The Path to Thanksgiving Goes Through Suffering

David Mora September 4, 2022 Psalm 42-43

2 keys for drawing near to God in times of adversity

I. Address Your Struggles Honestly

A. With God (42:2b, 9, 43:2)

Psalm 42:2b - When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:9 - Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Psalm 43:2b - Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

B. With yourself (42:5, 11, 43:5)

C. With others (42:3, 10)

Psalm 42:3 - While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Psalm 42:10 - As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

II. Turn and Trust in God with All that You Have

A. Hope in God for future worship (42:5,11,43:5)

Psalm 42:5 - Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.

Psalm 42:11 - Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 43:5 - Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

B. Relying on God’s loyal covenant love (42:8)

Psalm 42:8 - The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.

Exodus 34:6-7 - Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands…”

Psalm 43:1 - Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!

C. Rehearsing truth about God

Good morning, faith church – the song we sang is comfortably fitting for the two texts we are going to be exploring today. In fact, we’re going to be navigating through psalms 42-43 and I will do my best to draw out enough water for you to drink from God’s water.

If you don’t have your own Bible, we have one for you underneath your seat on page [provide page # of pew Bible]

All followers of Christ will go through seasons of life. This is the warp and woof of the Christian life – for lack of a more fitting word, this is a normal part of your walk with Christ. I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up this sentiment from King Solomon who said that

Ecclesiastes 3:1“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—"

Now, mark those phrases in your mind, because “there is an appointed time” and “there is a time” gives reference to seasons of life – cycles of life. And the reason why we know this is because of what follows after verses 1-3 of Ecclesiastes…

“A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.3 A time to kill and a time to heal…”

…and so forth and forth until these seasons of life come to an end at verse 8 for a total of 28 statements.

But the point to the end of the spear is that there’s a way of looking at our lives that are very much like the change in the weather such that we have seasons of life that come and go.

That’s precisely what we come to in Psalms 42-43 with the sons of Korah. We don’t know which son of Korah is the author, but we know it originated from the family of Korah. Perhaps you remember that name…

Korah was from the tribe of Levi (1 Chron. 6:22-28), and it was him who led a rebellion against Moses in the wilderness and God destroyed him and those who followed in this insurrection.

His sons however survived, because they took no part in their father’s insurrection. They were followers of Yahweh, who were the temple musicians – that was their primary ministry on the temple grounds (1 Chron. 6:31-43; 2 Chron. 20:19)

So they put pen to paper and wrote Psalms 42-43, and they sang both of these psalms together in the Temple to the other believers as a part of their worship. In fact, if you have some time, read these psalms together and you’ll see the flow of thought easily transfers from one psalm to the next.

In fact, let me read the verses to you…[consider reading both together].

This man – who’s a follower of the LORD I might add – finds himself in spiritual despair. He’s longing for His Creator as a result of the bog of despair he finds himself in.

So he’s in providential waiting…reminding himself of the LORD’s promises – of his character. He’s in providential waiting in the hope that God will throw him the love line of His love for him.

Does that describe any of you here this morning? Do you find yourself in a particular season of life that has lost its breaks and seems to be careening back and forth, with no sense of slowing down?

Do you find yourself in a spiritual drought and it seems as though your prayers to the holy one hits a sky of brass and the your spiritual life and walk just feel as thought to be a thorny walk of faith under your faith. If that’s how you feel, welcome to the life of this son of Korah – welcome to your seasonal walk of faith. It’s been tailored by God Himself.

As we look to draw water from this passage, as we look at the heart of our thanksgiving series, my hope is that we would all see.

Proposition: 2 Keys for drawing near to God in times of adversity

I. Address Your Struggles Honestly

A. With God (42:2b, 9, 43:2)

Notice the cry of the psalmist in verse 2…

Verse 2 “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

In other words, the psalmist is not looking to idols – he’s looking to the living God for his spiritual sustenance. Faith, I know that whenever I feel a certain way, depending on the season of life, I have a tendency to go quiet and to turn inward, rather than to raise my praise to my King upward.

What are your propensities in those seasons of life when your spiritual sap doesn’t seem to pulsate and flow like it should – remember the psalmist felt that God was a far off and he felt stuck in a bog of despondence. He was hungry for his God, yet only received tears for food (42:2) does that describe you today?

Do you address your struggles with your God?

