Psalm 43 Commentary
Backdrop: Courtroom. Judge: the LORD God. Attorney: the LORD God. The psalmist is the defendant. He is seeking vindication before the Judge. His name must be cleared of blame. He also asks his attorney to argue the case in his favor. He needs rescue. This is verse 1.
Verse 2 gives you the picture of one already wrongly sentenced. He is suffering because of the wicked. Then he asks why the Judge has rejected him. Why hasn’t the Attorney come to his rescue?
Verse 3 brings it back home. Let the light and faithful care of the LORD bring the psalmist to a place of worship. It is a place of joy and delight. This is interesting! In the midst of oppression and mourning, the psalmist seeks God’s light or truth and God’s faithful care to bring him to God’s dwelling place. There is joy and delight at the altar.
Mourning is the absence of joy. It doesn’t exist as an object all by itself. On the other hand, joy is an object existing as a special gift from the LORD. It is the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5 verses 22 and 23. Joy, therefore, isn’t just the mere absence of mourning, but rather the presence of the special gift from the Creator God.
This psalm brings us to the foundational truth that the solution to conflicts doesn’t lie in coordinated human effort to stop conflicts. Let the Light or truth and the care or grace of the LORD lead us to the holy mountain. And at the altar, we can find peace. Conflicts are simply an absence of peace. You cannot drive darkness any other way other than introducing light. Darkness is simply the absence of light. It is only through a trip to the holy mountain and at the altar of God that humanity can find peace.
The question “why, my soul, are you downcast?” becomes a shaming statement on human effort to keep off mourning and oppression. Why are you even in this state? It doesn’t make sense at all. Look up and see where the solution is. Put your hope in God. Only he alone is the solution to oppression and mourning.
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