For the director of music. A maskil[c] of the Sons of Korah.
1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One[d] with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Psalm 42 begins the second book of the psalms. Whereas almost all of the psalms in Book One were written by David, this one is written by the sons of Korah. The Korahites were Levites, who worked in the temple on behalf of the Lord. Because they were worship leaders, they had a deep sense of God's presence. In today's psalm for whatever reason they were separated from the temple and it brought them discouragement.
The first verse sums up very well their desire for worshipping the Lord,
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"
Charles Spurgeon said this of this thirst,
“Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag. One may go many days without food, but thirsts shows an even more urgent need. Which is more than hungering; hunger you can palliate, but thirst is awful, insatiable, clamorous, deadly."
Sometimes I think we view the act of worship as a duty, or church can be something you go to to fulfil some vow. One might say, "Okay I guess i will go to church today." Worship is not going to church, it is going to God. The psalmist was so used to experiencing the sweet presence of God, he missed it dearly when he didn't have it.
He says a couple of times in the psalm, "Why O Soul are you so downcast within me." Despite this spiritual depression, he put his hope in God and remarked, "I will yet praise him my Savior". The psalmist made a decision to worship God even when he wasn't necesarrily "feeling it".
How is your worship life? Maybe I should say how is your spiritual life? Maybe I should say how is your relationship with God? Do you thirst like a deer pants for the water for God? Jesus says this in the New Testament,
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink and streams of living water will flow from within."