Psalm 42:9 “I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

Psalm 43:2 “For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

Ok, so now we know have an idea of what the psalmist is going through in this turbulent season of his life, but that might not be what you’re going through, nevertheless – seasons of spiritual drought have a tendency to make us feel as though we are spiritual deists.

What I mean by that is that in times of spiritual drought our knees tend to buckle, and what creeps in is a tendency to think that our living God is far away and far removed to care about our circumstances – that’s what deism is, my friends – and if we’re remotely honest with our Creator like the psalmist is, that’s how we feel sometimes, in the tempestuous seasons of life.

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? – Jeremiah 23:23

Do you believe that, Christian? You’re not alone…like the sons of Korah, there are many songs we sing, though no inspired like the psalms, they echo through the halls of our hearts and up to the celestial halls of grace.

… Every day this never ending pressure
Tries to take its claim over my heart
I have tried to hold it all together
But time and time again, I fall apart

… But that's where I find my life was never mine at all
You are the one inside always in control

That is a song written by Christian artist Jeremy Camp that bears the sentiments of the psalmist who’s walking through a tremendous time of testing – a tremendous time of trial.

So what about you, Faith – does any of the providential sentiment of the psalmist bear any footprints, if any?

… So when it feels like all of this pain is never gonna end
Brought to my knees by all of these things I don't understand,
I will let the weight of my fear fall like sand
Out of my hands and into Yours,

…But take careful notice of what the psalmist does to remedy his season of trial – He goes back to remind himself of the good ol day when he remembers better times.

Psalm 42:4 “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.”

He’s doing what we all should be doing – going back to remember his first love. I used to go along with the people of God and worship Him with a voice of joy and thanksgiving…yet a find in my heart an incredible lukewarmness that is difficult to shake off and I don’t want to fellowship with sons and daughters of light, I don’t want to get up in the morning to congregate with my fellow compatriots on the way to the celestial city of grace…and now I find myself in a trial that I know is orchestrated under the providential care of my King whom I know is not a far off, but is a God who is…near.

Why O My God do you feel so far away…but isn’t it the other way around? Perhaps it is you who is far away from your Redeemer and Savior.

Perhaps it is you who need to remember the character of your God…that he’s not a God who’s far off, but is near…and has orchestrated this trial for your good and his glory in order to draw you near, because we likened to sheep who tend to wander and to leave the God we love.

We need to pray, take my heart Lord – take a seal it, seal it for thy courts above…so don’t think your season of life is a peculiar thing, my friends. For in the furnace of affliction is where we find ourselves on our knees the most with the hope that

So it’s good to have nostalgia – it’s good to remind yourself of where you were before in your walk with Christ who is your first love. But on the other side of the coin, I feel the need to address your hearts that there’s also perhaps an inherent danger of thinking too much about the good ol days such that we lose touch with reality. Don’t go so overboard and think all back then was peaches and cream

Solomon seems to be addressing in Ecclesiastes 7:10 is not the feeling of nostalgia per se but the foolish attitude it can sometimes foster. Sometimes we all feel that the past was better in some way than the present. Especially during times of trial, it’s easy for us to remember ourselves as happier or more fulfilled than we are currently. But we tend to have selective memories. Every day has its trouble (Matthew 6:34). Things weren’t quite as rosy as we paint them to be in retrospect. (Got Questions)

So, I’m not talking about nostalgia along those lines, but going back to recall your relationship with your Creator, remembering his character and how changed you, and is changing you – remembering his promises when you are under a season of trial – send your heart to heaven before you get there!

“Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have passed over me.” – Psalm 42:7

I love the word pictures the psalmist employs to express how he feels in his season of turbulence. First, he acknowledges the fact that it he is under a trial, he understands that it’s God who has orchestrated it and describes it as the kind of trial that’s likened to being under a waterfall – it’s passing over him and he’s in despair.

He’s addressed his struggles with his covenant keeping God. He’s transparent about this season of life – So how’s that shaking out for you? Are you honest with yourself, Christian, and calling to mind the character of your covenant keeping God?

B. With Yourself (42:5, 11, 43:5)

Why are you in despair, my soul? And why are you restless within me?
Wait for God, for I will again praise Him For the help of His presence, my God.

3 times he addresses his own despair – 3 times he rebukes himself his hopelessness and comes to the transparent realization that his covenant keeping God is the remedy for his despondency.

