Scripture reading – Psalm 43

No title is given for Psalm 43, nor is the author identified. Nevertheless, I find solace when I read Psalm 43. I am encouraged to understand that I am in good company when I face seasons of discouragement and loneliness.

An Entreaty for Help (Psalm 43:1-2)

The psalmist wrote, Judge [vindicate] me, O God [Elohim; the Godhead], and plead [defend; contend; argue]my cause against an ungodly nation [heathen; idolatrous]: O deliver me from the deceitful [dishonest] and unjust [wicked; lawless] man” (Psalm 43:1).

The author appealed to God to hear his prayer and deliver him from a wicked, “unjust” enemy. Though the enemy was not named, his tactics are similar to those you and I might face. The enemies of God attack His people with lies, libel, slander, threats, and insults.

Confessing his despair, the psalmist pleaded, For thou art the God of my strength [my fortress; stronghold]: why dost thou cast me off [forsake; reject]? why go [behave] I mourning because of the oppression [distress; affliction] of the enemy?” (Psalm 43:2)

A Prayer for Restoration (Psalm 43:3-4)

Acknowledging the LORD as his Judge (Psalm 43:1), Strength (Psalm 43:2), Guide (Psalm 43:3), Joy (Psalm 43:4), Hope (Psalm 43:5a), and Salvation (Psalm 43:5b), the psalmist prayed, “send out [spread] thy light and thy truth: let them [God’s light and truth] lead me; let them [light and truth] bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles [the earthly place representing the presence of God in Israel]” (Psalm 43:3).

The psalmist appealed to God to illuminate his way and guide him with His Truth to the haven of God’s “holy hill” and the “tabernacles” where God’s people gathered to worship Him (Psalm 43:3). Though despairing, the writer rallied his heart, and looked past his sorrows. He set his heart upon the joy of worshipping, offering sacrifices, and singing praises to God (Psalm 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.”

Hope in the LORD (Psalm 43:5)

Having turned his focus from his enemy and his troubles, the psalmist counseled his soul with two questions:

Why art thou cast down [depressed], O my soul? and why art thou disquieted [troubled] within me? hope [wait; 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” (Psalm 43:5).

Closing thoughts:

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.”

I do not know your fears or what troubles your soul, but I encourage you not to stay there. Turn your thoughts from self-pity, give yourself a “good talking to,” and trust the LORD! Be encouraged, for troubles and trials are a universal dilemma, and none are exempt from them.

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 [true and trustworthy], 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 © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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