Psalms 42-48

Good morning! In the seven psalms we have today (42-48), we cover the range of human emotions from desperate longing to confident praise for divine intervention. We also find some of the most beautiful and loving lines of Scripture in this passage.

Psalms 42 and 43 both express grief at the perception of God’s absence. Longing for God in Psalm 42 takes expression in the beautiful metaphor of a deer thirsting for flowing streams. From the rest of the psalm, it sounds to me like a formerly influential leader has fallen out of favor, and wonders if God still cares. Adversaries and passersby ask: “Where is your God?” Psalm 43 also expresses the feeling that God has cast one off in a time of trouble. Both psalms finish with an identical closing couplet of self-talk encouraging “hope in God”.

Psalm 44 makes references back to the conquest under Joshua in its first part. This history shows that God has been a triumphant warrior for Israel. But after a “Selah” pause, the other shoe drops. God’s favor is entirely gone now, and it’s not due to anything the leaders have done. God seems capricious in fortune, and worshippers cast themselves onto God’s mercy. They clamor for God to awake and arise, doubtless fearing the taunts of other nations who contend that the protective God of Israel has fallen asleep and forsaken the people forever.

But then, we get something completely different. Psalm 45 is a praise-song for a king on the occasion of a royal wedding. I find the verses most interesting when they describe the beauty of the palace and the bride on the wedding day. Less appealing is an address to the young woman about to marry, counseling her to submit to the king. Might this psalm date back to the time of Solomon, who was known for so many wives and concubines?

Psalm 46 is an all-time favorite for scriptural promises of God’s abiding care. The heart of this psalm’s message is: fear not, under any circumstances. God’s faithful protection covers and shelters God’s people in every season. Weapons of war will be destroyed, but God remains forever. As a result, the people may confidently rest and trust in God. The first part of 46:10 can easily be turned into a breathing meditation: “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be.” Happy reading!

Read Psalms 42-48.

Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Psalms 49-54. Thanks for reading!

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