PSALM 42:1-6

Psalm 42:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses

To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.

1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, 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?

3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”

4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar.

Dr. Gough:

Have you ever been really thirsty, for water? I have.

--Water from Granddad's pump, I recall, best of all.

--David had a thirst, also, but for the Lord God!

--Listen! "My soul thirsts for God, the living God."

Look at Psalm 42. David in a cave. Thirsting.

--Picture our Scripture. He is chased by King Saul.

--Several times David saved Saul's life; now hunted by King Saul, seeking to take David's life.

--Married Saul's daughter! But Saul was jealous.

--So David was running for his life, hiding in caves.

--Praying for God's help. Provision. Protection.

David looks out of the cave, sees a deer, running.

--Running for his life; and the deer is very thirsty.

--The deer is being hunted. Panting. Hot, thirsty.

--Goes for water, from a cool pool. David watches.

David feels for that young dear. Both very thirsty.

--Both being chased by hunters. He thirsts for God!

--"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, 0 God" (v 1). Longs for communion!

--"My soul thirsts for God, the living God" (v 2).

--Only a "living God" can help, and satisfy his need.

--David was holding on to hope!

My friend, do you ever get down? Problems multiply?

--Your family not going well. Or job. Or finances.

--Maybe you are there in some way now. What to do?

--David goes to God, says, "My tears have been my food day and night .. I pour out my soul" (v 3,4).

--Where do you go, each new day, or in tough times?

Amid disappointments and difficulties, have faith!

--Let your faith grow - even if it is small or weak.

--Faith "small as a mustard seed" with Jesus, "..moves mountains." Only trust Him! Nothing any better!

--Remember what Jesus said in John 7:37, ".. if anyone thirsts (has a need), let him come to Me and drink."

--You see, Jesus is the "water of life" we need.

We may not know it, but we all have a thirst for God.

--People go wild. Do murderous things to people.

What a splendid witness for Jesus, the Amish gave.

--Five precious young lives snuffed out, yet the killer's widow is welcomed among them, in love.

--When many, in the Middle East or here, take revenge!

--Friend, we need more like these Amish believers!

--Like David, and others. Like Jesus, and His cross.

--Laying down His sinless life, for sinners, as we.

Hunted. Innocent. Running for his safety and life!

--Yet. David says, "I shall yet praise (God), for the help of His countenance," God's presence (v 5, 11).

--David was not ashamed to confess the Lord!

We may not be aware, but all are being chased.

--That's right. By the devil, our greatest enemy!

--Satan allures. Deceives. Defeats. Destroys.

--It was the devil in Saul that sought David's life!

David wrote Psalm 42, in a time of difficulty.

--At times this old world can get us discouraged.

--When troubles come, don't curse, nurse, or rehearse.

--But disperse them to God, in prayer, as did David.

--Strong, believing saints know to do that.

--They keep thirsting after God! His Word! His grace.

--David said, "My soul thirsts for the living God."

Are you "thirsting for the living God?" His promises?

--God has plenty of precious promises to cheer us.

--In His Word. For any to claim. Feed on each day.

--I have found them trustworthy. So comforting.

We should also "thirst" for God's protection.

--Day by day. For self. Loved ones. Youth. Others.

--Our troops. Protect our faith! Our freedoms.

--The ACLU, and terrorists, seek to destroy them.

--Bless those who seek to protect all that is dear!

In godly living, let's "thirst" for God's provisions.

--To "provide all our need according to His riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). For His care of us.

Thirsting for His presence. His great possibilities.

--God has a plan for good for each to choose!

--Seek it. Desire it. Just don't miss it!

--David was thirsting for all of these, from the Lord.

We read, "All things are possible with God" (Mt. 19:26).

--Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23).

--If it is God's will, it can be done.

--If it is not God's will, it can be done, without.

--Keep this in mind, for God is "able to do more than we can ask, or even think," when. in His holy will.

--A thirst for God is the key - to heaven and His help.

I am often asked what to do when problems arise.

--May I suggest things I believe that David, and others in Scripture, did .. that you and I can do?


--Read I Samuel for the background and details here.

--David had problems, greater than most of us.

--He looked at it, from all sides. Analyzed it long.

--He evaluated it. Was it real? Was it serious? Yes.

--Asked, "Am I at fault?" Was quick to make amends.

--Was it another person at fault? That needs prayer.

--Calls for wisdom. Patience. Understanding. Care.

--He asks, "What can I do to resolve, or reduce, it?"

--He thirsted for God! "For the living God"to help.

Let's be honest. Admit our faults. Confess sins.

--Admit any mistakes. Do everything on our part.

--Let's not leave it all up to God. Or another.

--You will never go wrong, to make things right!

--Analyze your life. Look at it, as God does.

--David was doing that, "When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me" (Psalm 42:4).


--What do we mean agonize? That surely is not worry!

--Worry gets us nowhere. Solves nothing; never wins.

--Worry never paid a bill. Or does God's will.

--The agonizing I speak, is genuine, fervent prayer!

--Not some little quick, ditty. But in earnest!

That's what David was telling here in Psalm 42.

--Verse 3, "My tears have been my food day and night."

--His prayers mingled with his tears! Were his meat.

--He was so engaged in intercession with the Lord, he forgot to eat! Or was "fasting and praying."

--Like Jesus' tears in Gethsemane, before His cross.

Jesus agonized in prayer in Gethsemane before a cross.

--Listen to Him, "Not My will, but Thy will, be done."


--Not just look at, or beyond, but look through it.

--Not just analyze, agonize, but organize it with God!

--David put it all in perspective. Broke it in parts.

--Focused on God; not the problem!

--Life is hard by the yard; but a cinch by the inch!

What life hands you, organize it - with the Lord.

--David learned that. Partnered with God; was blessed.

--In the end, the Lord brought David success!

In John 4 Jesus is at Jacob's well, where we've drunk.

--About noon. They were hot. Thirsty, from walking.

--A woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink" (4:7). You know the story.

--A conversation ensues - and Jesus told her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst .. the water I shall give him will become .. a fountain of water springing up in everlasting life."

--Refreshing, life-giving words! Amazing, true promise.

--It is in Jesus! True for many then. True today.

In Isaiah 43:2, God promised, "When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown"(LB).

--My friend, a "born again" believer is ever blessed!

We think of Jesus on the cross, saying, "I thirst."

--Of course He did! "I thirst" fulfills Psalm 69:2.

--Thirsting for water! But for more than water!

--Jesus was thirsting for our faith in Him!

--Our obedience to Him. For our "righteousness, love."

Long ago this same prophet Isaiah, in 55:1, cried, "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come .. you who have no money .. buy and eat .. without money and without price."

--Feed upon the Lord, by faith. Drink of His fountain!

--You and I can come, enjoy; for Jesus "paid it all."

Psalm 42 ends with these words of David, "Hope in God."

--Only trust Him, in Jesus!

Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD.