“Hope in God.” It’s the heartbeat of Psalm 42. Life hadn’t been easy for the psalmist. “My tears have been my food day and night” (42:3). Some had taunted, “Where is your God?” His soul felt “cast down” within him. Enemies were oppressing and it wasn’t hard to imagine that God must have forgotten him. So what did the author of Psalm 42 do? He talked to himself. He preached to his own soul.
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. (42:11)
“Hope in God.” That’s the message as we address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs throughout the day. “Hope in God.” That’s the encouragement as we spend time together in prayer. “Hope in God.” That’s the meaning of the memorial we observe of our Savior’s sacrificial death, brief burial, and triumphant resurrection. “Hope in God.” That’s the aim of the word being preached all over this planet today. “Hope in God.”
Maybe hope seems in short supply this morning. Perhaps your soul is in turmoil and you resonate with the psalmist’s feeling of being “cast down.” If so, I have a question for you. Are you thirsty? I’m not asking if you have it all together or if you feel strong or if you know what tomorrow holds. I’m just asking, are you thirsty? Here’s why:
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God? (42:1-2)
You can’t change the past and you can’t control what others do or say, but you can come thirsty. You can’t snap your fingers and make all the evil in all the world go away. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But you can bring a thirsty soul to these spiritual opportunities throughout the day. Come thirsty. Like a panting deer. Come thirsty and you’ll find streams of living water flowing from this never-ending source: “Hope in God.” That’s why we praise him again today. He is our salvation and our God. The living God.
Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself when you feel cast down. Don’t be ashamed to preach to your own soul when it’s in turmoil.
Hope in God.