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Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

Apr 7, 2017

This question is the one asked by the Psalmist in Psalm 42.  He expresses his desire for God with these words, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’”

The Psalmist then remembers his days of going to the house of God. He remembers how he would lead the throng in procession with glad shouts and songs of praise but then he asks of his soul, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Friends, the Psalmist does not sit and wallow in his turmoil.  He doesn’t expect that others commiserate with him in his being cast down.  He doesn’t look to others to build him up.  So, what does he do?

He asks a question of his soul and then gives the solution.  He instructs his soul to, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” He calls to mind who God is and what he has done. He takes his soul to task for being cast down, for being in turmoil. He gets his eyes off of self and onto God. When his soul is in turmoil the Psalmist turns his attention to God, who he is and what he has done.

Friends, where do you flee when your soul is cast down? Where do you find hope when your soul is in turmoil? Do you flee to food? Sex? Work? Others? Where do you go? What do you do? Flee to God. Set your gaze upon him. Hope in God. The cure for a downcast soul, the hope for a soul in turmoil is to set one’s gaze on who God is and what He has done. May we train our souls to flee to the only hope we have, God himself.

By His Grace Alone,

Josh