or she desires or craves!

The verb "appear" translates "raah" and means "to look at, to perceive, to inspect or even to consider!" And now the specific verb action being described is continuous, constant, durative, habitual! Worshiping is a lifestyle to this Psalmist! He wants to go to God's House again and again, as long as he lives!

But, as we are about to see in Psalm 42, something is hindering David from going to worship. Enemies have blocked his way to Jerusalem. And he is frustrated! Upset!

He, long before they were written by Paul, is exhibiting obedience to these words: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

Yes, a real born-again saint of God will want to go to Church!

Such a desire was implanted at the moment of salvation!

Jesus did, customarily!

Watch the capitalized words: "And Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16

I rest my case!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 3:

Did you ever get so discouraged that you couldn't eat?

David did!

More specifically, the writer of Psalm 42 said: "My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?" Psalm 42:3

The noun for "meat" really is "lechem" and is translated "bread" 237 times in the King James Bible. It means food or grain or even fruit on one occasion.

Constantly, when the sun was hot and then later when the sky was dark, those being the literal definitions, this Psalmist wept ... day and night!

Why?

Because of something that had been said to him!

Words can hurt!

Listen to Solomon in Proverbs 18:8. "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." This truth is so important that Scripture repeats it! "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." Proverbs 26:22

The noun "talebearer" above means a "whisperer!" The Hebrew word is "nirgan." These people are murmurers or backbiters! To backbite is to attack someone ... behind their back, usually verbally! The expression is derived from a verb that means "to roll to pieces!"

The word "wounds" comes from a term that means "to swallow" or "to gulp!" Vicious words can literally swallow a person, engulfing him or her in sorrow or grief or anger or hatred!

Literally, "the innermost parts of the belly" depicts the "living room" of one's insides! The "parlor" of your heart!

David weeps non-stop!

He can't eat!

This condition is persistent, for days and maybe even weeks!

But, what was said that has so affected him?

His enemies, who hated his godly living, charged: "Where is thy God?"

This barb may not be as directly aimed at the Psalmist ... as it is directed toward his God!

Their hateful skeptical reasoning goes something like this.

What good thing has your God done for you lately?

He has you running from cave to cave!

You're hungry and thirsty!

You are in mortal danger!

You are hated!

Your are worried and fearful!

Is this the way God rewards your sincere lifestyle?

God is under suspicion here, being maligned ... and David is upset!

This godly man can't handle His God being so blasphemed!

He will not forebear God's Name being impugned or blasphemed or belittled!

It has affected him physically!

So much so that his appetite is gone!

He weeps for days!

He longs to honor His God!

Do remember that David is called "a man after God's Own Heart!" God said so in Acts 13:22. "God raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."

God's honour is a priority to David!

God promised back in 1 Samuel 2:30, "For them that honour me I will honour." He means that too!

We Christians today sure face a dilemma in this area of life!

God is mocked nearly everywhere it seems.

Such irreverence grieves His Heart too.

Maybe today, our age, is the time when the second beatitude should be predominant in our lives. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

Sociologists tell us that a man may be defined by what makes him happy, what pleases him!

A man can be accurately evaluated by what disturbs him too!

Again, listen to our Psalmist today: "My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?"

David cared.

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

VERSE 4, LESSON 4:

Do you ever fondly remember attending some great Revival Meeting?

Or Camp Meeting?

Or that rare occasion when you got to hear in person some great Man of God?

Or maybe just going to Church every Sunday Morning or Evening?

The delight of it!

The thrill of it!

The power of God's Word!

The good fellowship!

The godly excitement generated by that evangelistic piano and organ music!

The fervency of that Choir singing the old songs of Zion!

King David, or at least the author of Psalm 42, is experiencing some of those feelings.

In today's verse he remembers bygone days at the House of God! "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 holyday." Psalm 42:4

These thoughts constitute sweet memories for David. "When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me," he declared.

