Who hasn’t been depressed? Who hasn’t felt down and out? And with depression and poor spirits comes loneliness and solitude. Psalms 42 and 43 are two short Psalms that address this. Some believe they were one Psalm that was divided into two due to the nature and theme of both. Three times within these two brief Psalms the Psalmists asks why his soul is so down trodden. These Psalms are believed to be written during the time of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. It was a very dark time.
“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.” Psalms 42:5
“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.” Psalms 42:11
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Psalms 43:5
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?”
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” That’s the right question directed at the right source. When we are low and in a depressive condition we should never just ride out the storm. We should always inquire within as to what the problem may be. The root of emotion, intellect, passion and being is the soul. Our persona and psyche our represented self is all generated from the soul. When that gets out of whack, the whole world knows it.
But a soul problem isn’t a world problem. Unfortunately all too often we take inside matters to an outside world. Not only do we ask the world to determine our soul problem but ask it to fix our soul as well.
and why art thou disquieted in me? Why is my soul troubled? What has my soul so vexed? This can be a very dangerous condition. Sin propels us via a vexed soul and spirit. Fear, anger, anxiety, stress all cause us to move and do things that we would never otherwise do.
A disquieted soul can also motivate us in apparent positive directions as well. We try to quench the fire that burns within by achieving external success and happiness. But a soul on fire is never satisfied from without.
“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:11
Anything repeated in the Bible is done so to stress the significance of that message. Here we see the plea three times. This is done not only to stress the importance of the Psalmist cry but it also shows that prayers and supplications are not always answered at first. The oft used word, “patience” in the New Testament is a call for time and constancy. Anything prayed to God must be stayed upon by us. Patience in our prayers demonstrates our degree of value in the problem prayed on and our faith in God to respond to it. A component of faith is time. An impatient person has no faith.
“for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” Literally translated “for the help of his face”, more specifically the help of His presence. We first and foremost must understand and believe that God is present in every iota, in every moment of time and space of our lives. We then must have faith in God that he is a present help.
“for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” The British have a talent for the understatement. When the King James Version us the word “health” which comes from the Hebrew, “Yeshuwah” or salvation. What the Psalmist is saying here is that the very presence of God is his salvation. He is delivered from his vexed soul by the omnipresent and omnipotent God. And most important of all the Psalmist identifies God as “his” God. He makes it very personal as it should be with all of us. Each of us has a one on one relationship with our God. All matters of the soul are a God matter.
And finally, we shall praise Him. Night and day we should be praise our very present God.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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