Psalm 42: 7-8.
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, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
When I was 10 years old, we moved from Minneapolis, where the Mississippi River held sway, to Portland, OR. For the first time, that summer, I saw an ocean. I was speechless. although I did try to write a poem to express my complete amazement. I was overwhelmed with the power of so much water! I remember, possibly on that first trip to the coast, being on my stomach on a high overlook. I watched the huge waves crashing into the rocks that were possibly as high as a 10-story building, thankful it was all happening far below me. I thought of stories I had read, like Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson. Those stories included accounts of broken ships that were picked up by mighty waves and cast like toys against the cliffs and rocks. The height of the waves and the depths of the troughs they crashed into were beyond my experience, for sure.
I’ve wondered exactly what “deep calling unto deep” actually means. I can tell you that the ocean, along the coast of Oregon, can be louder than I ever expected. When the wind is wild, so is the ocean.
I used Strong’s numbers and learned that “deep” refers to “deep (of subterranean waters)” or “the sea, abysses (of sea).” We know that there are places in the ocean that we have measured for depth only recently. The deepest place so far known is Challenger Deep and is located beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, as far as we know now, it is 35,876 feet in depth. That is equivalent to 6.794697 miles.
The actual word used in v. 7 is better translated as waterfalls rather than waterspouts. So think, now, of that incredible depth of the ocean. Think of the power of a waterfall (a strong wave, perhaps?) that is so powerful that it plunges all the way to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, carrying everything it has picked up along the way, down to the very depths of the sea.
Remember that David was a poet–an artist who used words to paint a perfect picture of the despair and helplessness he felt as he was plunged into the depths by a power too strong for him to resist.
Then, consider the next verse, in which he acknowledges that no matter the depths of his despair and trouble, His lovingkindness will preserve David in the daytime, and His song will encourage David in the dark night of his suffering. David will always remember to pray, and find comfort in knowing that God hears him. God will give him a song in the darkest night.
As usual, there is music in my head:
2 thoughts on “Deep Calleth unto Deep”
Thank you Linda. Good writing. That’s a great memory picture of young you at the high overlook, peering down on the sea. The innocence of youth and a new great wonder, taking it all in. I like how you brought David’s thoughts into the present, illustrating the timelessness of both God’s Creation and our thoughts comprehending it. The Lord is truly great…
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Thank you, RJ. After I posted this, I thought, “I should have said. . . .”–truth is, there are just no words to describe the immense, boundless power of the Creator of the mighty oceans with all their mystery!
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