Psalms 42-43

Psalm 42‑43  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The cry of the heart after God Himself
The godly man had been going with the multitude to the house of God, but that is all over. He is driven away, and his cry is from Jordan-the land of the Hermonites, and the hill Mizar. All God’s waves are gone over him. It was terrible to see an enemy in possession of the sanctuary, and the true one of Jehovah cast out and His name blasphemed. The heathen, as stated in Joel, had come in in power, and taunted those who had trusted in Jehovah’s faithfulness with the cry, “Where is thy God?” (Joel 2:1717Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? (Joel 2:17)). It was, of course, a dreadful trial (so with Christ upon the cross; and with Him yet more, for He declared He was forsaken); so that what God was to them by faith was put to the test. This faith is what this psalm now expresses. The heart of the godly pants after God. It was not merely for His blessings; they were gone. The preciousness of what He Himself was, was only so much the more vividly brought out. The main distress was the cry, “Where is thy God?” But if the saint is not in Jerusalem, God is the confidence of the saint. Faith says, “I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” The heart too can appeal to Him (vs. 9), and, under the pressure of the repeated taunt, hope in God Himself, and He will be the health of the countenance of him that trusts in Him.
The reader will remark that in verse 5 it is the help of God’s countenance: in verse 11 He becomes the health of the countenance of him that trusts in Him. This making God Himself to become everything by the deprivation of all blessings, and the exercise of faith in it casting the soul entirely on God Himself, is very precious.
The enemy-Gentile, ungodly Jew, and the wicked
The enemy in Psalm 42 is the outward enemy and oppressor- the Gentile. Though in circumstances, of course, and not in the depths of atonement, it is interesting to see the analogy in verse 3 with what the Lord said upon the cross. Psalm 43 is a supplementary psalm to the former: only that here the ungodly nation, the Jews, are before us, and the deceitful and unjust man, the wicked one; though the Gentile oppressor be yet there (vs. 2). We know they will both be there in that day. From the Jewish nation being now in the scene, the return to the holy hill and tabernacle and altar of God are more before the mind of the remnant. Verses 3-4 form the groundwork of the book.