psalm-42

Genesis 44, Job 10, Psalm 42

Today we’re reading Genesis 44, Job 10, and Psalm 42.

This devotional is about Psalm 42.

The term “self-talk” is a phrase from modern psychology that refers to how we think about ourselves and interpret the events that happen us. A person may be very attractive to others physically, but his or her self-talk might be, “I’m ugly, no one will ever love me.” That kind of self-talk dramatically shapes a person’s confidence and the choices that person makes. It is a defeating-kind of self-talk that many people practice.

Self-talk also can refer to instructions your conscious self gives to the rest of you, particularly your emotions. If you are sad and you tell yourself all the reasons why you should be happy, that is positive self-talk.

Here in Psalm 42 the Sons of Korah gave us an emotional song. Verses 1-2 describe a strong, sincere desire to see God but verse 4 indicates that this person could no longer experience God’s revelation of himself in the temple (...how I used to go...) any longer.

That was depressing to the author of this letter, so he used “self-talk” to refocus his mind on God. Note the self talk in these words, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” Similar examples of God’s self-talk are 5b, 6, 11. The author here coached himself about what to do in his moments of despair: he instructs himself (to himself) by saying, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” In other words, he commanded himself to think differently--bibilically--about his life and act according to that command.

What is your self-talk like? Have you learned how to encourage yourself biblically to do the right thing, even when your desire to do it isn’t there? Use the pattern in this Psalm and pay attention to what your brain is telling you. Teach yourself to remind yourself of Christ’s promises. Good self-talk is a great way to internalize scripture passages so that you can act freely and learn how to glorify God with your life.

Psalms 42-44

As we prepare to worship on this Palm Sunday, read Psalms 42-44.

Life brings us moments of great joy that cause us to rejoice. When we walk with God in those moments, we respond by giving thanks to him for his love and favor.

Life also brings us moments of anguish, grief, and questioning and each of these three Psalms reflect the yearning heart of someone who trusts in God but has a deep need that God has not yet filled. Psalm 42:1 is well known for it’s beautiful presentation of a thirsty deer running toward a stream for a quenching drink of water. Like that deer, the Psalmist said, “my should pants for you, my God.”

But this panting for God is not the cry of a happy, godly man who wishes to worship. It is the deep cry of a godly person in agony who is crying out for God’s intervention: “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” (v. 3).

How does the Psalmist deal with this spiritual thirst? By reminding himself of the good days of joyful worship in God’s temple (v. 4) and by encouraging himself by faith to keep looking to God: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Are you suffering today? Longing to come to church in joyful worship but wondering how you can muster the energy to sing even one note of praise? Let these Psalms give voice to your struggles. Pray Psalm 42 aloud, if you will, and ask God for the faith to trust him until he provides and the joy of salvation returns to your life.