This psalm is similar to the last Psalm as David returns to his present malady using the same words. Christ Himself, who had the Spirit without measure, prayed a second and third time “saying the same words,” Matt. 26:44. In this psalm, David appeals to God concerning the injuries that were done to him and endeavours to still the tumult of his own spirit with confidence in God. Send Out Your Light and Your Truth!
Psalm 43 – A Psalm of David
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For You are the God in whom I take refuge; why have You rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.
Henry says – David applies to God, by faith and prayer, as his judge, his strength, his guide, his joy and his hope. (Ps. 43:1): Judge me, O God! and plead my cause. There were those who impeached him. He was unjustly convicted and condemned but appeals to the court of heaven, the supreme Judge. He prayed to have their judgment reversed against him and his innocence cleared. There were those who had injured him and he complained to Him who is the avenger of all wrong.
Here was a sinful body of men, whom he calls an ungodly or unmerciful nation. Those who are unmerciful demonstrate that they are ungodly. For those who have any fear or love of their master will have compassion on their fellow-servants. And here was one bad man the head of them, a deceitful and unjust man, most probably Saul. He not only showed no kindness to David, but dealt most dishonestly with him.
If Absalom was the man he meant, his character was no better. As long as there are such bad men out of hell, it is not strange that good men, who are from out of heaven, meet with hard and despicable treatment. David prays that God: Judge me. As to the discord God had with him for sin, he prays, “Do not enter into judgment with me, for then I shall be condemned.” But, as to the quarrel his enemies had with him he prays, “Lord, judge me, for I know that I shall be justified. Plead my cause against them, take my side, and in Your providence appear on my behalf.”
He who has an honest cause may expect that God will plead it. “Plead my cause so as to deliver me from them, that they may not have their will against me.” If we are delivered, we can reckon that our cause was sufficiently pleaded even if our enemies are not destroyed. He sees God as his all-sufficient strength (Ps. 43:2): “You are the God of my strength, my God, my strength, from whom all my strength is derived. In You I strengthen myself, who has often strengthened me. Without whom I am as weak as water and utterly unable to do or suffer anything for You.”
Fix ourselves on Him
David now went about mourning, destitute of spiritual joys, yet he found God to be the God of his strength. If we cannot comfort ourselves in God, we may fix ourselves upon Him, and may have spiritual supports when we want spiritual delights. David pleads this with God: “You are the God on whom I depend as my strength, why then do You cast me off?” This was a mistake, for God never cast off any who trust in Him, whatever melancholy apprehensions they may have had of their own state.
“You are the God of my strength. Why then is my enemy too strong for me, and why do I go about mourning because of his oppressive power?” It is hard to reconcile the mighty force of the enemies of God’s people with the Almighty power of God. But the day will come when all His enemies shall become His footstool.
He prays that God as his faithful guide would bring him back from his banishment, and open a way for him again to the free enjoyment of the privileges of God’s house. (Ps. 43:3): Lead me, bring me to Your holy hill. His heart is upon the holy hill and the tabernacles, not upon his family-comforts or his court-preferments. He could bear the want of these, but he is impatient to see God’s tabernacle again. Nothing is so amiable in his eyes as this and to this he would gladly be brought back.
He is the Spirit of light and truth
He prays, “Send out Your light and Your truth. Let me have this as a fruit of Your favour, which is light, and the performance of Your promise, which is truth.” We need nothing else to make us happy than the good that flows from God’s favour. That mercy, that truth, is enough, it is all. When we experience these, we can comfort ourselves and feel safe.
He desires that God by His grace would bring him into communion with Himself, and prepare him for the other world. For He is the Spirit of light and truth, who supplies our desire for Christ’s bodily presence. He leads us into the mystery of godliness and guides us in the way to heaven. When God sends his light and truth into our hearts, these will guide us to the upper world in all our devotions as well as in all our aims and expectations. If we conscientiously follow that light and that truth, they will certainly bring us to the holy hill above.
If God restore him to his former liberties, he knows very well what he has to do: Then will I go unto the altar of God, Ps. 43:4. He will get as near as he can to God, his exceeding joy. Those who come to the tabernacle should come to the altar. The nearer we come, the closer we cleave to God, the better it is. Those who come to the altar of God must see to it that they draw near to Him with a true heart. We come in vain to holy ordinances if we do not come to the holy God.
Our comforts are in Him
Those who come unto God must come to Him as their exceeding joy, not only as their future bliss, but as their present joy. He is our exceeding joy, far exceeding all the joys of sense and time-unto God the gladness of my joy. Whatever we rejoice or triumph in, God must be the joy of it. All our joy must terminate in Him, and must pass through the gift to the Giver. When we come to God as our exceeding joy, our comforts in Him must be the matter of our praises to Him as God: Upon the harp will I praise You, O God! my God.
David excelled at the harp (1 Sam. 16:16, 18), and with that would praise God. For God is to be praised with the best we have. It is fitting that he should be, for He is the best. God is his hope, his never-failing hope, Ps. 43:5. David argues with himself for his despondencies. Declaring that he did nothing to deserve them, he cries: Why are you cast down, O my soul?
He then calms himself in the believing expectation he had of giving glory to God (Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him). You are the health of my countenance and my God. We cannot insist upon this too much, for it is what we must live and die by.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
[Slide right to left] Perfect Transmission Shed a little sunshine, in the heart of one That person is cheered, he smiles, then passes it on. Let My message be lived, among the living. Pass every blessing on, in joyous giving. Stores of blessing lie ahead, take My joy wherever you go. You are being truly revitalised, as more of Me you come to know. If you really seek to understand others, My love will never pale Love each other as I love you, then you will never fail. More of My joy is being revealed, to you My sister and brother. Let My love surround the world, passed on from one to another. See Me in the pain and resentment, of the world’s own destructive cage. See Me in the laughter of children, in the sweetness of old age. See Me in the sinful and critical In the full and uninteresting See others as I see you See Me in everything. So love and laugh and cheer all. Be an instrument of My praise. Be the most perfect transmitter Of My Word in these latter days. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer for the Day
Father, I come to You. May I always have a reverential fear of You and absolute love for You and my fellow-man. You are my all-sufficient strength. You are the God of my strength, my God and my strength, from Whom all my strength is derived. In You I strengthen myself. Without You I am as weak as water and utterly unable to do or suffer anything for You.
When I cannot comfort myself in You may I fix myself upon You, and have spiritual support and so have spiritual delights. You are the God on whom I depend. You are the God of my strength. May I never go about mourning for the oppressive power of the enemy. I declare that I need nothing else to make me happy than the good that flows from Your favour. I desire that You, by Your grace, would bring me into communion with You and prepare me for the other world.
Send Your light
You are the Spirit of light and truth, who supplies my desire for Christ’s bodily presence. You lead me into the mystery of godliness and guide me in the way to heaven. Send Your light and truth into my heart that they guide me to the upper world in all my devotions as well as in all my expectations. Cause me to conscientiously follow that light and that truth, that I be brought to the holy hill above.
May I cleave ever closer to You and draw near with a true heart. Cause me to come unto You as my exceeding joy, not only as my future bliss, but as my present joy. You are my exceedingly great joy, far above all the joys of sense and time. Whatever I rejoice or triumph in, may You be the joy of it all. May all my joy terminate in You, and may I pass through all gifts to the Giver. For You are to be praised with the best I have. You are the best. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.