In David's time, all the Jewish males in the nation had to journey to Jerusalem to worship God three times a year! They often took family with them too. Think of walking to God's House, the Temple, with that "multitude!" This word is only used once in the Bible! "Sak" means a throng of people! Thousands likely!

The verb "went" translates "dadah" and means "to move slowly" or "to walk deliberately!" What a way to go to Church! Every step has meaning!

The noun "voice" is "kol" in Hebrew and means a loud sound or noise or even thunder!

"Joy" is "rinnah" and means "a shrill sound." It implies a rather easily heard cry of joy or even joyful singing can be involved.

"Praise" is "todah" and means literally "extending the hand!" Lifting holy hands unto the Lord! It also implies thanksgiving and praise.

The second use of "multitude" results from a different noun, "hamon," which is a loud roaring crowd! Their sound can be heard from a distance.

To "keep holyday" employs the verb "chagag" which suggests making a spiritual pilgrimage or observing a religious feast or festival like those of Leviticus 23. It can also mean "to reel to and fro," even physical excitement being implied. In the King James Bible it's even "dancing" once, in 1st Samuel 30:16.

David, not currently being able to go to Jerusalem and worship, misses such activity immensely!

He thinks of those holy things eagerly. "Remember," the verb, translates "zakar" and just means "to call to mind."

The lack of freedom to go to God's House causes the Psalmist intense stress it appears. "I pour out my soul in me," says David.

"Pour out" is "shaphak" and means to "shed" or allow to "gush out" or even to "spill."

The "soul" is the "nephesh" or very innermost life of a person. His mind, his will or emotions or his very heart.

David is "torn to pieces" on the inside ... because he can't go to the Temple and worship His God!

What an admirable attitude!

How godly!

How do we feel about Church?

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 5:

The Psalmist, writer of Psalm 42, is depressed. At least I think that's what his condition would be called today.

But it is a short-lived depression, thank the Lord!

I've never before heard of depression with its own death sentence riding onboard!

Read with me Psalm 42:5. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."

The verb "cast down" is spelled "shachach" and means "bent low" or "stooped down" or even "humbled." It is only used 21 times in the Old Testament. In Psalm 44:25 a human soul is "bowed down" to the dust! Pretty low!

"Disquieted" is "hamah" and means to growl or murmur or rage! Found 34 times in the Bible, it is translated in ways like: uproar, tumultuous, clamorous, loud and noise!

Both the above verbs are imperfects, revealing on-going incomplete action. David's very state of mind had become one of depression. At least, for a while.

Now the antidote!

The depression breaker!

And do remember this is likely coming from the lips of one who had already at times "encouraged himself in the Lord!" So says 1st Samuel 30:6.

"Hope thou in God!"

The verb "hope" is "yachal" and means "to tarry, to wait, to expect," and even twice in the King James Bible ... "to trust!"

It is framed as an imperative too! David is literally commanding his soul to have hope!

Hope in God, Elohiym God! The Triune God! The God of Power! 

"For I shall yet praise Him for the help of His Countenance!"

God is going to lift up the Light of His Face upon me, thinks David! Believes David! Nearly insists David! Trusts David!

He knows God that well!

So much so that he is praising God ... before the event occurs!

The verb "praise" is taken from "yadah," meaning to throw, to cast, to shoot or to hurl! This pictures someone raising his or her hands as if to loft a kiss of thanks toward the Lord God Almighty in Heaven! And just as the state of being "cast down" was continuous, at least for a while ... so the state of praise is continuous, for a considerably longer while it appears!

And then the noun "help" is wonderfully spelled "yeshuah!" It means deliverance or salvation! It's nearly the Hebrew word for Jesus' very Name!

By the way, "countenance" is "paniym," or Face! As a plural, which it indeed is here, the Trinity is absolutely in view I believe.

God's Face is made known in Jesus!

Talk about an emotional roller-coaster, David starts low in verse five, but ends high! Victoriously high!

Nearly in Heavenly Places in Christ Jesus!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 6:

The Psalmist confronts depression in an unusual way. At least he does so in Psalm 42. Let me show you what I mean.

