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Why Are You Downcast?

By David Robinson/ July 12, 2015

Series  Meditations on the Psalms

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Discipleship

Scripture  Psalms 42

In times of trouble or depression, it is God's Word and His covenant faithfulness which defines our reality and interprets our circumstances.

Scripture:  Psalm 42

Sermon Notes:

  1. This Psalm was written for the choir master to be sung in the temple worship.
  2. The Psalm is an intensely personal prayer of lament.
  3. It is also a Psalm of instruction, teaching us how to respond in times of distress or depression.
  4. The Psalm has a rhythm, ascending and descending in lament, emotion, hope, and prayer.
  5. The Psalm grabs us, pulling us into the experience of the psalmist and all those who mourn.
  6. With deep longing, the psalmist’s soul thirsts for God, as a desert deer pants for water.
  7. The psalmist appears to be isolated, separated from the congregation.
  8. Causes of depression range from life circumstances, lifestyle imbalance, sin, stress, poor diet, or lack of sleep.
  9. Sin, evil, and the Devil are still active in the world so we must be ready to turn to God in our distress.
  10. Using the language of covenant, the question is personal: “where is your God” (Psalm 42:3).
  11. When we listen to the turmoil in our hearts, we become distressed.  We need to stop and address the turmoil of our own soul with the Word of God using passages such as Romans 8, Revelation 22, John 20.
  12. It is God’s Word which defines our reality and interprets our circumstances.
  13. Our focus is to be on what is unseen.  Our experiences are momentary; God is eternal, transcending our circumstances.
  14. The roar of God’s “waves” may be overwhelming, but God is near (cf. Psalm 66:10-12; 139:5).
  15. God’s covenant is founded on His steadfast love; we can rest in His lovingkindness.
  16. When we are facing trials and difficulty, it is helpful to sing God’s praise. Singing breaks the chaos.
  17. In song and prayer, the chaos is lifted, and the psalmist declares that God is his Rock.
  18. We need to pray in faith wherever we are at, even from the midst of our experience of depression or isolation.
  19. God assures us of His steadfast love (Psalm 42:8).
  20. In the midst of the crashing waves and waterfalls, we have God’s promise of care (cf. Psalm 56:8) and we are reminded to hope in God (Psalm 43).
  21. Whenever the enemy taunts, “where is your God,” we remember we have Christ who is with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

Application Questions:

  1. Why does God bring “waves” into our lives?
  2. What are common causes of depression?
  3. Where should we look for hope and certainty when our souls are cast down?
  4. Do we employ prayer and song to help us face the chaos in our lives?
  5. Do our souls thirst for the living God?