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Bible: What Do Psalms 42-44, 46 Teach Us About Faithfulness, God's Silence, and His Constant Help?
Psalms 42-44,46: Remember God's Faithfulness; God's Silence Amidst Suffering/The LORD: Our Constant Help
Book Two begins with eight consecutive “contemplations” (maskil) of the sons of Korah.
This psalm’s companion, the forty-third, shares a common refrain (cf. 42:5, 11; 43:5) in which the writer laments his depression yet trusts in God.
In misery over the taunts of his enemies, he yearns for the LORD’s help (vv. 1-3).
By remembering the joy he felt while "feasting" with others at a pilgrim celebration, he tries to encourage himself to hope in God (v. 4).
The refrain clearly leans in that direction (v. 5).
In addition, he recalls other pleasant, mountaintop experiences with the LORD to combat his present discomfort (vv. 6-8).
Still, amid the enemies' taunts, he believes that God has forgotten him (vv. 9-10; cf. v. 3).
He cries out again with the pitiful, yet hopeful refrain in his attempt to keep the faith (v. 11).
[Remembering God's faithfulness in your past is one of the most effective balms to soothe a present-day wounded heart.
However, that discipline is especially difficult to do when you are really hurting.
Spending time fellowshipping with other believers can go a long way toward reducing the sorrowful, uncomfortable feelings.]
God in the Midst of Suffering
Does expressing our deepest pain offend God?
Suffering and Pain
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The psalmist prays for his Strength to vindicate and deliver him, even though he feels rejected and depressed (vv. 1-2).
He asks that God's “light” and “truth” might lead him to the temple to worship (vv. 3-4).
Concluding on an encouraging note, the writer repeats his refrain (v. 5).
[Emotions often conflict in the midst of trouble.
You need to air your complaint before God while still holding onto your faith in Him.
The LORD will not be angry or disappointed in you if you tell Him exactly how you feel].
The authors had learned from patriarchal testimony that God gained great victories over the goyim (the nations, Gentiles) and graciously established Israel in the Promised Land (vv. 1-3).
Confessing God as their King now, they ask Him for more victories (vv. 4-5).
Israel will boast in the LORD, and depend only upon Him for salvation (vv. 6-8).
After selah, however, their mood decidedly changes.
Because God has rejected them, they lament their defeat, scattering, and dishonor among the Gentiles (vv. 9-16).
[Note the verbs and synonyms: defeat: “cast us off”; “make us turn back”; haters have “taken spoil”; scattering: “given us up”; “sell Your people for next to nothing”; dishonor: “make us a reproach”; “a scorn and a derision”; “a byword”; “a shaking of the head”; “the shame of my face”].
The authors claim Israel’s faithfulness to the covenant, so they cannot understand why God has allowed His people to be oppressed (vv. 17-22; v. 22 [cf. Rom. 8:36]).
[Claiming faithfulness and actually being faithful can be two separate things].
While earnestly accusing the LORD of sleeping through their pain and forgetting their suffering, they still strongly plead for redemption (vv. 23-26).
[Were the psalmists justified in using such forthright language in their complaint?
Still, God's silence in the midst of our pain surely perplexes the most patient saint.
The believer must persevere until the LORD breaks through the gloom and gives him a greater trust in Him].
"Israel, our God is always there to help us," affirms the psalmist.
Therefore, he concludes that even earthquakes and floods should not cause the people to fear, for the LORD is near (vv. 1-3).
He will provide for them and protect His holy city from attack (vv. 4-6).
The writer pens a comforting refrain that asserts the continual companionship and protection of Yahweh Sabaoth (v. 7).
After selah, the psalmist calls upon his audience to witness a presentation of God's powerful works to which they should respond with silent praise and awe (vv. 8-10).
The psalm appropriately concludes with the refrain (v. 11; cf. v. 7).
[He who truly knows God will not fear any calamity that might pass his way].
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