"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." Psalm 42:6

He begins with a statement of assurance, even when in such a discouraged state!

"O my God" he calls. This is not a flippant taking of God's Name in vain either. It is a reverent cry to Elohim, our all Powerful and Triune God! When one's problems are mounting it sure helps to know for sure that you have an Almighty and Caring God in Heaven! And that He is yours! In covenant relationship! Your Heavenly Bridegroom! Your Lord and Saviour!

This assurance presents an unfair advantage to poor old depression! It's nearly defeated before it gets started. When a man KNOWS His God, and His God is the Only Living God, all distractions are at a great disadvantage!

Then the Psalmist makes a great confession. This is the second of three times in this Psalm that he so admits his being "down in the dumps." Listen: "O my God, my soul is cast down within me ...."

The verb "cast down," like its previous usage just one verse earlier, suggests an on-going state of depression. It describes man when he is nearly at his very lowest point, emotionally anyway. And maybe volitionally too. The first time "shachach" is used in the Bible, Job 9:13, it is translated "stooped." David's soul here is all "stooped down" under a heavy load.

To "remember," using the verb "zakar," means "to recall or to record or to bring to mind" something. This verb also is one of incomplete action. As long as David is depressed, "cast down," he will call to mind, "remember," his personal God! "My God," he calls Him! Here is David habitually thinking about God! That's also called meditation.

Then three things about God David can't forget. He chooses to recall. "I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar."

These three places, Jordan and Hermon and Mizar, held special significance for David.

Jordan, "jarden" in Hebrew, means "descending" and is a picture of the life and death of Christ Jesus. It symbolizes our very Salvation. (Jordan has its origin in an elevated and unknown source. It produces power as it flows. It fills the Sea of Galilee, famous for its fishing. Its ultimate goal is the Dead Sea! Its water from there goes nowhere ... except up! Apply each of these five facts to Jesus in a spiritual sense and you will see what I mean. Jordan is a Type of our Saviour!)

Hermon or "chermon," where the dew is so heavy that all the land is fertile, depicts the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. See Psalm 133:3.

Then Mizar, the least known of our trio, is used only here in the Bible and means "little." It is thought to be a reference to one of David's hiding places, some little hill, where he found refuge and protection from his enemies.

Look at the progression, Jordan, Hermon and Mizar. God saved me! God gave me the precious Holy Spirit! God meets my every need, even the little ones, protecting and covering me in His Grace and Love!

With those thoughts in mind, how can one stay discouraged?

Do you know what David just did, yet again?

He has once more "encouraged himself in the Lord!" Just like he did back in 1st Samuel 30:6. "And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God."

Amazing!

Better yet I should say, Amazing Grace!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 7:

The Psalmist at times "complains" it seems, directly to God!

An example of such is found in Psalm 42:7. There he says to the Lord: "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me."

The "waves" and "billows" here are said to belong to God Himself! THY waves and THY billows have gone over me!

The noun for waves, "mishbar," is only used 5 times in the whole Old Testament! In 2nd Samuel 22:5 the "waves" of death are mentioned! In Psalm 88:7, likely Messianic in nature, Jesus states to His Father: "Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. Selah." This is a severe word with drastic implications! Horrible!

"Billows" is spelled "gal" in Hebrew and means a great "heap" of something, in this case water! Jonah the runaway Prophet uses both these terms together also. He says to God: "For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all Thy billows and Thy waves passed over me." Jonah 2:3

David here considers himself to be suffering immense pain or grief or sorrow or pressure! And when viewed through the lens of the Messiah, no doubt the agony of Calvary's Cross is in focus!

These torrential floods are not just approaching David. No, they have already "gone over" the good Psalmist! "Abar," the verb, means "to pass over." The good news is that the action depicted by this particular verb, perfect, is now complete! The waves have come and gone and God is again manifesting His good Presence, His Face! Or at least God is soon going to do so!

The first part of our verse is more puzzling. "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me."

