Psalm 42

Longing for God's Presence



Psalm 42 is a psalm of deep longing and desire for God's presence. As we study this psalm from a New Covenant perspective, we will see how it points to Jesus Christ as the ultimate satisfaction of our spiritual thirst. We will explore the themes of longing for God, finding hope in Him, and the assurance of His steadfast love.

Section 1: Thirsting for God (vs 1-4)

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs after You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'"

Talking Points:

Harmony: John 4:14 (BSB), "But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life."


Section 2: Finding Hope in God (vs 5-8)

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why the unease within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him for the salvation of His presence. O my God, my soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and waves have rolled over me. By day the LORD decrees His loving devotion; by night His song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life."

Talking Points:

Harmony: Romans 15:13 (BSB), "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."


Section 3: Assurance of God's Steadfast Love (vs 9-11)

"I will say to God, my rock, 'Why have You forgotten me? Why must I walk in sorrow because of the enemy’s oppression?' As a shattering of my bones, my enemies taunt me, saying to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why the unease within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."

Talking Points:

Harmony: Romans 8:38-39 (BSB), "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."



Psalm 42, interpreted through the perspective of the New Covenant in Christ, expresses the psalmist's deep longing for God's presence, finding its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus.

The psalmist's description of the deer panting for water symbolizes the soul's yearning for God, reflecting our own longing for a relationship with Him, which is satisfied through faith in Jesus (John 4:13-14).

The psalmist's cry for God's living presence and the recognition that true satisfaction is found in Him aligns with Jesus' declaration that He is the bread of life and the living water that quenches our spiritual thirst (John 6:35, John 7:37-38).

The psalmist's lament over feeling distant from God and oppressed by enemies resonates with our own experiences, but Jesus offers us reconciliation and freedom through His sacrifice and victory (Ephesians 2:13, Colossians 2:15).

The psalmist's declaration of hope and trust in God's salvation prefigures the hope we have in Jesus, who offers eternal life and deliverance from sin (John 3:16, Romans 6:23).

The psalmist's exhortation to put hope in God despite the challenges echoes Jesus' teaching on persevering faith and finding rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30, John 16:33).

Psalm 42 portrays the deep longing for God's presence, the hope in His salvation, and the ultimate fulfillment found in Jesus Christ, our Savior and the source of our satisfaction and rest.