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Psalm 42:1-2 (ESV):

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 51:11-12 (ESV):

11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Does Psalm 51:11-12 shed light on Psalm 42:1-2? Was David yearning for the presence of the Holy Spirit in Psalm 42:1-2?

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In many ways, Ps 42 and 51 are discussing the opposite spiritual experience.

  • Ps 42 anticipates what Jesus says in Matt 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." The sons of Korah in Ps 42 "thirst for God"
  • By contrast, Ps 51 is a penitential psalm - David is confessing his great guilt and sin and is in a condition where, because of his sinfulness, he does not want God; at the same times, he recognizes his own great sin and asks that the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit not be withdrawn, lest he be cast away forever. That is, David wants the joy of salvation in which he might again thirst for God.

That is, in Ps 51, David has fallen and seeks forgiveness; in Ps 42 we find a person who is enjoying the presence of God and is thirsting for more.

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