"Deep," the twice occurring noun, is based upon "tehom," a Hebrew word meaning "abyss" or "subterranean waters." It is obviously a reference to the lower parts of the sea.

"Waterspouts" translates "tzsinnor" and means anything from a pipe to a conduit to a gutter spout! Its "root" idea may just be something that is "hollow." It can refer to a tornado over water, literally a waterspout, or a waterfall or a cataract! One grammarian even says "flood-gates."

David believes that God, like at the Flood in Noah's days, has opened all the hatches! Here's part of that Flood account, from Genesis 7:11. "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." Now look at that! Talk about Scripture interpreting Scripture! Notice the depths of the sea and the depths or heights of the heavens in this one verse!

The noun "noise," in Hebrew "qol," is twice translated "thunderings" in the King James Bible. Ten more times it is just "thunder."

David in Psalm 42 is running, fleeing from Saul or from Absalom or from somebody.

Fearful.

Yet longing for the House of God!

And getting more discouraged by the minute.

But he knows what to do with his predicament.

He brings it to His God!

He also is honest and bold at God's Throne!

David of Old Testament days is practicing what Peter of New Testament days recommended. "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1st Peter 5:7

As Paul would later teach, David already had learned to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Amen!

David, perhaps even learning from Job, reasoned right along with the ancient patriarch: "Oh that I knew where I might find God! That I might come even to His seat! I would order my cause before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say unto me." Job 23:3-5

The old song used to say, "Tell it to Jesus!"

That's just what the Psalmist did today!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 8:

The voice of hope is often heard in the Psalms.

Many times right along with the voice of despair!

Such is the case in Psalm 42 particularly.

Watch David's emotions range from the valley to the mountain top! In the same short chapter of Scripture!

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?" Here is discouragement! It is heard twice in the span of eleven verses. Then a direct admission: "O my God, my soul is cast down within me" writes the Psalmist.

But, within seconds, he then exclaims: "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." Psalm 42:8

To "command" is "tzsavah" and means "to give orders, to charge or to bid." This is a verb in the Piel stem, revealing that God will do so with great intensity! Forcefully and energetically commanding the blessing! The first command in the Bible, using this particular verb, is located in Genesis 2:16. There God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

"Lovingkindness" translates "chesed" or "hesed" as it's sometimes printed. Theologically it is a first cousin to Grace! It means "mercy or goodness or faithfulness." The heart of the action depicted here is that of a Great One bowing down in the presence of a small insignificant one, coming where he is, to help him in a time of need!

"Daytime" or "yoman" in Hebrew, means just what it says, but in this context it can also include the idea of "daily." See the frequency!

And in Scripture "night" or "layil" can often mean the darkest of the night, the very midnight!

God's "song" is "shiyr" and includes music right along with the singing. Of its 90 appearances in the King James Bible, 77 or so of them deal with singing and 9 of them with music. God has a song! Job 35:10 tells us that, using a question: "Where is God my Maker, Who giveth songs in the night?"

Once registering his assurance of God's Goodness, David prays!

Lovingkindness and singing evoke one's prayers, often prayers of thanksgiving and praise!

"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."

The noun for "prayer" is spelled "tephillah" and means supplication or intercession. Its "root" word, "palal," means "to judge." Truthfully some judging must be done in order to pray rightly! Today the Holy Spirit helps us in that process.

The preposition "unto" is represented by the little Hebrew character "lamed." It's just their letter for "L." It is prefixed to God's great Name, "El" here.

This is the Almighty God of power, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. For that matter the God of Paul and Peter and John too! And He's The Same yet today! He's our God through His Son Jesus Christ.

When an upbeat David calls God the God of his life, he is nearly saying what Paul did in Colossians 3:4. There the great Apostle called Christ just that ... our life! "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

And remember what the Apostle said in Philippians 1:21. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

What victory today's verse presents ... bubbling up out of the pits of depression it seems!

