Psalm 43 is really a psalm about being in spiritual depression. The writer calls out to God for vindication. He felt unjustly accused and took his sense of injustice to the right place – to the very throne of God. He cries out to God to defend him from his ungodly enemies and to help him deal with deceitful and unjust people, because they not only do wrong but they also know how to cover it up with deceit. “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me”.
The psalmist is clear that God is his refuge and strength. “For you are the God in whom I take refuge”. When things are difficult, God is where we need to run. Even knowing that, the writer does ask that question that many of us when tested ask – ‘why’? It seems to always be the thing we seek to find an answer to. Why does God allow this to happen? Why does it happen to me? Why doesn’t God do things my way the way I expect? When we are going through trials, we need to run to God and trust. Asking why is not bad, but trusting God is how we need to live during trials.
God is the source of our direction. The psalmist is clear that we need to continue looking toward God and follow His lead. “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling”! The writer knows that light and truth is not within himself – he needs to get that from God. This is a request and prayer of submission. There is a need for direction and leadership and when we are under stress and suffering, we need to look to God for the path forward. We need to seek His light and then walk forward following Him.
But it doesn’t end there. The psalmist is clear that our response to God’s faithfulness and refuge is to praise Him. “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”. We may not feel like giving Him praise, but it is the right response to His love, even in the midst of struggle. God can be the source of joy in our life. He can provide us the motivation to praise. When we follow the light and truth of the Lord, it will lead us to His altar – the cross where Jesus was given as a sacrifice for our sins – and there we’ll offer Him praise for all that He has done!