STEADFAST HOPE – by Raphael ben Levi
“My soul, why are you so downcast? Why are you groaning inside me? Hope in God, since I will praise him again for being my Saviour and God” (Ps. 42:6)
God gave the Israelites the Torah in the desert instead of somewhere fertile which has fascinated Jewish sages who provide various explanations. Some have suggested that it illustrates God’s Word that alone fills empty lives (Ps.42-43); His Word transforms the barrenness within us into lush pastures. This ties in with New Testament statements concerning Yeshua, “The Word of God.”
Why was the psalmist downcast? According to the great sage, Rashi, these feelings were generated by a longing for more of God rather than from any sin committed. The psalmist reminisced upon times before the exile compared to his present circumstances, surrounded by the torment of his Babylonian oppressors who scorned him with derisive comments. The question he reflects upon doesn’t receive an answer, but it does provide him with a solution. Throughout the song he reminds himself that even in the darkest moments we possess a sure hope in God. Like many divine ‘solutions’ they are plain and simple though costly. Perhaps that is why God provides us with much practice because commensurate to it are buried incomparable treasures.
The psalmist composed this psalm exposing his deepest emotions in the spirit of desperate reverential awe that revealed something, not just about himself but also of the God he placed his trust in: “I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me.” (Ps.42:7-8) Can you hear an echo resonating deep within bearing testimony to the God who sustains us in every circumstance, who never fails those who place their trust in Him. “Hope in God, since I will praise him again for being my Saviour and God”