When David could not find any good news in his environment, he manufactured some of his own! He did so by thinking of the goodness and faithfulness of His God! And then soon the Psalmist was at prayer! Assured of life, either on earth or in Heaven, David is satisfied.

Victory in seeming defeat!

So it is with our great God!

Amen!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike BagwelL

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 9:

As a boy I was taught a little poem that says something about sticks and stones breaking one's bones, then adds ... "but words will never harm me."

However, the theory behind that little rhyme just is not true!

Let me show you what I mean, using Psalm 42 as an example.

Throughout this Psalm the great God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is belittled. By an enemy of righteousness I mean.

Back to verse three we go. Listen to the Psalmist lament: "My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?" Psalm 42:3

"They," a plural pronoun, refers to those who hate God.

Here's their devilish question, "Where is thy God?" In other words ... He is not helping you much, is He? Has He gone on a trip? Is He sleeping? Negative theology!

And do notice that they ask this dangerous question "continually!"

Then a few verses later they are still hurling this blasphemous barb: "They say daily unto me, Where is thy God?" This is part of Psalm 42:10. By now obviously their irreverent question has become part of a pattern of wicked innuendo.

"Where is thy God, David?" Has He forsaken you?

Then, finally, after hearing this "lie of the Devil," this "question from Hell," repeatedly ... David succumbs! He listens and then repeats this terribly dangerous philosophy!

Watch: "I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" (Psalm 42:9) This is David talking, the man after God's Own Heart!

Now we must pause a bit here at the ninth verse and study its implications. They are startling!

David himself, previously so strong in faith and resolve and hope, falls into that wicked pattern of doubt, of questioning God!

David, who just a few words earlier triumphantly proclaimed such things as: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. 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." This is just a composite of Psalm 42 thus far, David's words anyway.

What beautiful faith!

Then, suddenly ... "God, why hast Thou forgotten me?"

My point is this. David, fearless and determined to trust His God, His Rock, His Fortress, His High Tower ... is overcome by words of doubt! Words he had heard one time too many! Words that, like poisoned arrows, hit his soul and mind and heart again and again!

Words can harm you!

Psalm 64 talks about "the enemy" or "the wicked" or "the workers of iniquity" and says they ... "whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: that they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily. They search out iniquities." This is exactly what's happening in Psalm 42. And it is still happening in our world today also.

The Devil's question to Eve was one of those wicked weapons. "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" And Eve fell before that barrage of doubt!

And now David, under attack by another of those deadly questions, weakens! "Where is Thy God? Where is Thy God?" He hears the doubt! Then, even the godly Psalmist says to the Lord: "Thou hast forgotten me!"

Be careful what you hear!

Do not hear it too often!

The same God Who often made deaf ears to hear ... can also make hearing ears deaf, deaf to the voices of hatred and slander and doubt! At least when they are directed against our God and our Faith and our Bible and our Church!

Now back to verse nine. "I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" Psalm 42:9

Even in his moment of doubt, David still calls God his "Rock!" This noun, "sela," means a high and safe cliff into which or under which a man may run for protection in times of danger! "Sela" is derived from a term that means "lofty." Using this beautiful word, Psalm 71:3 says to the Lord: "Thou art my Rock and my Fortress." Even Fortress, "matzsud," means a "strong hold, a defense or a castle," a literal "fort" in the military sense!

To "forget" translates "shakach" and means "to ignore" or "to mislay!" Think of the absurdity of God misplacing something! The omniscient God! Here's His response: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." Isaiah 49:15

Thank you, Lord!

The participle "mourning" is a verbal adjective. "Qadar" means dark or covered with ashes or blackened by sordid clothing!

To "go" mourning translates "yalak," to walk or travel down a road! Here it's the road of sadness!

"Oppression" is "lachatzs" in Hebrew and means that which causes distress or that which bears down heavily on one's soul or spirit. That which crushes one underneath its heavy load!

This is sort of a "straw that broke the camel's back" kind of analogy I believe. Lord, their wicked words became heavier and heavier, relentlessly burdening my soul! How much weight can one human stand?

