What do you do when you experience spiritual depression or discouragement? How do you respond? Many times, believers are not honest with the Lord about their struggles with depression. Many times believers deny that they are depressed or feel like there is no time to deal with the issue. Instead of considering the cause of the depression, whether it is an external circumstance, a sin pattern, or maybe both, the problem is often ignored and gets worse. On the other hand, believers can acknowledge that they are depressed and may even know the reason, but their depression lingers and they do not apply the truth of the gospel to their lives. But there is another way.
In Psalm 42, the psalmist is experiencing the external oppression and taunting of an enemy as well as the inner turmoil that comes as a result. He twice assesses his own situation when he asks himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” He mentions being cast down in his soul three times within the psalm. He describes the tears that he has cried as a result of his enemies taunting him and mocking God in the process for not delivering him. He even asks God, “Why have you forgotten me?” When talking to God about his situation, he was extremely honest about his situation. He did not hide how he felt about the situation before God.
But the psalmist did not merely describe his situation to God. He remembered something. He remembered a time when he would lead a procession to worship God. He reminded himself of God’s character and that the LORD commands his steadfast love. This is the deep, covenant-keeping love of Yahweh. The psalmist does not stop at describing his situation to God; he continues to describe his God to himself. As a result, he can say to himself, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” May we learn from the example of Psalm 42 how to bring our trials and discouragement to the LORD and place our hope in his character and promises.
Preaching – Richard Boswell
Preaching Text – Psalm 42
Meditation Passage – Revelation 21:1-8
Call to Worship Passage – Hebrews 2:5-18
Benediction Passage – Numbers 6:24-26
Songs for Sunday –