Last time we looked at Psalm 42:1-5. In this post I would like to look at Psalm 42:6-11. In the first part of the psalm the anonymous Levite was parched. In the second part he feels like he is drowning.
First, the psalmist indicates he has a sense of the loss of God’s presence (42:6). For some unknown reason the Levite is in the hills surrounding Mt. Hermon. He can’t get much further away from the visible manifestation of God’s presence in Jerusalem than he currently is.
Second, this leads him to have a sense of being incessantly overwhelmed (42:7). If you have been to Israel, and specifically to Mt. Hermon, you have heard the water gushing out of the ground. Notice how the psalmist has lost perspective by claiming that ALL of God’s breakers and waves have gone over him. This is certainly not true, but there are times when it feels like it. If you take the time, turn over to Jonah 2:3. Jonah seems to be quoting this psalm as he is within the creature’s belly.
Third, the Levite reminds himself of two things that God does (42:8). It is no accident that God demonstrates His loyal kindness. It is no accident that God’s song is with His children in the night.
Fourth, the psalmist asks God two questions (42:9). The first addresses God’s seeming forgetfulness. It does feel at times as though our Refuge is not available. Songs in the night do not always remove the darkness or take away our suffering. The second question addresses the psalmist’s mourning. Why is he responding this way when he knows the enemy can’t really harm him?
Fifth, he retells his story of some intensely painful circumstances (42:10). This is not complaining; it is reality. The mocking words of our adversaries are excruciatingly painful.
Sixth, the Levite asks his soul two questions (42:11a). When the psalmist stares his troubles squarely in the face from a Godward perspective, they don’t seem so overwhelming after all.
Seventh, he commands his soul (42:11b). The psalmist recognizes that hope/waiting is a matter of obedience, not merely a feeling.
The psalmist, as do we, needed to learn to be grateful for God’s mercy toward him. There are at least six manifestations of God’s mercy to be noted here.
- He has a thirst for God (and not spiritual complacency or indifference).
- He has only a temporary exile (and not total destruction).
- He is being mocked (and not the one who is mocking others).
- He has actual memories of God’s past faithfulness (God allows us to remember).
- He has spiritual sensitivity (and not spiritual dullness).
- He is able to practice self-rebuke (he can challenge himself).
Next time I want to wrap this up with Psalm 42:1-5.