“Why are you cast down on my soul and why are you in turmoil within me?”
Psalm Chapter 42, verse five and 11 say the same thing. And then Psalm chapter 43:5 says the same thing. So let me read what it says. This verse that we see in both of these chapters that are back to back and think about what the Bible is teaching us here and how we can pray according to this word. So Psalm chapter 42:5 and 11 and Psalm 43:5 say, “Why are you cast down on my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God for I shall again praise him. My salvation and my God.” Part of me wants to just read it three times so you feel the effects. In fact, I’m going to do that. Let me just say it again and again, “Why are you cast down on my soul and why are you in turmoil within me?”
Hope in God for I shall again praise him. My salvation and my God. Why are you cast down on my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God for I shall again, praise him. My salvation and my God.” Even in just repeating it, you can feel the turmoil within the Psalmist as he’s praying this. And this is one of the more famous, well known Psalms because it starts, Psalms 42 starts with the verse, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so my soul pants for you O God, my soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when [inaudible 00:01:41] I go and appear before God.” There’s a longing in the Psalmist here to be with God. He feels distant from God. Even physically distant from the temple, likely the context in the Psalm and he’s cast down. His soul is low.
“Why are you in turmoil within me?” There’s an angst in him. There’s a longing in him that I trust is familiar to every worshiper of God, every child of God. There are times when your soul feels downcast and there’s turmoil within you that is often accompanied by a feeling of distance from God, lack of intimacy with God, or maybe just walking through the struggles of this world and just feeling overwhelmed by them. And that’s what I love about this verse that we see three times in Psalm 42 and 43. “Why are you cast down on my soul? Why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God.” He’s just preaching to his own soul. “Hope in God for I shall again praise him. My salvation and my God.” In other words, when your soul is downcast, it is good to say to your soul, “There is hope.
There is hope that you have downcast soul. There is hope that you have, mind and heart filled with turmoil. There is hope that you have right now and you’re hope is in God, who is your salvation. In other words, this downcast picture, this picture of turmoil will not lie last forever because God is your salvation. And you can hope in him no matter how dark it gets, no matter how distant things seem no matter how challenging the trial or struggle is, no matter how low you feel. You are never without hope. You who have put your hope in God. And he will show himself faithful as your salvation and your God. So God, we praise you for this reality, and we pray this even over our own hearts right now for anyone, I pray. Who has a downcast soul, for anyone who has turmoil within them that by your spirit, they would hear you saying to them from your word right now, they can hope in you. That they are not hopeless.
That there is light in the darkness. That there is hope of dancing that will come from this mourning like we’ve read in other Psalms. That there is joy in the sorrow, that there is hope that nothing in this world can take away from us. God, we praise you for this. We praise you even as we think about the gospel. And Jesus, you’re conquering sin and death and the grave, that even the worst thing that can happen to us death is actually the best thing that could happen to us, in the end, to live as Christ and to die [inaudible 00:05:00], that we will be with you forever. So not even death can take away our hope, so God, I pray for downcast souls right now.
For those who are experiencing turmoil within them, I pray that you would help them in this moment even and all day long and all night long as they lay their head on their pillow at night, that you would help them to hope in you as their salvation and their God. Even as we think about what you said before you left this earth, Jesus, “In this world, you will have tribulation, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” We have hope no matter what the tribulation is, no matter what the challenges are, all glory be to your name, O God, we say together right now, you are our hope. We hope in you. Particularly those of us with downcast souls and turmoil in our hearts, we say together, we hope in you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Psalm 42 and 43, Amen.
View the 2021 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan here.