Why so heavy O’ my soul?

At the Gathering today, a dear brother (in Christ) of mine spoke. What he spoke about wasn’t anything new, as if he found the secret of the Bible. He didn’t speak as if he had a new interpretation. In fact what he spoke about wasn’t definitely new news, in fact it’s old news. And yet, this old news is good news. It is news that when heard the first time, it’s like music to the ears and life to the heart. It is news that when heard again and again, it is as if there, at some level, are floodgates reopening for the first time in a long time.

I am speaking of course about the Gospel. The good news that is both old and new, and forever beautiful. The fact that the Gospel is central, the fact that Jesus’ death and resurrection is necessary, still amazes, convicts and brings me deep joy.

I have been dwelling upon Psalm 42:5,6 recently. In these particular verses of this particular Psalm, the author writes

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within
Hope in God; for I shall again praise
my salvation and my God.”

As I was dwelling on this it suddenly clicked (after the message today) that the reason why it resonated with me so much, especially recently, and the reason why I have been thinking about so much is because the author of this Psalm is preaching the Gospel to himself. He is reminding his soul to hope. Hope in what? Actually, better question is hope in who? The psalmist answers hope in God, because He is our salvation. He is our God. We get God, and that is amazing. We get a God who loves us enough to pursue us, to rescue us.

The Psalmist is reminding his very soul that he should not be in turmoil because he gets God. Not in a fully understanding kind of way. But he gets God. He gets to walk with Him, talk with Him, spend time with Him. He gets God. In those 6 lines, the author preaches to himself the Gospel. God is OUR Hope and OUR Salvation. Our soul has no reason to be in turmoil.

And yet, it is. I know often times mine is. There are times where the dwelling upon my sin overtakes it. There are times when I don’t even know the cause of why I feel the way I feel. I just do. I forget that my sin is no longer where my identity lies. And still, even though my heart is a fickle beast, forgetting about a Shepherd Warrior King, Jesus loves me still. And is continually, albeit slowly changing me. And so like the Psalmist, like my dear brother, it is an absolute necessity to preach the Gospel to myself. In times of turmoil, and even, no especially in times when everything seems alright.

It is interesting to note that the author writes the exact same phrase two other times. He writes it once more in verse 11 of ch.42 and then once again in ch.43 in verse 5. The psalmist understood it, we must preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday. When everything seems to be going wrong and when everything seems to be going right. We MUST preach the Gospel to ourselves as a reminder that it is not because of us that we are good and righteous. But it is because of Jesus, and only Him that we can, and are, good and righteous.


One thought on “Why so heavy O’ my soul?

  1. nebcanuck

    Good post, Hansen! The need to preach the gospel at ourselves is big, for overcoming despair and for overcoming sin.

    Don’t know if you caught it or not, but Chandler spoke on this at the Gospel Coalition National Conference. It’s good!


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