Sunday, September 12, 2010

Psalm 43

A plea for vindication (vs. 1-5)--As noted in the previous post, this psalm seems, in some sense, to be a continuation of the previous one. Indeed, in a number of ancient manuscripts, it is written as a part of Psalm 42. The Syriac (Syrian) version of the Old Testament says this song was composed "by David when Jonathan told him that Saul intended to slay him," but there is no historical evidence for this. The Arabic says this is a prayer for backsliding Jews. Regardless, the author is pleading for God's aid "against an ungodly nation" and "from the deceitful and unjust man" (v. 1). Verse 2 sounds much like Psalm 42 (and some earlier psalms as well)--the belief that God has "cast" the author off and is not helping him. God's light and truth can lead to His "holy hill" where is found "the altar of God," "exceeding joy," and "praise" of the Almighty (vs. 3-4). Yet, at the moment, as in Psalm 42:5 and 11, the author finds his soul "cast down" and "disquieted." He seems to be chastising himself some: "why am I so depressed? All I need to do is hope in God and He will help." There are those times in our lives when we are truly in a downcast condition and wonder why, given God's limitless blessings, we feel the way we do. Why can we not appreciate Him more? The answer to that is not easy, but again, I believe that's one of the reasons why the Lord had these psalms written--to help us understand the realistic human condition. In spite of all that God has done for us, there are times when that thought doesn't seem to help our dispirited feelings. Yet, we can continue to "hope in God" for deliverance and we can still praise Him, regardless of how we feel.