Scripture reading – Psalm 43
There is no title given for Psalm 43, nor is the author identified. For me, I am content to read this brief psalm, and find encouragement when I realize I am in good company when it comes to facing discouragement and loneliness.
The psalmist writes, “Judge [litigate; vindicate; deliver] me, O God [Elohim; the Godhead], and plead [defend; contend; argue] my cause [contest; controversy; dispute] against an ungodly nation [heathen; Gentile]: O deliver me from the deceitful [dishonest] and unjust [wicked; perverse; unrighteous] man” (43:1).
The author appealed to God to hear his prayer, and deliver him from a wicked, “unjust” enemy. The enemy was not named; however, the tactics of the enemy are the same as those you and I might face. Lies, libel, slander, threats, and attacks on one’s integrity are the modus operandi of the enemies of God, and His people.
Rallying his heart, the psalmist continued his prayer, “For thou art the God of my strength [fortress; stronghold; safety]: why dost thou cast me off [forsake; turn away; reject]? why go [behave] I mourning because of the oppression [distress; affliction] of the enemy [adversary]?” (43:2)
The writer felt forsaken, and alone (43:2). What he believed regarding God’s character, he found to be at odds with what he was feeling. He acknowledged the LORD was his Judge (43:1), Strength (43:2), Guide (43:3), Joy (43:4), Hope (43:5a), and Salvation (43:5b). He prayed for the LORD to restore him, and to “send out [spread] thy light and thy truth: let them [light and truth] lead [guide; bring]me; let them [light and truth] bring me unto thy holy [sacred; consecrated] hill [mount], and to thy tabernacles [residence; earthly place representing the presence of God]” (43:3).
The psalmist appealed to God to illuminate his way, and guide him with His Truth to the safe haven of God’s “holy hill” and the “tabernacles” where the saints of God gathered to worship (43:3). Though despairing, the psalmist rallied his heart, and looked past his sorrows. He set his heart upon the joy of worshipping, offering sacrifices, and singing His praises to God (43:4).
Psalm 43:4 – “4 Then will I go unto the altar [place of slaughter or sacrifice] of God, unto God my exceeding [blithesome] joy [gladness]: yea, upon the harp [string instrument] will I praise [give thanks; confess; revere; worship] thee, O God my God.”
Having turned his focus from his enemy and his troubles, the psalmist counseled his soul with two questions: “Why art thou cast down [depressed; brought low], O my soul [life; person; heart]? and why art thou disquieted [troubled] within me? hope [wait; patient; tarry; trust] in God: for I shall yet praise [give thanks; worship] him, who is the health [deliverer; salvation] of my countenance [face], and my God” (43:5).
Robert Burton, an Oxford scholar of the 17th century, 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.”
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 2021 – Travis D. Smith