Psalm 43:1-5 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men. (2) You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? (3) Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. (4) Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. (5) Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
When I feel discouraged or down, many times I open up the Psalms and read the words of King David. His thoughts and expressions are so real, so honest. It's as if he tape-recorded his deepest thoughts, concerns, and feelings. When life gets heavy, go to Psalm 43. Here you see a man, hurting, somewhat afraid and aloof to the presence of God. Feeling alone, tied-up with emotions and troubling circumstances, David seems to burst from the inside out. His heart is heavy. His life feels uncertain.
David, who is running for his life, determines to trust God. He pleads. He prays. He petitions. Everything in his soul pours out, better yet, spills out. Ever felt that way? Ever felt like you were running from something frightening or painful? I think we all do. We all face situations that blanket our hearts with fear and uncertainty. Sometimes we feel it's the enemy attacking us. Other times, its just life.
Are you feeling like you need God to sustain you? Do you feel you need a warm cup of comfort? I was reading some articles on discouragement some time back and ran across an article by Jacob Rodriquez. It was a rhema Word from God for me. I want to share some of it with you. There are four things that David did, and that you and I can do, to make it through a season of discouragement (Psalm 43):
1. Position yourself in His Strength - Firstly, David said, "For You are the God of my strength." Sure, he followed that very statement with worries and doubts. However, before merely complaining or whining to God, he recognized that he needed His divine strength. Often times we grumble without seeing the power God has already given us. To David, he could have already been dead and gone. He could have already been killed. But God's strength had preserved him.
Sometimes we need do to what 2 Chronicles 20:17 says, "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you." What a life-changing scripture! It's all about how you position yourself in God's hand. Position yourself; be patient and watchful of the Holy Spirit's influence. Cast all your cares upon Christ!
2. Pursue His Word - David went on to say, "Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!"
David yearned for God's word. I have found, that when you're in a desperate place, you get hungrier for God's word. It almost seems like no matter what the preacher is saying, your heart melts in your chest and you feel encouraged. When we're in trouble, we tend to be less analytical of the preacher's delivery, the choir's tune, and all the other details that can easily distract us.
Being in a place of brokenness unties the often-petty issues around your heart, and allows you to receive God's word openly.
Turning to the Word of God is the most powerful thing you can do when in a tough situation. Simply reading or hearing the word empowers and enlightens us.
David also said, "send out your light", which harmonizes with Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path." Like a lighthouse's beam cuts through the fog and guides vessels towards the shore, so God's word sheds light in dark places-guiding us through the dense fog of discouragement.
3. Persist in Worship - As synonymous with David's entire life, he can't help but worship God in his time of need. He said, "I will go to the altar of God And on the harp I will praise You". This part is so powerful. In the midst of calamity and despair, with nowhere to turn, no one to talk to, David musters up a heart of worship. When it appeared that all hades was breaking loose, and the end was near, all he could do was worship and praise God. He craved the altar. He hungered for the presence of God.
I believe this was a defining moment in David's life. And the same can be true for you. Worship changes you; especially when it seems inappropriate, based on your current circumstances. The best worship is not what you offer when standing on the mountaintop, above all your obstacles, but the heartfelt worship that echoes in a lonely cave, where problems seem to be mounting. There is where God gets the most glory. This is where you can exchange your spirit of heaviness for a garment of praise.
4. Possess your Hope - Finally, David hopes again. He said, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? Hope in God." Pay special attention to this progression: after that David was positioned in God's strength, pursued God's word, and persisted in worship...he possesses his hope. Plus, he is able to praise God even more. David got his hope back, because he got his faith back. As Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
So how do we get faith? Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." God's word was in David, and that produced his faith.
Maybe you're wondering, "What does all this mean?" It's actually pretty simple. Life takes us all to caves of pain and distress. Life gets heavy at times. But if you can cry out to God, like David did, God is able to come to your rescue. Does it mean your situation won't hurt anymore? Does it mean that all your problems will be wiped away? Possibly not. But what will be evident is the hand of God, pulling you through each step and changing the lenses on your life-so that you can see him more clearly.
"Lord, I am so thankful for the example of David that we can read about. He was a man after your own heart. He battled discouragement, and he left us a tangible path to follow. I choose to do just that today. In Jesus' name, amen!"