“Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42:5
Do you ever catch yourself talking to yourself? I do! But do I ever have a conversation with my soul? Hmm. Probably not as often as I should. Here the psalmist speaks of his conversation with his soul, a soul that is discouraged and defeated. Disquieted is an old-fashioned word, but maybe needs some serious promotion in this day of depression and anxiety. Pull that word apart, and you get DIS-QUIET, not quiet. Literally anxious, worried, agitated, disturbed, unsettled, or ruffled.
Although many psalms were written by David, this particular psalm was attributed to the Sons of Korah, a group of Levites thought to be involved in Temple worship. If these men were truly descendants of the Korah who rebelled against Moses, they truly understood the righteous judgment of God and more understandably appreciated the mercy of God (David Guzik, www.enduring word.com/bible-commentary/psalm-42). What had occurred to cause this man or group of men to be so downhearted?
There is some speculation about the cause of the depression. Were they discouraged by their lack of opportunity to worship in the way that they desired? Despite the reason, they share with us a unique perspective on dealing with our own low seasons. Instead of giving in to their unsettled minds, they CHALLENGED them. They spoke back to that discouraged soul that was telling them that things would never be okay again. They preached a sermon on faith and trust to their weary souls.
Their sermon subject? Hope! “Hope in God,” they said. They told their souls to hope in this Supreme God Who controls everything. Hope has many synonyms here: wait for, expect, tarry, stay, be patient, and be pained by the process of waiting. How about that last one? How often have we been pained by the process of waiting for and expecting God to move on our behalf? But what is the end result of this psalmist’s prayer for his soul? In verse five, he says, “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” But in the last verse, he changes this a bit: “I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance.” It’s as if the writer transitions from the hope of God’s help to the accepting of that help as a completed transaction.
So, the result of challenging our own seasons of depression, preaching a sermon on trust to our souls, is a greater capacity to trust God for the healing and health that we so desperately desire. Our soul’s maintenance depends on our trust in the soul mender.