Then the noun "enemy" means "one who hates you!" It is spelled "oyeb" and is related to "ayab," to be "hostile" or to be a "foe" or an "adversary."

Isaiah 33:5 talks about the godly man who "stoppeth his ears" and "shutteth his eyes" from hearing and seeing evil! David, while indeed a great man of God, failed to do so in today's Text. To his great harm!

The next time the devil or his crowd comes to you with their doubtful questions, say to him what Jesus did in Matthew 4:10. "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written ...!

Don't listen to the Devil!

Make him listen to the precious Word of God!

And soon he will be gone, at least for a season!

Ultimately he will be gone forever, burning in the Lake of Fire!

Amen!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 10:

The Psalmist, perhaps David himself, has been kept away from the Temple. In Psalm 42 it appears that he is in danger. Enemies are all around him. And they have big mouths too!

Let's listen first to David, then to his detractors. Both speak in the same verse. "As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?" Psalm 42:10

Now get the context of these two clauses.

David: "As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me."

David's enemies: "They say daily unto me, Where is thy God?"

The verb "reproach" is "charaph" in Hebrew and means "to taunt, to rebuke, to defy, even to blaspheme!" The verb also is in the Piel stem, indicating intense action!

Remember that the noun for "enemies" is linked to a root word that means "to hate." These are serious and dangerous people.

David uses a simile, a figure of speech beginning with "like" or "as," to describe the impact these enemies are having on him. "As with a sword in my bones!"

Cutting deeply!

Painful!

The word for "sword" here is "retzsach" and means, when in verb form, to murder, to slay or to kill! It's first Bible appearance is in the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:13, "Thou shalt not kill."

The noun for "bones" is etzsem" and occasionally means "limbs or members" or even "body" ... as well as bones. However, of 126 uses in the King James Bible, 104 of them relate to "bone" or "bones."

Now, what are these wicked people saying?

What has David so upset?

"They say daily unto me, Where is thy God?"

To "say daily" certainly gives us the frequency of the hateful words!

The Hebrew tells us that this crowd talks and talks, seldom being quiet, all the whole day long!

Yet it is their very words that are so blasphemous.

Directed really more toward God Himself than David, the infidels inquire "Where is thy God?"

The insinuation is either that David is not living right. Therefore God is not with him. A hypocrite perhaps, maybe David has some hidden sin blocking God's goodness! By the way, that's exactly what Job's "friends" said to him also!

And if not that, they are implying that God is unable to help in such dire circumstances! He is simply absent! And if present, "He obviously does not care," they would charge!

They are belittling God!

Ridiculing the Almighty!

This, I think, hurts David deeply!

The "man after God's Own Heart" has a abiding concern for the Name of the Lord! Remember Psalm 23. "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake."

When God's Name is blasphemed, David hurts!

It's that kind of respect for God and His Name that caused Jesus to preach: "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

In today's verse the Psalmist has merely reported the words of these God-haters ... to God! To the Lord!

After all, He will know what to do, how to handle them!

So should we do the same!

Turn them over to the Ruler of the universe!

He will do right.

He's the One who said, both in the Old and New Testaments, "I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me." Deuteronomy 32:41

And, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." Romans 12:19

There we must let it rest.

Amen!   

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11, VERSE 11:

Here's the last verse of this dear Psalm. Let's study it together.

The Psalms often have repeating lines, sometimes called refrains. They usually help us focus on that particular chapter's theme or subject.

Here's an example, Psalm 107, which four times uses the clause "Oh that men would praise the Lord for His Goodness." That's right, in verses 8 and 15 and 21 and 31 you will read: "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"

Another use of these recurring lines indicates a writers intention to mark a passage as a unit of study. This device is called "inclusio" and brackets together a series of verses, much like a set of parentheses in a composition. For example, Psalm 150 both begins and ends with these words: "Praise ye the Lord." And everything between those opening and closing verses highlights and accents praising our great God!

