Title: To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.
Maschil-A poem of contemplation, an ode. Something that usually addresses a particular subject matter.
Korah was the leader of a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. God killed Korah and 250 of his most ardent followers by earthquake and flames of fire
“And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign. Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.” (Numbers 26:10-11)
The sons of Korah were, “Preserved, we know not why, by the distinguishing favour of God, it may be surmised that after their remarkable election to mercy, they became so filled with gratitude that they addicted themselves to sacred music in order that their spared lives might be consecrated to the glory of God.” Charles Spurgeon
1) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
“As the hart panteth” gives an image of both exhausted and excited but in need of rejuvenation. A revitalization which can come only from one source, the living waters.
2) My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
My soul, my very being is in need for God. “Thirsteth” is a metaphor for a great and eager desire. This desire is for the living God which has dealings in every second of our lives. A personal and interrelated God that excites our spirit.
The Psalmist uses Elohim for the name of God. It is the very first name used in the Bible to identify the one true God.
He is asking when he will come to God in prayer again. We should all realize that we are appearing before the one judge, ruler and creator whenever we bow our heads in prayer to Him. When we are in prayer to God we are in His presence.
3) My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
Panting, thirsting and now tears for God. This is being generated by a lack of contact, of not being in His presence. Is it impatience? Or has the Psalmist been away from God so long? Or has his relationship with God been too shallow? We all go through levels of relationship with God. Each level exposing a greater part of our self to Him. No Christian can survive a superficial relationship once they have opened the doorway to their soul to the Creator. The more we unveil and unravel our self in the presence of God the more we realize our minuteness to Him and our reliance on Him.
4) 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.
The Psalmist has poured, “out my soul in me”. The troubles mount as he has completely expended himself. All that is him and all that is in him have been spilled out. He remembers the joys of going with others to church and praising God. But it’s a bittersweet memory compared to the shell of a man that he is now.
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 Psalmist asks himself, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” He knows that his hope is in God, a never failing hope that he is reminding himself of.
6) 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.
Although his soul is poured out and cast down the Psalmist does what’s best in this condition. He remembers prior times of joy and success. When cast down we should never concentrate on the negative but rather always think of good things.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
7) Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
“Thy severe dealings with me seem to excite all creation to attack me; heaven, and earth, and hell, call to each other, stirring each other up in dreadful conspiracy against my peace. As in a waterspout, the deeps above and below clasp hands, so it seemed to David that heaven and earth united to create a tempest around him. His woes were incessant and overwhelming.” (Charles Spurgeon)
“Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.” (Psalm 124:4-5)
8) Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
Everything in this psalm hangs on the one simple word, “Yet”. No matter what the turmoil or how severe the storm yet God will command his lovingkindness! Up until now there has been angst and woe yet God is the God of my life!
9) I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
There are two sides of the coin at play here. First the Psalmist calls God his rock. The rock, the immovable, impenetrable, omnipresent, unchangeable force of the, “I AM”. The rock the God we all lean on. The Psalmist then flips the coin and queries, “Why hast thou forgotten me?” You can’t have it both ways.
God never forgets anyone. But He does isolate each of us at various times for various reasons. Usually when we feel alone during times of great troubles is because we haven’t been there for God. We haven’t been leaning on Him. We’ve acted too independently. So when times get tough and we search for God He makes His absence known.
10) As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
The enemies attack is never really on us. It is meant for God. We are just the medium used to get to God. But we do feel the pain of the reproaches. We do feel the taunts of, “Where is thy God?” like a sword in the bones.
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.
The Psalmist again asks himself why, “art thou cast down, O my soul?” He knows and has known that his hope is in God.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. (Psalm 46:1-3)
“He has reached the true source of comfort to the afflicted and the sad – the living God as his God; and his mind is calm. Why should a man be sorrowful when he feels that he has a God? Why should his heart be sad when he can pour out his sorrows before Him? Why should he be cast down and gloomy when he can hope: hope for the favor of God here; hope for immortal life in the world to come!” (Albert Barnes)