Christian, how’s it going in your life when you are downcast about your life situations, when life seems out of control? What’s going on in that heart of yours that – Ahh, the Christian life surely has immeasurable joys, but it can be difficult to experience the joy of your salvation when the trial seems so overwhelming.

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to trials and tribulations. In his 2nd letter to the Corinthian church he wrote to them saying the didn’t want them to be unaware of the conflict that was happening to him

2 Corinthians 1:9 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.”

In other words, the Apostle Paul found himself in a situation that could cost him his life for the Gospel – the Lord took him to the point in which Paul could not rely on his own strength or anything else, for that matter, but in God who raises the dead. In other words, it is God who is our only hope of rescue.

Now, that goes without saying, that Paul literally had to ride on the coattails of God’s providence. The psalmist had ride the coattails of God’s providence.

How is it any different with us who are following after the Master? And lest we forget, in the words of one song writer who too is familiar with his own seasons of testing…

… Letting go of worries I can't measure
Holding onto truth that's healing me
Knowing I can trust You is a treasure

… It's here that I find my life was never mine at all
You're still the one inside always in control

With eyes wide open now I finally see

You see, you can honest with your covenant keeping God. You can be honest with yourself and to recall the character of God when you feel so despondent.

And you can be honest with others

C. With Others (42:3, 10)

Verse 3 “My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

And notice verse 10

Verse 10 “As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Recall to your mind that the psalmist is being tested by enemies, whoever they are. That’s his season of life. They were taunted him and he is calling to mind the goodness of God. But what they are saying is hard to bear.

And no wonder, because in a society where there were virtually no atheist, to be taunted by the unregenerate in such a way while God remains silent can be enough to make a person go into apoplexy.

Now, compound the kind of taunting in his day to our society which appears to have forgotten God altogether, when others treat you poorly, or when it seems like it will never stop (all day long). And an unregenerate world wants to see how you respond…

So here’s what we do…send your heart to heaven before you get there

II. Turn and Trust in God with All that you have

Hope in God for future worship (42:5,11,43:5)

3x Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.

Wait with a voice of joy

Wait with thanksgiving

Wait with “festival keeping”

Pastor Ross Reeder of Faith West “It’s not a joy to have cancer. It’s a joy in knowing what God is doing in your circumstances.”

My friends, it’s not a joy to be in a season of trial – let’s be honest – but it’s a season. And I don’t want us to put on a fake smile in the midst of a severe trial while saying, count it all joy…It’s being reminded of and…

Relying on God’s Loyal Covenant love (42:8)

Verse 8 “Wait for God, for I will again praise Him For the help of His presence, my God.”

And in God’s time, he will vindicate his people.

43:1 “Vindicate me, God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; Save me from the deceitful and unjust person!

Rehearsing Truth about God

Listen, we just went through Psalms 42 and 43 where the Psalmist had to by and large remind himself of his covenant keeping God because of the season of life he found himself in.

But I want to close by reading an excerpt of another Psalm that echoes the cry of the psalms we just read. It’s Psalm 130 – a song of ascents. And it was sang by Hebrew pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem

So then, follower of Christ, we’re on our way to the celestial city – we’re on our way and there will be many seasons we will go through such that they are designed to test our faith. So then we will need to rehearse the ancient truths of our covenant King Jesus, who has promised to give us rest for our weary souls until we reach the golden shores of eternity.

We will wait on our God and the help of his presence – and in the words of the psalmist in 130

Psalm 130:1-6“Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. 2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. 3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.5 I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord”


David Mora


Pastor of Northend Ministries - Faith Church


B. S. - Religious Education, Davis College
M. Div. - The Master's Seminary

David was raised in upstate NY and was saved in his early 20’s. Not too long after his conversion to Christ, David attended Practical Bible College (now Davis College) where he met his wife, Marleah. They were married in 2003.

In 2005, David and his wife moved to Southern California for his studies at The Master’s Seminary under the ministry of Pastor John MacArthur. After receiving his Master’s of Divinity in 2012, he came to Maryland and served at Hope Bible Church and was later ordained to Pastoral Ministry in the summer of 2017. While at Hope Bible Church, he served in a number of capacities, but his primary emphasis was teaching.

Pastor David joined the Faith Church staff in 2020 to assist in the efforts of serving the Northend Community. He and his wife have been blessed with four children, Leayla, Nalani, Jadon and Alétheia.