We have an example of repetition in Psalm 42 also. Let me explain this one in a little more detail.

Here's what I mean. Notice verse 5. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."

Then read with me verse 11. "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."

Since we have already studied each of these words ... back in the Lesson that covered verse five, I will today only comment on the differences in the two statements.

There are two of them.

Since every word of the Bible is inspired of God the Holy Spirit, and since we are to study it "line upon line" and "precept upon precept," I believe both these minute differences may carry tremendous importance.

The variations appear in the latter part of the composition, in the "statement of faith" section.

In verse 5 God is spoken of grammatically in the third person. It's the "help of His Countenance" that is being trusted.

But by the time we reach verse 11, it's no longer an abstract "His Countenance" that is sought, David has matured some! His sufferings and dangers and flights have forced the Psalmist into personalizing this great God! God's Countenance, God's Face, God's shining and glorious Face, has so impacted David that he now speaks of his own countenance, his human appearance! Remember that "paniym," the English word "countenance" here, literally means "face" anyway. A transformation has occurred! God's glowing Face, bright with love and kindness and holiness and all the other attributes of Deity, has so changed David that the King's face now has a glow about it! In Verse 11 David speaks of "the health of my countenance!" That's what He now is calling God!

The noun "health" is in Hebrew spelled "yeshuah" and means "salvation" or "deliverance!" It technically is the Name for Saviour! For Jesus, really! Early on, the Psalmist could only see God objectively ... "His Countenance!" But by the time verse 11 has arrived, God is very close and personal and has influenced David so much that the Lord has become the help of his personal human countenance! A human face has begun to shine! This "change" is elsewhere stated as being  "conformed into the image of God's dear Son!"

Folks, that is spiritual growth!

Secondly, another minor change between verses 5 and 11 may be observed. This also supports the "spiritual growth" theory. Look at the precise ending of verse 5. "Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance." Now the ending of verse 11, "Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

See it?

Three words have been added by David as he writes under the direction of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

"And my God!"

Again, God is closer, more intimate, more well known by the Psalmist in verse 11 that He was in verse 5.

Personalized!

"MY God!"

Not just the national God of Israel!

Not just the historical God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!

Not just the literal Creator of the world!

But ... my God ... too!

"He lives in my life," thinks David now!

Again, David is maturing!

Growing up in Christ Jesus!

Becoming "fully furnished" as a Believer!

Here's my point today.

The Holy Spirit has used two little changes in this recurring chorus to doubly show us how David has progressed in his faith ... during times of trial and stress and even downright danger!

Truly the words of Psalm 4:2 are rushing to someone's mind. There this same David wrote to the Lord: "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." Note the words I am about to repeat: "Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress." Remember, he's talking to the Lord!

The word "distress" is "tzsar" and means that which is "squeezing in" upon a person's life! Pressure! Affliction! A "heavy" load! Trouble! Over sixty times in the King James Bible it refers to one's enemies or foes!

But look, such trials and heartaches have made God appear much closer! Have caused the "victim" or "subject" to so trust His Heavenly Father, to spend so much time with Him, that God's Face now changes David's Face! That The God becomes David's God ... "my God" he proclaims!

Again, that's spiritual "enlargement!"

"Enlarged," the verb, means "to make more room" for something or someone! To "widen!"

David has grown during his trials.

I must close but on your own do study Psalm 119:71 too. There the Psalmist, maybe this same David again, writes: "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."

Only our God could do such a thing!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

P. S. --- Maybe that's the "heart" of Psalm 42 anyway! No one has ever "exhausted" a Passage of Scripture when studying it! It is too vast, too broad says Psalm 119:96, "exceeding broad!" But it sure is delightful to at least splash around in the "shallows" of a Text! Isn't it? Let's thank God for the "depth" of His precious Word!

 

WE PRAY YOU HAVE BOTH RECEIVED A BLESSING AND GROWN SPIRITUALLY BY CAREFULLY STUDYING PSALM 42. WHAT A GREAT CHAPTER IT IS!

 

 

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