Ete vineri seara. mergem la studiu. vara aceasta studiem psalmii. Am găsit la Warren W. Wiersbe ceva foarte potrivit pentru starea fraților noștri din Texas și, acum, Florida. Doamne, ai milă! În tine ne punem nădejdea.
Psalms 42 and 43
The repeated refrain (42:5, 11; 43:5) and the general theme of these two psalms would indicate that the two psalms were no doubt originally one, but nobody seems to know why they were separated.
Korah was a grandson of Kohath and was killed for rebelling against the Lord (Num. 16). However, his sons escaped judgment (Num. 16:11) and became worship leaders in the sanctuary (1 Chron. 9:19ff.; 26:1–19).
They are also named in the titles to 44—49; 84; and 87—88.
The author was evidently a Levite exiled among Gentiles (43:1) who oppressed him and questioned his faith (42:3, 10; 43:2). He was a worship leader who had led groups of pilgrims to Jerusalem for the assigned festivals (84:7; Ex. 23:14–17; 34:18–26; Deut. 16:1–17). It was time for such a journey, but he wasn’t able to go, and this grieved his heart because he felt that the Lord had forgotten him (42:9; 43:2). In the psalm, he uses El or Elohim twenty times and Jehovah only once (42:8). The psalms are intensely personal, containing over fifty personal pronouns; and the writer fluctuated between faith and despair as he wrestled with the Lord. He questions the Lord eleven times as he wonders why God doesn’t do something for him. We see him passing through three stages before he comes to victory and peace.
- Longing for God (42:1–5). During a drought, the writer saw a female deer (hind) panting and struggling to reach water to quench her thirst (Joel 1:20), and this reminded him that he thirsted for the Lord and wanted to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The living God was the God of his life (v. 8; see 84:2), and he could not live without Him. Note that the essentials for physical life are mentioned here: air (panting, v. 1), water (v. 2), and food (v. 3), but without worship (v. 4), life to him was meaningless. Hunger and thirst are familiar images of the quest for fellowship with God and the satisfaction it brings (36:8–9; 63:1; Matt. 5:6; John 4:10–14; 7:37–39; Rev. 21:6; 22:17). Day and night (vv. 3, 8) he felt the pain caused by separation from God’s sanctuary and by the constant ridicule of the people around him. He “fed” on his grief (not a wise thing to do) as his tears became his bread. His weeping was as regular as his eating had been.
“Where is thy God?” (vv. 3, 10) was a standard question the Gentile idolaters asked the Jews (79:10; 115:2; Joel 2:17; Mic. 7:10; see Matt. 27:43). However, the question indicates that the writer must have been a devout believer who wasn’t ashamed of his faith; otherwise, his tormentors wouldn’t have questioned him. He remembered better days when he used to lead processions of pilgrims to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts. Either memory can be a blessed medicine for the troubled heart, or it can open new wounds and keep the pain fresh. The writer poured out his soul in prayer (v. 4; 62:8), pleading for the Lord to set him free and take him back to Jerusalem. But then he confronted himself (v. 5) and admonished himself not to be downcast but to hope in the Lord and wait on Him. The repetition of this admonition (v. 11; 43:5) suggests that the writer was having his “ups and downs” as he struggled with his circumstances and himself. He would find his consolation and peace only in the Lord and not in nature (vv. 1, 6–7), memories (v. 4), or nursing grief (v. 3). His hopes had been shattered, his prayers were unanswered, his enemies were vocal, and his feelings were more than he could handle; but God was still on the throne. God’s presence was with him, and he would yet have the joy of worshipping God in Jerusalem. That was God’s promise in His covenant (Deut. 30).
- Remembering God (42:6–11). The emotional and spiritual landscape changes from drought to a storm, with the writer feeling like he was drowning in sorrow and pain (vv. 6–7). The Jordan River has its source in the Hermon range, and the rains and melting snow would turn the rivulets into cascades of water and dangerous cataracts, a picture of intense suffering (69:1–2; 88:7; Jonah 2:3). “Mizar” means “littleness,” and certainly the writer felt very small in the midst of that storm. But he made a wise decision when he decided to remember God and not “the good old days” (v. 6). The cascades, cataracts, and waves were His, and the psalmist had nothing to fear. This reminds us of the night Jesus walked on the water and frightened His disciples, yet He was in full command of the situation (Matt. 14:22–33). God was in command (v. 8; see 33:9; 44:4; 71:3; 91:11), a new day would dawn, and the situation would look different. Like David’s storm experience recorded in Psalm 29, see God on His throne and anticipate the glory and peace after the storm. Believers today remember that the waves of God’s wrath went over Jesus on the cross when He experienced His Calvary “baptism” (Matt. 20:22; Luke 12:50). Meanwhile, God can give us “songs in the night” as we wait for the dawning of a new day (77:4–6; Job 35:10; Matt. 26:30; Acts 16:25).
In verse 8, the writer used Jehovah instead of Elohim, and this was a turning point in his difficult experience. Jehovah is the God of the covenant, the faithful God who cares for His people. He is the God who showers His people with loving-kindness, gives them promises they can claim when they pray, and hears them when they praise and worship. The writer didn’t have to go to Jerusalem to worship; he could worship God right where he was! The hand of God was with him in the daytime and the song of the Lord in the long hours of the night. Everything might be changing, but the Lord was still his Rock—stable, strong, and unchanging. (See 18:2, 31, 46; Ex. 33:22; Deut. 32:4; 1 Sam. 2:2.)
- Trusting God (43:1–5). The landscape changes a third time as the dawn announces the morning and reminds the psalmist of God’s light and truth (v. 3). The Lord had led Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and so His light and truth (faithfulness) would bring him back to Jerusalem. The innocent exile would be vindicated before his accusers and be rescued from an ungodly nation. His strength was in the Lord alone, the Rock of his salvation (42:9), and soon his despair would be replaced by joy. As they trust in the Lord, God’s people must remember that His goodness and mercy follow them (23:6), and His light and truth lead them (43:3; see 27:1; 26:3; 30:9; 40:10). God’s “holy hill” is Mount Zion, where God’s sanctuary was located, the dwelling place of God.
But the writer wasn’t exulting simply in freedom from his enemies and a return to his native home, but in the privilege of visiting God’s altar, offering his sacrifices, and praising the Lord. He has made great progress since he watched the hind seeking for water. The “living God” (42:2) became “the God of my life” (42:8), and now He is “God my exceeding joy … God, my God” (43:4 NASB).
His focus is no longer on himself, his disappointments, or his circumstances, but on the Lord his God; and that makes all the difference. The refrain in 43:5 must not be read with the same dejected voice as 42:5 and 11, for faith in Jehovah has changed everything. The New King James Version translates verse 5, “Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance.” The word help can be translated “health.”
When by faith we see the face of God smiling upon us (Num. 6:22–27), our own countenance brightens up and becomes spiritually healthy. We know that God is for us, that God will set us free and guide us to His Holy City, where we shall worship Him and sing His praises. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (30:5 NKJV).