I Will Praise Him Again!

Before I share the passage I’m reading or write another word I want to say something. Hopefully this will keep folks from misreading what I’m about to write and assume that I am saying something that I’m not.

First of all, it is not my intent to take Scripture out of context or make certain passages speak to things that they weren’t meant to speak to. I am simply sharing things that I read in my personal time and responding to the thoughts that come to mind. This isn’t serious exegesis and isn’t meant to be taken that way. I confess that there are times when I am probably reading my own thoughts and feelings into it. You have been warned.

Secondly, I know that I sometimes address things here that might make some people uncomfortable. I realize that there are people who think it is strange (or even wrong) for a minister to struggle with things or openly discuss them. If you are one of those folks then I sincerely apologize if I offend you. That isn’t why I write. That isn’t why I do this. I have always been one to write out my thoughts and feelings. For some reason I share many (not all) of them in this medium. Bear with me because I really mean no harm. This is just the way I work some things out.

With that out of the way I want to share another favorite passage with you. You may have noticed that I use the New Living Translation quite a bit these days. Robin turned me on to that translation and I find that I really enjoy reading from it. It sounds especially good when read out loud. It may lack the elegance of the old KJV but I find its renditions of the Psalms to be refreshing.

Psalm 42

As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged,
    but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
    from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
    and through each night I sing his songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.

“O God my rock,” I cry,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?”
10 Their taunts break my bones.
    They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

 

You may notice that there are several places in this song where the author/s openly display what some might call depression. In fact, the language is quite vivid. Not only does this song express discouragement and sadness, it actually seems to suggest the idea that we sometimes feel abandoned by God. Read it again. Look at those lines. That is real pain and confusion. That is true sadness. It would be easy to focus on those parts and end up drowning in despair.

However, even in the midst of confusion, sadness, and discouragement the author remembers that God is still there. He continues to praise God because he knows that God hears and will eventually respond. Even though it feels like he’s been abandoned, the author remembers all the good things God has done for Him and he sings praise.

Every commentary I consulted this morning says that Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 were most likely part of the same composition and have been split over the years. Keeping that in mind continue reading.

Psalm 43

Declare me innocent, O God!
    Defend me against these ungodly people.
    Rescue me from these unjust liars.
For you are God, my only safe haven.
    Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?
Send out your light and your truth;
    let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
    to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
    O God, my God!

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

 

Notice that verse 5 repeats what is sung (remember these are songs) in verses 5 and 11 of the previous passage. Even though he is discouraged, even though his heart is sad; he will continue to put his hope in God and sing praise. God is good. Even when we can’t see the outcome or understand our situation, He is good. He knows. He cares. He is there.

I confess…sometimes that is difficult to remember. As I said, I don’t share everything here but I am having one of those moments in my life where it is difficult. There is uncertainty. There is fear. I honestly wonder why. I truly believe that it is okay to feel this way. Scripture even declares these sorts of feelings. However, I can’t focus on the fear. I can’t focus on the doubt. I can’t focus on the discouragement.

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

 

No matter what. I will praise Him.

Grace and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

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