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‘Judge me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation,
Oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
For you are the God of my strength,
Why have you cast me off?
Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’
He calls on God to judge him, with a view to vindicating him because of his love for Him, and to plead his cause before the godless nation which holds him. He seeks to be delivered from the hand of the deceitful and unjust men who represent that nation. The singular is signifying unjust man in general. They do not walk in God’s ways and therefore God must surely finally deliver him (who does walk in God’s ways) from their hands. For He is the God of his strength (and thus his rocky fortress).
So he again asks (compare Psalms 42:9) why God has seemingly cast him off, and allowed him to go in mourning because of the oppression of his enemies. He echoes the words of all those who have found themselves in difficult situations which do not seem to tie in with God’s love. And it gives assurance that God does know of our situation. The fact that we have this psalm available demonstrates that eventually he was released or ransomed.
‘Oh send out your light and your truth,
Let them lead me,
Let them bring me to your holy hill,
And to your tabernacles.
Then will I go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy,
And on the harp will I praise you,
O God, my God.’
‘Send out Your light and Your truth.’ Perhaps he has in mind here the pillar of light that had led God’s people from Egypt, and the light and truth revealed at Sinai. It was by these manifestations of God that Israel had been delivered. So now he wants God to act in the same way on his behalf, delivering him and leading him back to God’s holy hill and to His tabernacles. (The plural for tabernacles may suggest the time of David when there were two tabernacles, one in Hebron which was the main centre of worship, and one in Jerusalem that held the Ark of the Covenant of YHWH. Or it may simply have in mind the Temple as the dwelling place of God seen in plural majesty). Then he will again be able to go to the altar of God, to God Who is his great joy, and will be able to praise him on the harp because He is God his God.
Alternately the thought is that in the end God’s light and truth will always prevail, so that it must result in the deliverance of His people. (Possibly also he sees the armies of Israel as representing God’s light and truth). But the point is that once the God of light and truth comes to deliver him nothing will be able to prevent his release, for light and truth must always prevail. It is a salutary reminder that our salvation also is totally due to the coming of One Who was the Light and the Truth (John 8:12; John 14:6).
‘These things I remember,
And pour out my soul upon me,
How I was wont to go regularly with the throng,
And walked in procession with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
A festive crowd keeping holyday.’
The idea here is not that he just remembers the joys of the past, but that he speaks to himself and makes it quite clear to himself. His soul, as it were, speaks to his inner heart. And he brings home to himself the joy of his regular experiences at the three great feasts of Israel, when he had regularly gone with the crowd of worshippers and had walked in procession with them to the House of God, crying out with joy and praise. It was a festive crowd keeping holyday. It is this very thought, with its confidence and certainty in the power and goodness of God, which now causes him to lift himself up. Should a man who has a God like he has mope? With a God like Israel’s, past blessings are a guarantee of future glory.
‘Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope you in God,
For I will yet praise him,
Who is the help of my countenance,
And my God.’
This final truth has confirmed his faith and made him sure of his deliverance. Thus he can with even more confidence call on his soul and ask it why is it so disquieted simply because of these troubles that have beset him. Let it hope in God. For he knows that God must eventually release him so that he may yet go to the House of God to praise Him, for God is the one who is his constant aid and sustainer, and is his God.
As mentioned above, the fact that we have this psalm is an indication that God did eventually deliver him.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 43". "Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13