Summary: How the psalmist experienced depression and some ways to cope with it. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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Reason for Psalmists depression:

• Separation (vs 6)

• Attack (vs 3&10)

• Grief (vs 3,5 &7)

Remedies to the Psalmists depression:

• He prays (vs 9)

• He affirms God’s sovereign love (vs 8)

• He sings (vs 8)

• He preaches to his own soul (vs 5&11)

• He remembers past experiences (vs 4)

• He thirsts for God (vs 1-2).



• Martin Luther was a German monk, Catholic priest, professor of theology;

• He was the pivotal figure of the 16th-century movement in Christianity;

• Known later as the Protestant Reformation.

• On one occasion Martin Luther once spent three days in a deep depression,

• Over something that had gone wrong.

• On the third day of his depression his wife came downstairs dressed in mourning clothes.

• Martin Luther asked her: "Who’s dead?"

• She replied; “God!”

• Luther rebuked her, saying,

• "What do you mean, God is dead? God cannot die."

• Luther’s wife replied: "Well, the way you’ve been acting I was sure He had!"

Throughout Christian history many deeply spiritual men and women have experienced depression:

• i.e. Charles Spurgeon, probably the most effective British preacher of his generation,

• Was immobilized for weeks at a time by depression.

• In a biography of the "prince of preachers", Arnold Dallimore wrote,

• "What he suffered in those times of darkness we may not know...

• even his desperate calling on God brought no relief.

• 'There are dungeons', he said, 'beneath the castles of despair.'"

• i.e. William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”),

• The seventeenth century poet and hymn writer also suffered chronic depression.

• Cowper wrote many famous hymns in partnership with ex-slave-trader John Newton.

• He penned the classic hymns:

• “There is a fountain, filled with blood,”

• “GOD moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;”

• “Oh! for a closer walk with God”

• But in his period of deepest depression;

• He lacked assurance and even doubted if he was saved or lost!

• i.e. Soren Kierkegaard, the influential nineteenth century Christian writer;

• Who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher,

• If you read his works then you will need to keep a dictionary handy;

• He likes to use long and what we would call uncommon words.

• He too suffered chronic depression.

• i.e. J.B. Phillips the writer who penned his own New testament paraphrase says:

• “He wrote for the young people who belonged to my youth club,

• Most of them not much above school-leaving age,

• And I undertook the work simply because;

• I found that the Authorised Version was not intelligible to them."

• Later it was published more widely in response to popular demand.

• It is a great work that has stood the test of time.

• After its publication J.B. Phillips sank into a period of debilitating depression;

Throughout Christian history many deeply spiritual men and women have experienced depression:

• ill: In 1965 Martin Lloyd Jones published a book entitled ‘Spiritual Depression’.

• His book is based on Psalm 42.

• It is still in print and is well worth reading.

• Over the last 50 years it has helped thousands of people.

• It is a balanced read because unlike most doctors who write on depression,

• Lloyd Jones was a pastor who knew there was more to it than brain chemistry.

• And unlike most pastors who write on this subject;

• Lloyd Jones was also a medical doctor,

• Who knew that there was more to it than just repentance.

• If you struggle with depression it is a book worth reading all the way through;

• If you are not a strong reader;

• Then pick out the particular chapters of interest and read them.

Now depression is a key theme is Psalms 42 & 43:

• Many scholars believe Psalms 42 and 43 are two parts of the same psalm.

• And maybe this is why there is no title for Psalm 43.

• Now one reason for writing a song is to tell others exactly how we feel.

• In songs and poems we express our feelings, our emotions are on show,

• They are written from then heart and not just the mind.

• This two-part psalm would fall into this category.

• It lets us know exactly what David was going through and how he felt about it.

• Note: Although the writer of this psalm is not named,

• Most scholars seem to believe it was written by King David.

• David knew what it was to be depressed, despondent and dejected,

• We find him in the grip of a dark bout of depression.

Question: What is depression?

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