Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.Psalm 43:5(NASB)
Within a few short verses, the psalmist passes from deep despair to joyful praise. He is distressed by of the deceitfulness of men that surround him and is in anguish of heart because of the ungodliness of the nation. It is evident that this man was being unjustly accused because he lamented his situation and calls on the Lord to absolve him: "Vindicate me, O God," he cries. "Vindicate me and plead my case against an ungodly nation. Deliver me, O Lord, from the deceitful and unjust man!"
The psalmist is not a man who blames God for the desperate situation in which he finds himself. Indeed, his words identify him as a man who knows, deep within his heart, that God is in control and that the Lord will one day rescue him from his oppressive enemies and declare him to be innocent in the midst of those that seek his destruction. While his hope was in God's redemptive power, he knew that his ultimate deliverance would have to wait for God's timing. He even wondered why God delayed acting on his behalf in his time of need. Nevertheless, his faith in God never failed, even though he had to endure such distress of soul.
Despite his anguish, he readily acknowledged that the Lord was his light and his truth. This was a man who did not rely on his own intuition, wisdom, understanding, or cleverness to instruct and save him. His hope was in the Lord. But while he waited for the Lord to help him, he trusted the God of his salvation to lead and to guide Him, for he confessed that God is his Light of lights and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
As a Jewish man who was born under the Law, this psalmist declared that God was his Deliverer, and his great desire was to meet the Lord at the tent of meetings - the tabernacle of God of Israel - the alter of the Lord of Hosts. As he waited for God to move on his behalf, he finished his psalm with words that reinforced his hope in the Lord: "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him. He is the help of my countenance and my God."
The psalmist understood that when the Lord is the God of your salvation, it is foolish to despair for He is the hope of all the ends of the earth. When faced with difficulties within and dangers without, it is pointless to become fretful and filled with fear and foreboding. The psalmist knew this and even though he was falsely accused by evildoers, he trusted God.
God's people can always find encouragement and comfort in the shadow of His wings. Those who trust in God have a great assurance that He will vindicate us in front of all who have purposed evil against us. Despite his disturbing circumstances, this man chose to offer the Lord a sacrifice of praise because He had discovered that the joy of the Lord was his strength and that a joyful heart is good medicine for the soul.
Unlike the writer of this psalm, we are not under the Law. During this Church dispensation, we do not have to go to a particular place to meet the Lord. We do not have to go to the tent of meeting or the tabernacle of the Lord to worship our God. Our access to God is not limited to a time or feast day or participation in a religious ritual. As members of Christ's Body, we have the indwelling Spirit of peace and joy and can enter boldly into the throne-room of grace, for mercy to find help in times of need.
Like the psalmist, we need to realise that the antidote to despair and distress is hope in the Lord, and we need to apply it to our life on a day-to-day basis. We need to know and appropriate all the precious promises that are ours in Christ, for when we delight ourselves in the Lord and offer Him our sacrifice of praise, we reignite our trust in Him - and as our faith increases so fear and depression will be forced to flee away.
Heavenly Father, there is much in this fallen world that can drag us into depression and distress of soul, but my hope is in You for You are the Anchor of my soul and the Rock of my salvation. When my soul is inclined towards despair or when fear begins to creep into my heart, I pray that I would hope in God, fix my mind on Jesus, trust You with all my heart, and present my life to you as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Thank You that You are my God, the Lover of my soul, the Light of the world, and the joy of all the ends of the earth. My hope is in You and I praise Your name forever and ever, AMEN.