Cast Down

This morning, as I was thinking of and praying for a friend who’s dealing with a lot of “stuff,” I was asking God how to help.  What can I do to encourage someone who’s discouraged?  Psalm 42 popped in my head.  Specifically, verse 5.  It says, Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” (KJV). Even in today’s language, the words “cast down” speak loudly.  But, when you consider that Psalm 42 was most likely written by David, a shepherd, “cast down” begins to mean so much more.

cast sheep

“Cast” in shepherd language means a sheep has rolled over on its back.  Often, when that happens, the sheep can’t right itself…especially if its wool is thick or if it’s on flat ground.  When I googled “cast sheep,” the website came up.  This is what it had to say about the subject:

It may not be able to get up without assistance. This happens most commonly with short, stocky sheep with full fleeces on flat terrain. Heavily pregnant ewes are most prone. Cast sheep can become distressed and die within a short period of time if they are not rolled back into a normal position. When back on their feet, they may need supported for a few minutes to ensure they are steady.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that spoke volumes to me!  First, let’s talk about which sheep are more prone….ones with full fleeces and pregnant ones.  To me, full fleeces would be like a burden we are carrying – worries, troubles, problems.  We know those things can cause discouragement! Pregnant, though, takes on a whole different meaning in my mind.  I think we can be pregnant spiritually.  Maybe God has placed a dream or a vision in our hearts and it hasn’t come to fruition yet.  It’s easy to get discouraged when you feel like you’re not doing what God has placed in your heart.  What an astounding thought, that both good and bad things can cause us to get discouraged or cast down.  And, according to that paragraph, a cast sheep can actually die if left there too long.  It makes the scripture Proverbs 13:12 even more poignant….“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (NASB).

The only way for a cast sheep to get up is for someone to do it for them.  Psalm 23 (also written by David) refers to God as our Shepherd.  Verse 2 of Psalm 42 says, As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.” (NASB).  So, I think it’s obvious Who will be righting us.  Only God can truly take care of us in these times.  Yes, I believe He sends people to help us, but never doubt it was Him who did the righting!

I also thought it was curious that even after a sheep has been put back on its feet, someone may have to steady it until it can stand on its own again.  I have certainly found that to be true in my life.  When I went through my pit of depression….when I was done and out of the pit, I still wasn’t steady, wasn’t normal.  I was no longer depressed, but I needed extra love and support. Soon enough, I was better than ever, but it took time.

As a side note, during that time of depression, a very dear friend gave me a toy sheep.  Until I could honestly say I was out of the pit, that sheep lived on my dresser in a cast position.  Every time someone tried to fix it, I would put it back.  It was a reminder to me that I was where I was and only God could fix it.

So.  Am I writing to you today?  Are you discouraged?  Depressed?  Overwhelmed?  Weary?  Cast down?  Are you feeling helpless?  Then, take a second and read the entire Psalm in the NASB.  Please note that “cast down” has been translated to “in despair.”  What a perfect translation!

1As the deer pants for the water brooks,
            So my soul pants for You, O God.

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

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

      4These 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.

      5Why are you in despair, O my soul?
            And why have you become disturbed within me?
            Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
            For the help of His presence.

      6O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
            Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
            And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

      7Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
            All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

      8The 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.

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

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

      11Why are you in despair, O my soul?
            And why have you become disturbed within me?
            Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
            The help of my countenance and my God.

Do you see what David did?  He called out to God.  He told Him all that was wrong.  Then, he ended with hope.  Check out the last line in verse 11: Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.  Take heart my friend, God sees and He knows.  Reach out to Him and let Him right you and hold you steady!

If you’re reading this and it doesn’t apply to you, I would ask you to look around and see who in your flock might be cast down and ask God how you can help.  I’m certain He’ll give you just the right answer!

Be blessed and tell someone you love them.


About meanderingswithgod

I Write. It’s what I do. It’s as vital a part of me as breathing. I write when I’m happy. I write when I’m sad. I write when I don’t understand. Or when I understand a little too clearly. I write when God’s speaking to me. And when I’m speaking to Him. And, more often than not, it comes out in rhythm and rhyme. In my words, you’ll find laughter and tears, pain and triumph, confusion and clarity. In my words, if you bother to search, you’ll find me. So, it is with both excitement and trepidation that I begin. This blog. This writing that’s been so long coming. My words. God’s words. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to tell the difference. Mine are clumsy, His are eloquent. I hope, as you read my verbal meanderings, that you’ll be blessed and find yourself searching for Him.
This entry was posted in Bible, cast, David, despair, discouraged, God, help, Psalms, troubles. Bookmark the permalink.

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