A Template for Worship

psalm 42By Carey Helmink

Psalm 42 is a wonderful template for life and worship. I see 3 things that should encourage us today. First of all, David walks his way through so many different emotions – he feels life so deeply. Those emotions are not condemned but are merely expressed. God can handle the reality of what we feel, and he invites us to share that with him.

Secondly, David makes decisions – courageous decisions – to choose to bring those emotions under some sort of control. Listen to his words: “I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God! . . . I will remember (what God has done for me in the past). . . . Each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.” In the midst of David’s struggles, he chooses to worship, to remember, and to pray.

Lastly, I am so encouraged by this statement in the middle of all of David’s ramblings:

“But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me…”

Not occasionally – but EACH DAY. The Lord POURS – like a pitcher of water that is poured and seeps into every crevice. His UNFAILING LOVE – it is unquenchable and everlasting and totally reliable. Upon ME – not upon the assembly or upon the congregation, but on me – one, small, insignificant person.

As you read the Psalm below, think about the following questions:

  • Which feelings do you connect with today?
  • What courageous decisions do you most need to make?
    • To put your hope in God?
    • To worship and praise him in your circumstances?
    • To remember his faithfulness in the past?
    • To pray believing that he is the one who gives you life?

Psalm 42

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night I have only tears for food, While my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”

My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, Leading a great procession to the house of God, Singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sadI will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!

Now I am deeply discouragedBut I will remember you – Even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, From the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.


And through each night I sing his songs, Praying to God who gives me life.

 “O God, my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? “Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sadI will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!

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