Daily reading assignment: Psalms 43-45, 49, 84-85, 87
Today’s scripture reading is lengthy, and for that reason our devotional commentary will focus only on Psalm 43.
Spiritually mature believers are well aware of the conflict that assaults the soul when our knowledge and understanding of God’s truth and His promises seems to be contradicted by our thoughts, circumstances, heart and emotions.
Heavy heart, downcast, melancholy and depression are just a few of the terms that define someone who is “weary” of life (Job 10:1) and broken in spirit (Proverbs 17:22).
Descriptions of this condition have evolved through the centuries; however, the reality that depression is the plague of man’s soul is undeniable. Robert Burton, the 17th century Oxford scholar and author of The Anatomy of Melancholy, wrote: “If there be a hell upon earth, it is to be found in the melancholy man’s heart.”
Psalm 43 offers an opportunity to peer into the depressed soul of a great king pleading to the LORD to rescue his heart from loneliness and his soul from the pit of despair.
David appealed to the LORD to hear his prayer and deliver him from a wicked, “unjust” enemy (Psalm 43:1). Though he did not name his enemy, the tactics of his enemy are the same as those you and I face in our day. Lies, libel, slander and threats are the modus operandi of the enemies of God and His people.
Rallying his heart, David stated what he knew, “God is my strength” (43:2), literally, my fortress, stronghold and refuge. However, what David believed concerning the character of the LORD was at odds with his feelings and state of mind. The king knew God was faithful; however, he confessed he felt forsaken, alone and overcome by his adversaries (43:2).
Turning his thoughts from despair, David looked to the LORD, like the captain of a ship peers through the fog and darkness for the piercing beam of a lighthouse (43:3-4). David appealed to God to “send out thy light” and illuminate his way (43:3). His longing was for the LORD to guide him with His truth to the safe haven of God’s “holy hill” and the “tabernacles” where the saints of God gather to worship (43:3).
Though despairing, the king rallied his heart to look past his sorrows and set his heart upon the joy of once again offering sacrifices to God and singing His praises (43:4).
Turning his focus from his enemy and troubles, David counseled his soul with two questions: Why are you depressed? Why are you so troubled? (43:5)
Psalm 43:5 – “Why art thou cast down [depressed; sink; brought low], O my soul [life; person; heart]? and why art thou disquieted [troubled; roar; in tumult; roar] within me? hope [wait; patient; tarry; trust] in God: for I shall yet praise [give thanks; confess; revere; worship] him, who is the health [deliverer; salvation; welfare] of my countenance [face], and my God.”
David comprehended the error of his fears and doubts, and counseled his heart, “hope in God” (43:5b)! Resetting his spiritual compass from the delusion that is self-pity to one of trust and faith in the LORD, David took courage and declared, “I shall yet praise [give thanks; worship] Him [the LORD], who is the health [deliverer; salvation; welfare] of my countenance [face], and my God” (43:5c).
I do not know what fears haunt your soul; however, I know the way to pass through trials is to turn your thoughts from your doubts and trust the LORD!
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation [test or trial] taken you but such as is common to man [i.e. your trouble is not unique]: but God is faithful [trustworthy; true], who will not suffer [allow] you to be tempted [tried or tested] above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape [lit. to pass through the trial], that ye may be able to bear it [endure].”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith