Summary: Have you ever been homesick? As the deer thirsts for flowing streams in times of drought, so the psalmist longed for the living God, who never fails to satisfy. While these two psalms are separate, they make up a single poem.

Thirsty Souls

Psalms 42:1-43:5

October 20, 2004 PM


Have you ever been homesick?

While these two psalms are separate, they make up a single poem. The poet was a person of deep faith who was living in exile at the headwaters of the Jordan River near snow capped Mount Hermon, north of the Holy Land. While he could pray to the Lord, he sincerely missed the opportunities for worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. We need the closet of private prayer (Matt. 6:6),

Matt 6:6

6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (NIV)

but we also need to experience the presence of God in corporate worship (Acts 2:1-4).

Heb 10:25

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (KJV)

The two psalms taken together have three sections, each of which concludes with a refrain (42:5,11; 43:5).

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

The poet gave vivid expression to his longing for God and the experience of public worship.

I. Longing of my soul (vs 42:1-5)

II. Overwhelming of my soul (vs 42:6-11)

III. Restoring of my soul (vs 43:1-5)

Read Psalms 42:1-43:5

To the chief musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah


Maschil may have been a term referring to a psalm sung at an annual festival, and accompanied by a special kind of music.

(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


The Levite who, along with Dathan, Abiram, and On of the tribe of Reuben, led a revolt against the leadership of Moses and Aaron . Korah was the son of Izhar and a first cousin of Moses and Aaron . He was equal in rank with Aaron within the tribe of Levi.

Korah apparently was jealous that Aaron held the position of high priest. The Reubenites were the descendants of Jacob’s eldest son. They thought the responsibility for leading Israel should rest with their tribe rather than the Levites. The four ringleaders gathered 250 leaders of the congregation, publicly charging Moses and Aaron with abusing their power. They claimed that all members of the congregation should have equal access to the Lord.

Moses placed the dispute in the hands of the Lord, directing Korah and his company to bring containers of incense as an offering to the Lord. Korah complied with this and went with his congregation to the door of the tabernacle where the Lord appeared, threatening to "consume them in a moment" . Moses and Aaron interceded, saving the nation of Israel from destruction. The decision of leadership was again placed before the Lord as Moses instructed the congregation to "depart from the tents of these wicked men" . The decision in favor of Moses was dramatized as "the earth opened its mouth" and swallowed all the men of Korah .

Apparently some of the descendants of Korah survived to become ministers of music in the tabernacle during the time of David <1 Chr. 6:31-37>. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

1 Chr 6:31-33

31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. 33 Here are the men who served, together with their sons: From the Kohathites: (NIV)

I. Longing of my soul (vs 42:1-5)

A. Thirsting for God’s Presence (vs 1-3)

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night,

while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

Thirst for God (42:1-5) As the deer thirsts for flowing streams in times of drought, so the psalmist longed for the living God, who never fails to satisfy (vv. 1-2). Overwhelmed by his depression and surrounded by scoffers, he thirsted for the comfort of God’s presence. As the stream quenches the deer’s thirst, so God’s steadfast love brought joy and praise to the psalmist’s lips (Rev. 21:6; 22:17).

Rev 21:6

6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. (NIV)

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