Updated: Jun 1, 2021
This Week's Scripture & Reflection: Psalm 42:9-11
One of the most popular and personalized verses in the Bible can be found in I Samuel 30. In this account, David and his army have returned to their temporary living quarters in a territory called Ziklag to discover that their land has been torched and that their wives and children have been abducted by the Amalekites. In the midst of much weeping and distress, the Bible declares that David "encouraged himself in the Lord his God" (cf. I Samuel 30:6). This is a familiar and triggering place for many of us! Not every phone call to that particular friend or family member has been answered. At times, that trusted confidant whom you wanted to call and be encouraged by was experiencing so much turmoil themselves that you were forced to encourage your own self in the Lord! It was through these moments, however, that we learned that our exhortation is not solely for the building up of others; we need it for ourselves as well!
Here in Psalm 42, we see the sons of Korah exemplifying this same disposition! The sons of Korah served as leaders of tabernacle worship under the rulership of King David. Many notable Psalms are attributed to their pen! While the full context of this particular Psalm is not explicitly stated within the text itself, it is strongly believed that the sons of Korah wrote and ministered this Psalm while in exile from their homeland of Jerusalem. In II Samuel 15, Absalom, one of King David's sons, successfully turned the people of Israel against King David so that he might usurp the throne from his father. After receiving word of Absalom and Israel's rebellion, David and his servants, including the sons of Korah, quickly departed from Jerusalem to escape the approaching wrath of Absalom and all the citizens of Israel he corrupted. Now exiled from their homeland, the sons of Korah begin to lead themselves in worship!
It is apparent from the Psalm just how much the sons of Korah truly missed leading others in worship in Jerusalem: "These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, with the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival" (cf. Psalm 42:4). Their anguish over their abrupt departure and current exile at the hands of their fellow countrymen is evident: "My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'" (cf. Psalm 42:3). In moments of fleshly weakness, they even begin to question whether God has remembered them in their affliction: "I will say to God my rock, 'Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?'" (cf. Psalm 42:9).
Yet and still, the sons of Korah inquired of their souls saying, "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?" While their despair was justified, it wasn't necessary! They didn't have to mourn as without hope because they possessed a living and confident hope in the God of their salvation! Therefore, the sons of Korah encouraged themselves in the Lord saying, "Hope in God" ! Furthermore, they made a profound declaration: "for I shall yet praise Him"! By declaring "yet", the sons of Korah declared that they would still praise the Lord, that they would nevertheless praise God, that they would praise the Lord in spite of the anguish they were experiencing! This declaration was not solely a declaration; it was a commitment! Despite their own countrymen turning against them, some of whom they possibly led in worship at one point in time, the sons of Korah nevertheless committed themselves to praise or "yadah" the Lord with extended hands as its meaning declares!
When we begin to grasp the grandeur of God and the vastness of who He is, praise will begin to erupt from our innermost being! Even in the midst of fierce opposition and tribulation, praise & worship can and should still go forth because true praise & worship is not predicated upon favorable circumstances. The Lord does not change, not even one ounce of His character! If God does not change and we truly worship Him according to His changeless nature and not our ever-changing circumstances, then praise should be continuously ascending from our mouths to His throne in glory at all times! That is why the Psalmist-King David declares that he will "bless the Lord at all times" and that"His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (cf. Psalm 34:1). At all times means at all times! As you venture into this week, hear the resounding call of the sons of Korah and repeat it until it becomes your heart's conviction: I shall yet praise Him!