• The Bald Believer

Were the Psalmists Crazy?

Devotional and Reading from the Psalms




Psalm 42:4–11

4  When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me:

For I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God,

With the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

5  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?

Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him

For the help of his countenance.

6  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.

7  Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts:

All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime,

And in the night his song shall be with me,

Andmy prayer unto the God of my life.

9  I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?

Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

10  As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me;

While they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

11  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?

Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him,

Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.


Were the Psalmists crazy? They tend to talk to themselves a lot. In our present reading, the author is going through a period of difficulty and ridicule. Many around him are mocking his beliefs (vs. 3, 10). The Psalmist feels alone, he misses the fellowship with other believers but in his present circumstance he can see no friendly, empathetic face. What do you do when you have no earthly friend close? You, of course, can always talk to your God. He does this in verses 4 and 6. There is nothing crazy about that! It is crazy when we don’t pray. This singer seems to climb on board the crazy train in verse 5 as he begins to talk to himself. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?” Someone told me once, it’s ok to talk to yourself, it’s when you start answering back that you have a problem.” The psalmist continues by encouraging himself, “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” He sounds like a ball coach exhorting his team, except this person has no circle of uniformed people around him, he is alone. Not only does he talk to himself but repeats his exhortations to himself in verse 11 and verse five of the following Psalm. Is he crazy? Perhaps, I have no authority to answer, I talk to myself often. Sometimes you just have to have an intelligent conversation, don’t you? Seriously, this divinely inspired author is doing what I believe we all need to do. He asks himself why he should be cast down with God in his corner. He reminds himself that he is a winner in the end with his Lord. He will praise God for deliverance one way or another. He is doing what David did when he was greatly distressed, persecuted and alone in 1 Samuel 30:6

1 Samuel 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Consider this example as Divine endorsement to talk to yourself. Look in your mirror and point at the person who stares back at you (don’t worry, it isn’t rude when you point at yourself), and give yourself a pep talk. Preach yourself a fiery sermon. Give yourself an altar call if you have to do it and encourage yourself in the Lord.

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