David's Expostulation with God
Psalm 42:9
I will say to God my rock, Why have you forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

I. THE PREFACE OR INTRODUCTION. "I will say unto God," etc.

1. The terms upon which David addresses himself to God. "My Rock." This was an expression suitable to the condition which David was now in, and the metaphor which he had it set forth by, to wit, of being in the "deep"; he had said, the waves and billows went over him, and now, therefore, does he repair to the Rock. The Lord is pleased still in Scripture to represent Himself to us as most agreeable to our present necessities. If we be sick, He is our health; if we be dead, He is our life; if we be pursued, He is our castle; if we be assaulted, He is our shield; if we be ready to sink under dangers and calamities, He is then our Rock (Psalm 18:2; Psalm 89:26; Psalm 94:22). It is a small booty to us, for God to be a rock, except He be ours, and therefore David adds this to the other. Not only the rock which I have right to, but also the rock which I have proof and trial of in former proceedings. I have made Him my rock by faith, He has made Himself my rock by love. Thus the servants of God, as they go confidently where they have interest, so they go more confidently still there where they have experience (Psalm 57:2).

2. His preparation of himself to this address. "I will say."(1) A word of premeditation and advice. David being now to come before God, and to address himself unto Him, does not come to Him hand over head, he cares not how; but he thinks first with himself what he will utter and speak before Him when he shall come into His presence.

(2) A word of resolution. David had tried other ways, he had spoken to his own soul already, and that would not do the deed; and now he resolves to go to God Himself, and to fasten his complaints upon Him, or at least to spread them before Him, and to desire His relief of Him in them. And this is what all Christians should resolve on; it is the best course which can be taken.


1. Look upon this complaint as it refers to God. "Why hast Thou forgotten me?" This may be understood either as such which there was causes and ground for indeed, or else as such which was so only according to David's apprehension.

(1) God does sometimes so carry Himself towards His servants as if He had forgotten them, while He suffers them to continue and abide under sundry evils which they fall into. God forgets them that so they may remember themselves. The servants of God in prosperity, and in the enjoyment of all things to their minds, are apt very often to wander and go astray, and to go out of the way; now desertion it brings them in again and reduces them, and recovers them to themselves (Luke 15:17; 1 Kings 8:47; Psalm 119:67). As God forgets His people that so they may remember themselves, so also sometimes that they may remember Him (Isaiah 17:10). That they may remember others (Amos 6:6).

(2) As we may look upon this forgetting as so indeed, so we may look upon it as being so only in David's apprehension, and so signifying thus much unto us, that God's servants are apt to think God forgets them, even then when He is yet mindful of them. From want of due understanding and consideration of the manner of God's dealings. From impatience and too much haste.

2. As it refers to himself.

(1) He expostulates about the occasion. "Why go I mourning?" The occasions hereof to God's people are sundry and various: as

(a)  their own sins, and the corruptions which do cleave unto them.

(b)  The sins of others. God's children go mourning for these also.

(c)  For their own and others' afflictions.

(2) He expostulates as to the affection. Why go I mourning?" that is, Why do I mourn in this excess, as I now perceive myself to do? This is that which the servants of God are oftentimes troubled withal, even the inordinacy and distemper of their affections, when they go beyond their due measure and bounds; not only as it is painful, but as it is sinful.

(3) This expostulation hath reference to the adversaries and opposites of David, "Because of the oppression of the enemy."

(Thomas Herren, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

WEB: I will ask God, my rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?"

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