Put Your Hope In God
LONGING FOR GOD:
STUDIES IN THE PSALMS
PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD
Text for This Study: Psalms 42 and 43
1. Why are we certain these two Psalms were originally a single poem? Note the three symmetrical stanzas with four verses each and the same refrain at 42:5,11; 43:5.
2. The first sadness of this psalmist is his current isolation from worship experience. Perhaps he was sick or among the exiles in Babylon. What effect does it have on your spiritual life to miss worship assemblies? To be isolated from other believers? Read Psalm 96 for its sense of delight in the experience of being free to worship the Lord.
3. The second sadness focuses on a sense of distance from the Jewish homeland so great that the writer feels that God has forgotten him. He admits to feeling a sense of being overwhelmed by life events. Read Psalm 10 for an extended lament that we sometimes feel when we have been so hurt by life that we fear God is not hearing our prayers.
4. The third sadness is tied to a sense of emptiness because of humiliation the writer feels about his circumstances. He may be hearing unbelievers taunt him. He may be hearing his own internal voice questioning “What have I done to deserve this?” or “Why is God letting this happen to me?” Read Psalm 3 for another writer’s sense of pain and fear.
5. Scholars classify this two-part prayer as a Psalm of Lament. What does the word “lament” mean? The video uses terms such as “melancholy,” “sadness,” and “depression” to describe the feelings of this writer. Are you feeling any of these negative emotional moods today? Know of someone else who is sad because of sickness or loss, grief or family trouble? When you face a significant discouragement, how do you allow God to help you through it?
6. Now focus on the writer’s threefold refrain of hope as he looks outside himself: “Why, my soul, are you so downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God!” Read Psalm 121 for similar positive words.
A prayer for the distressed written by Frank Colquhoun . . .
Heavenly Father, we bring to you in prayer people who are suffering in mind or spirit.
We remember especially those facing long or incurable illness;
those cast down by the cares and sorrows of daily life;
those whose have lost their faith and for whom the future is dark.
In your mercy maintain their courage, lift their burdens, and renew their faith,
that they may find in you their strength, their comfort, and their peace; for our Savior’s sake.