Tuesday, 28 July 2020
Title: A Sincere Cry of a Depressed and Discouraged Saint
By: Pastor Isaac Yim
This Psalm describes a lonely saint of God feeling isolated from people and from God. He longs for the presence of God in the temple. In his despair, he was struggling with doubts and fears, yet holding onto the Rock of his salvation in God. Most probably David wrote this Psalm while fleeing from his son Absalom. This Psalm has two stanzas that end with the same refrain; Psalm 42 verses 5 and 11.
In this Psalm, David reveals to us many reasons for his discouragement and many things that bothered him:
• Distance from home and the house of God (Psalm 42:2,6)
• Taunting enemies who say, “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3,10)
• Memories of good old days (Psalm 42:4)
• The absence of past spiritual thrills (Psalm 42:3)
• Overwhelming trials of life (Psalm 42:7)
• God’s seemingly slow response to his cry (Psalm 42:9)
A careful examination of Psalm 42 reveals to us that it is not about David’s love, intense desire and passion for God. This Psalm is about David’s struggle with depression and affliction (Psalm 42:2,5,6,11). David was facing his own fears inside and as well as enemies from outside. He turns to God for every sustenance. When reading Psalm 42 from this context, the first two verses will take on a totally new meaning. The deer “pants” not because it is in love, but because it is about to die. The word “pants”, or “longs for” in the original meaning, is “to cry out.” The context shows that the crying out is the longing for water, but it also shows us that this is a desperate sort of longing. You can imagine a deer running as fast as it could to escape death, and it is at the point of exhaustion. It needs water or else it will die. I believe this is what David is writing about, and it is what he is going through in his life. In his run from his fears in his troubled heart and enemies, David turns to the water of life which is found in God and the divine worship.
“As a deer pants for flowing steams” (Psalm 42:1a) … Water is essential to life. Not only does water satisfy the thirst of the deer, it also provides a way of escape as the deer seeks a stream or source of water that erases the scent trail. Thus, it escapes from being eaten by fierce pursing enemy.
“So pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1b) … David was a fugitive running from his enemies. He was deprived of the Word and Worship of God. He earnestly desires to be in the temple of God. “It is not that he does not believe that God is everywhere, or that God is not with him. He is praying to God in the Psalms, after all. But his being away from home has gotten him down, and his depressed state has caused him to feel that God is absent.” (Boice)
In desperation, despair, and in depression, David begins to talk to himself. In the course of talking to himself he talks to God. Listen to how he explains it:
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
It is important for us to confront ourselves in our depression; we cannot allow our heart to have the last word. David then turns to God in prayer. He tells God about his inner struggle; he talks about his memories and then he begins to call upon God to do something about it.
9 I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
Basically, David is questioning God, “Are you still there? Why am I still being pursued by my enemies and driven into despair and mourning? Are you going to do something about this?” He goes back to his refrain (v11) to remind himself of God and to trust in His salvation.
Today, Christians can still struggle with grief and depression. David seems to battle sorrow and grief all through his life. Depression by itself is not a sin. Depression will only become sin when we respond by holding onto it and by projecting our anger and hurt to ourselves, to others and even to God and refuse to be comforted. In David’s case, in his grief and depression, he turns to God. He admits his feelings and he redirect his feelings to God.
Prayer for Today
O Lord God, we come to you with our struggles, with many doubts and fears in our lives. Often Lord, we feel so depressed. It robs us of our joy in living and serving you. We are so overwhelmed by our daily struggle. We feel like drowning in these troubled waters. Help us Lord, like David, to cry out to you, just like the deer pants for living water. O Lord, deliver us from our predicament and set us free. Lord, we confess our sin to you. Our sin of pride; we often live as if you don’t exist in our lives. Like David, help us to long for personal worship and corporate worship, so that we can hear you and obey you.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
• 离家和离上帝的殿的距离（诗篇 42:2、6）
• 敌人的嘲讽：“你的神在哪里呢？” （诗篇 42:3、10）
• 回忆往昔的美好时光（诗篇 42:4）
• 失去过去灵命上的激动（诗篇 42:3）
• 生活压倒性的考验（诗篇 42:7）
• 上帝似乎没有/很慢地回应他的呼求（诗篇 42:9）
当我们仔细考察诗篇42时，我们会发现，这首诗篇不是在描述大卫对上帝的爱、渴望和热情。诗篇42讲述的是大卫在抑郁和痛苦中苦苦挣扎（诗篇42:2、5、6、11）。 大卫面对着内心的恐惧，也同时面对着外在的敌人。他所有的需求他都向上帝求助。有了这个概念，诗篇42的前两节将带有全新的意义。鹿”切慕”不是因为它爱，而是因为它即将死去。原文中“切慕”或“渴望”的意思是“呼求”。 诗篇背景显示，呼求是对水的渴望，但也显示出这是一种绝望的渴望。你可以想象一只鹿正在用尽全力的逃离死亡，却也将处于疲惫的状态。它需要水，否则就要死了。我相信这是大卫的意思，也是他生命中正在经历的境况。在逃离他内心和敌人的恐惧中，大卫转向在上帝和敬拜当中能以找着的生命水。
“如鹿切慕溪水” （诗篇42:1下) 水是生命不可没有的。水不仅满足鹿的口渴，溪水也能去掉鹿身体气味的痕迹，因此能逃脱野兽的跟踪。
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