Study Guide – Psalm 42

Psalm42

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
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

 

Psalm 42 is the first Psalm in what is known as the 2nd "book" (i.e. section) of the Psalter. No one is quite sure who organized the Psalms into the different books, or even why the books are ordered the way that they are. Psalm 42-49 form a block of psalms that are attributed to the descendents of Korah, a family line within the levitical priesthood of Israel.

With this background in mind, why might Psalm 42:1-4 have been chosen as the beginning of this second important "book" within the Psalms?

 

 What similarities do you notice between the first four verses of Psalm 42 and the first three verses of Psalm 1 (i.e. the beginning of the 1st "book" of the Psalms)?

 

How is Psalm 42 more personal than Psalm 1?

 

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.
7 Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

 

Read verses 5-7. Why is the writer of this psalm discouraged?

 

In his discouragement, what is the writer trying to remind himself of?

 

8 By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 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. NIV

 

What would your life be like if you lived out the patterns of verse 8?

 

From the hints you see in verses 9-11, how the lifestyle of verse 8 help you through discouraging times?

 

::::: APPLICATION CHALLENGE :::::

Take a moment to read Phil 4:8-9. What reminders could you, or someone you know, use to help you through a discouraging time?

Related articles

Study Guide – Psalm 9:1-10
Study Guide – Psalm 9:11-20
@SimplyInsider: FREEBIE Psalms Study
Study Guide – Psalm 28
Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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