Psalms 42-43

Talks for Growing Christians

Longing to Freely Worship the Lord

Psalms 42-43

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Lesson Number 31

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers who long for God when thirsty will not be disappointed.
  2. Believers who lean on God when oppressed will not be disappointed.

Practical Application

  1. Praise the Lord when your soul thirsts for God.
  2. It’s okay to ask why!


  1. Who were the sons of Korah?
  2. What hint does Psalm 42:6 give us about the setting of the author when he wrote these psalms?
  3. Why is the psalmist weeping in Psalm 42:3?
  4. Why do we say that Psalm 42 and 43 may have originally been one psalm?
  5. Does the psalmist desire personal revenge for his captivity?


  1. The sons of Korah were Kohathites of the tribe of Levi whom David appointed to praise the Lord in the ministry of music (see 1Chronicles 6).
  2. It would seem from verse 6 that the author was in exile or captivity somewhere in the north of Israel where the Jordan Valley is wide below the peaks of Mt. Hermon. Possibly they were written by a Jewish captive of the Syrians when the Syrians controlled this territory during the reigns of Ahab and Jehoshaphat. Or it could have been written by one of the captives when Assyrians invaded the Land.
  3. He weeps in sorrow as he is taunted by the enemy where he is held captive. “Where is your God?” they say.
  4. The psalms naturally go together because in both psalms the writer longs to be back in Jerusalem to worship the Lord at His holy temple. Also, we see the same refrain in Psalm 42:5, 11 and 43:5. Some ancient Hebrew manuscripts have these psalms united as one.
  5. No, he only desires vindication and deliverance from enemy oppression and the opportunity to worship the Lord at the Temple. He is leaning totally on the Lord and is confident that the Lord will grant his requests.


  1. Even though it seemed that God had forgotten the psalmist as he experienced enemy opposition (42:9) and physical and emotional distress (42:10), yet he was confident that the Lord would deliver him. We see this in the refrain of verses 5 and 11. Can you tell of a time when you longed for the Lord and were not disappointed?
  2. Reread these psalms noting the author’s fervent desire to worship the Lord. So often we take the privilege of going to church and worshiping God for granted. We may even see it as drudgery or a burden. Discuss how you can cultivate in your life the mindset of this psalmist toward worship.


  1. In these psalms the psalmist asked God “why” ten times. It was not wrong for the psalmist to voice these questions and it is not an indication that he has given up the faith. You can ask God “why” when you need understanding, insight, or long to be in close fellowship with the Lord.

Key Verses

  • “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.” Psalm 42:1
  • “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42:11

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