What to Do When Your Soul is Downcast
Topic: Depression Scripture: Psalm 42:1– :11
What to do when your Soul is Downcast?
Movie questions right…
You want the truth? A Few Good Men
Who ya gonna Call? Ghostbusters
Why so Serious? The Dark Knight
They sometimes can be invasive.
They at times can be repetitive. Like the ones that your kids ask over and over again. But sometimes they help us figure out who we really are …questions like what do you watch, who are your friends, what is your favorite food, but questions can also help us determine where we really are…
In life. Are you on the mountaintop, are you in a valley, where are you?
This psalm is titled To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.
We don’t know when the psalms were gathered into five books, but the separation dates back to before our oldest manuscripts, compiled in the Masoretic Text.
This is the first psalm of Book Two; the psalms of Book Two share some general differences with the psalms of the Book One. The Hebrew word in reference to God is emphasized differently in the first two books of Psalms. “According to Franz Delitsch, in book one the name Jehovah occurs 272 times and Elohim only 15. But in book two, Elohim occurs 164 times and Jehovah only 30 times.” (James Montgomery Boice)
The sons of Korah were Levites, from the family of Kohath. By David’s time it seems they served in the musical aspect of the temple worship (2 Chronicles 20:19).
Korah led a rebellion of 250 community leaders against Moses during the wilderness days of the Exodus. God judged Korah and his leaders and they all died, but the sons of Korah remained. Perhaps they were so grateful for this mercy that they became notable in Israel for praising God.
42 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God
There are so many things to say about this Psalm, so many beautiful analogies, so many word stories and pictures. But today, I feel like the Lord would have us to go on to find the underlining question that the Psalmist brings to the table.
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
What an honest question. Depression. Discouragement. It hits the best of us.
And sometimes really for no reason.
One thought lead to another thought. A day in bed leads to two. A bad week turns into a bad month or year. And we become depressed because life is not exactly what we thought it would become.
Have you ever been there? What do you do when your soul is downcast?
Ask yourself why your soul is downcast?
Distance from home and the house of God (42:2, 42:6).
Taunting unbelievers (42:3, 42:10).
Memories of better days (42:4).
The present absence of past spiritual thrills (42:4).
Overwhelming trials of life (42:7).
God’s seemingly slow response (42:9).
Why is your soul downcast, depressed, discouraged, find the cause, find the root of the problem.
You lost a job, diseases, disappointment, trials, distance from God, and the like.
Challenge your feelings with Hope
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation[c] 6 and my God.
The psalmist paused from the painful memory to challenge his own soul. He did not surrender to his feelings of spiritual depression and discouragement. Instead, he challenged them and brought them before God. He said to those cast down and disquieted feelings, “Hope in God. He will come through again, because He has before.”
This is a long way from the surrender that often traps the discouraged or spiritually depressed person. He didn’t say, “My soul is cast down and that’s how it is. There is nothing I can do about it.”
The challenge made to his own soul – demanding that it explain a reason why it should be so cast down – is a wonderful example. There were some valid reasons for discouragement; there were many more reasons for hope.
Still, it was as if the psalmist said, “Those are not good enough reasons to be cast down when I think of the greatness of God and the help of His favor and presence.”
“You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down – what business have you to be disquieted?’” (Lloyd-Jones, cited in Boice)
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him: In his discouragement, the psalmist spoke to himself – perhaps even preached to himself. He didn’t feel filled with praise at the moment. Yet he was confident that as he did what he could to direct his hope in God, that praise would come forth. “I don’t feel like praising Him now, but He is worthy of my hope – and I shall yet praise Him.”
And while you are hoping, move a little, clean yourself up a little, don’t isolate yourself.
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Remember What God Has Done
O my God, my soul is cast down within me: In an almost detached sense, the psalmist reported his cast down soul to God. This was wise, because a common tendency in such times is to stay away from God or act as if we could hide the problem from him. The psalmist did neither.
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan: This explains why he was so far from the house of God and could not appear at the tabernacle or temple. He was far north of Jerusalem, in the heights of Hermon.
“We know the chief thing that was bothering him. He was far from Jerusalem and its temple worship on Mount Zion, and therefore felt himself to be cut off from God.” (Boice)
Remembering what God has done is such a powerful thing.
In Hebrew Baby Names the meaning of the name Ebenezer is: Rock or stone of help. Famous bearer: the Old Testament Samuel gave the name Ebenezer to a stone set up in recognition of God's assistance in defeating the Philistines; When God promised that He would always be with Jacob: Genesis 28:10-19 When God rescued Jacob from Esau: Genesis 33:20 Again to remember when God rescued Jacob from Esau: Genesis 35:1-3 When God defeated the Amalekites: Exodus 17:8-16 When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses: Exodus 24:4
But the best one must be the story of Joshua
Psalm 42 in bible time corelates with Exodus, for the five books of Psalms related to the first five books of the Old Testament. Exodus starts with a remembering of the twelve tribes coming from Joseph, but then captivity into Egypt for 400 years, eventually God gives them Moses who frees them and parts the red sea. But they forget and spend 40 years in the wilderness only to have Moses unable to enter the promised land. So, Joshua is allowed in and the first miracle is passing through the Jordan River to capture their promise land.
And God is afraid they will forget….
Joshua 4:1-7 Twelve Memorial Stones from the Jordan
4 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
Just the other week I was discouraged, which at times in life leads to depression, and I was asked to speak on our adoption story for a podcast and I began to tell of all the Lord had done. How we had a prophecy of the 4 kids two being girls and two being boys. The miraculous way that people helped us pay for our adoption. The unbelievable amount of Hope and answer to God’s prayers.
What was I doing? Bringing us stones of remembrance.
And as I did, I felt the despair lift. The depression leave, the downcast soul being lifted.
I was remembering who He was. I was remembering what He had done.
What do you do when your soul is downcast?
Bring stones of rembrance.
7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. 8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and 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 do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
What do you do when you are downcast?
Find out why
Focus your Hope on Him
Remember all that the Lord has done