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Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at

Psalms Chapter 42

BOOK 2 - Psalms 42-72

In the second book, the remnant is viewed as outside Jerusalem, and the city as given up to wickedness. This is seen throughout it. The covenant connection of the Jews with Jehovah is lost, but God is trusted. When Messiah comes in, all is changed. We have further, more distinctly, the exaltation of Christ on high as the means of their deliverance, and His rejection and sorrow when down here. It closes with the millennial reign of Messiah in peace under the figure of Solomon. The spirit of the godly man is tested by these circumstances. And, as all hope of finding good in the people is given up, the soul of the believing remnant is more entirely looking to God Himself and attached to Him. It is with this that the book opens.

The godly man had been going with the multitude to the house of God, but that is all over. He is driven away, and his cry is from Jordanthe land of the Hermonites, and the hill Mizar. All God's waves are gone over him. It was terrible to see an enemy in possession of the sanctuary, and the true one of Jehovah cast out and His name blasphemed. The heathen, as stated in Joel, had come in in power, and taunted those who had trusted in Jehovah's faithfulness with the cry, "Where is thy God?" (Joe 2:17). It was, of course, a dreadful trial (so with Christ upon the cross; and with Him yet more, for He declared He was forsaken); so that what God was to them by faith was put to the test. This faith is what this psalm now expresses. The heart of the godly pants after God. It was not merely for His blessings; they were gone. The preciousness of what He Himself was, was only so much the more vividly brought out. The main distress was the cry "Where is thy God?" But if the saint is not in Jerusalem, God is the confidence of the saint. Faith says, "I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance." The heart too can appeal to Him (Psa 42:9), and, under the pressure of the repeated taunt, hope in God Himself, and He will be the health of the countenance of him that trusts in Him. The reader will remark that in Verse 5 (Psa 42:5) it is the help of God's countenance: in Verse 11 (Psa 42:11) He becomes the health of the countenance of him that trusts in Him. This making God Himself to become everything by the deprivation of all blessings, and the exercise of faith in it casting the soul entirely on God Himself, is very precious.

Next: Psalms Chapter 43