Read Psalm 42
We return to the despairing Psalmist for the second question asked in Psalm 42, “Where?” Not the psalmist, but his enemies do the asking in verse 3 and 10. “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3,10).
In these two verses we are confronted with an enemy, and he is wielding a sword. So as we consider the question “Where?” see the psalmist and yourself, clad in armor, sword and shield in hand, facing an enemy likewise armed for battle.
We know who the enemy is. A triumvirate of foes face us: the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. But where they attack us can be a much harder question. Will they slash at our legs? Will they thrust for our hearts? Or will they swing down on our heads? No longer do the wicked openly set up gods of silver and gold against the one true God. At least in the western world, there is no open persecution of Christians. But is there peace?
The war rages as fiercely as ever, not “against flesh and blood,” but “against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). We must stand in the office of all believer, as prophets, priests, and kings of our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that we face false prophets, unrighteous priests, and corrupt kings.
First, as the prophets of the Great Deceiver, the world continually says, “Where is thy God?” by attacking truth. Consider evolution, or transgenderism, or the very idea of truth itself as relative to each individual’s feelings. They spare no opportunity to inject these worldviews into every area of study and in every medium. Open your ears when you turn on the television, or attend your college class, or spend a minute online. You will hear the same mocking cry the psalmist heard so many years ago. “Where is thy God?”
Second, the wicked as priests of the devil consecrate themselves to sin, daily offering up sacrifices on the altars of iniquity. They murder thousands of unborn children for their own god of selfish convenience, all the while mocking us for following a God who requires self-sacrifice. They come as Satan in the garden, offering us the pleasures of sin and saying, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). Don’t you see how this comes as a terrible blow to the struggling saint? Just listen to Psalm 73. When considering “the ungodly, who prosper in the world,” the Psalmist says, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me” (Ps. 73:12,16). From their life of pleasure and excess, our enemies call to us, “Where is thy God?”
Third, as kings under the prince of this world, they rule all of creation for the glory of man and the destruction of the church. Don’t they appear to be winning? You can take a moment to look up the Equality Act, awaiting passage in Congress. The Bible makes it clear that we will only become more familiar with this perverted office, when it is wielded by “the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God” (II Thess. 2:3,4). What shall we say in that day when they boast in their might, “Where is thy God?”
Look again at the Psalmist. He’s beaten down, bearing three grievous wounds. Though the Psalmist’s righteous anger can be bold in other psalms, not here. Though we have moments of great faith, there are times when, day and night, our meat is only tears, and there is a sword in our bones. Then the question becomes our own. “Where is my God?”
So vividly we see it. The Psalmist, nigh to death. The triumphant enemy. A sword thrust for his heart. The killing blow. But so suddenly the shield of faith is lifted up! Look through this Psalm and so many others, and you will see it, time and time again. Beautiful confessions of faith suddenly appear in the middle of the most despairing Psalms. I draw your attention to only one.
“O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.” Psalm 42:6
“Therefore will I remember thee.” No matter the place, the land of Jordan or of the Hermonites, the Psalmist looks to God in faith even in the depths of despair. It is not faith in his own strength to swing his sword. It is not even faith in his own ability to lift the shield of faith. Faith has only one object. So when they ask, “Where is thy God?” remember:
He is there. In the Bible, Jesus Christ performs the office of prophet by revealing God to us through himself. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In the Bible he comes “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isa. 61:2). If we do not know our Bible, we have no answer to give our enemies, and we will be “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Are you “ready always to give an answer” (I Pet. 3:15)? Heed the command to “lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deut. 11:18).
He is there. On the cross and as our high priest, Jesus made that once for all sacrifice by which we have eternal life. He took upon himself our flesh, being “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). All his life, he fully consecrated himself to God, being made the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Forever he will perform the work of mediation, so that for all eternity we have access to our God through him. We never have to wonder if God has abandoned us on account of our sins. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).
He is there. In heaven and at God’s right hand, our Lord Jesus Christ rules as king so that all things work together for our good. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord” (Prov. 21:1), and even elections bring about nothing but the advancement of God’s kingdom. He rules so that even a pandemic which utterly evades the control of any government is directed by his almighty hand. And one day, Christ our King shall make complete his victory. He shall return on the clouds of glory and there will be no more questioning, for “every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7). Judgement will he execute on the enemies which mock us, but our tears will he wipe away. Then, we shall not have to point to shadows or look through a dark glass. Until then we say, “Even so come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).