- (A special psalm for the people of Korah and for the music leader.) As a deer gets thirsty for streams of water, I truly am thirsty for you, my God.
- In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God. When will I see your face?
- Day and night my tears are my only food, as everyone keeps asking, "Where is your God?"
- Sorrow floods my heart, when I remember leading the worshipers to your house. I can still hear them shout their joyful praises.
- Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me,
- and you are my God. I am deeply discouraged as I think about you from where the Jordan begins at Mount Hermon and from Mount Mizar.
- Your vicious waves have swept over me like an angry ocean or a roaring waterfall.
- Every day, you are kind, and at night you give me a song as my prayer to you, the living LORD God.
- You are my mighty rock. Why have you forgotten me? Why must enemies mistreat me and make me sad?
- Even my bones are in pain, while all day long my enemies sneer and ask, "Where is your God?"
- Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.
In particular, this psalmist desired the communion with God he only found in worship at the sanctuary. Though he was on Mount Mizar, he desired to be on Mount Zion worshiping God, but for some reason was hindered from doing so. There were apparently troubles he was encountering that also kept him from going to Mount Zion, and these troubles had others taunting him with the question, "Where is your God?" as if his God had abandoned him. He may have begun to wonder about that as well, and had become depressed.
But with renewed determination, the psalmist asked himself, "Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?" And then he determined to put his, "hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God." (42:5) He decided he would not remain depressed nor dependent on his need to be at the sanctuary to draw strength from God. He would place his hope in God and praise Him nonetheless. In so doing, he was confident that "The LORD will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night--a prayer to the God of my life. (42:8)
We are given a hint of the psalmist's circumstances in verses 9-10 when he asks, "Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy's oppression?" and then states, "My adversaries taunt me, as if crushing my bones, while all day long they say to me, "Where is your God?" He and his people may have been under the control and rule of an enemy oppressor who kept them from going to the sanctuary in Jerusalem.
He closes the psalm with a repeat of his earlier determination not to remain depressed but to put his "hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God." (42:11)