Sometimes when we walk with G-d, we are going to experience difficulty in our lives. The enemy will come against us as he doesn’t like obedience, and nor does he like faithfulness. The author of this Psalm knows, however, that G-d is the One who can ultimately change our circumstances and bring us relief. In many of the previous Psalms David had been in a difficult place because of sin that he had committed. This does not appear to be the case in this Psalm. In this Psalm the author is where G-d wants him to be, but nevertheless the enemy is waging war against him and causing him to feel stressed and in need of help. He is wise enough to turn to G-d in prayer, believing that G-d is going to move in his life.
We are not told who wrote this Psalm, but it is set amongst the psalms that are written by the sons of Korah.
v1: Vindicate me – The author is asking G-d to get involved in his circumstances – to bring about justice for him.
- G-d – Elohim: this name for G-d relates to G-d who is indeed a righteous judge (He sets things in order).
- Plead – to contend for. A contender can be thought of as an opponent. He is asking G-d to be in opposition to those who oppose him.
- Nation – This word translated ‘nation’ can also be translated a ‘gentile’. Based upon the laws of Hebrew parallelism (Hebrew poetry) we can be assured that the author is talking about one individual – someone who is not in a covenantal relationship with G-d.
- This person is deceitful (does not live according to truth) and unjust (unrighteous). The author wants G-d to save/rescue him from this man.
v2: He shows us something so wise and simple – in times of trouble turn to G-d, not as a last resort but at the beginning of the trouble.
- MY Strength – speaks of power. The author is not asking G-d to move in such a way that he can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride (ie be uninvolved). He realizes that he needs to be empowered by G-d in order to overcome. He is asking for strength, and he recognises that G-d is the source of his strength. We are called to be overcomers (Rev 2 and 3) and we can only overcome if we are empowered by G-d.
- Cast me off….mourning (gloom): The author is being transparent and sincere in telling G-d that he feels abandoned. We must NEVER base our actions on how we feel. Emotions are fickle and easily exploited by the enemy. We need to base our actions/words etc on the truth of G-d’s Word.
- Oppression – hemmed in from all sides, feeling pressed together.
v3: Send: send forth, ie make visible
- Light: some of the rabbinical commentators interpret this as the author’s plea for Messianic assistance (Isaiah 60:1-3). In the New covenant we know that Yeshua is likened to the light of the world (John 8:12). We can also see it as the author praying for illumination or revelation. He wants to see things from G-d’s point of view.
- If we want to live lives that are pleasing to G-d we need to live by His truth. The author of this Psalm wants G-d’s view (His light) so that he can understand G-d’s truth in order to implement it correctly in his life.
- Lead me – Are we making decisions based upon G-d’s illumination of His truth (we find truth in Scripture) so that we are able to be led by it and therefore able to make right and righteous decisions?
- When we worship G-d consistently (1 Thess 5:16-18) we are led into victory (mountain = righteous government, tabernacle = place of worship, place to meet with G-d)
v4: The altar of G-d – a place of sacrifice and offering, acknowledgement of G-d. This is not a sacrifice for salvation (Yeshua was our sacrifice for salvation), but it is a sacrifice for thanksgiving.
- Sacrifice leads to gladness and rejoicing (Notice the progression in the psalm… light – truth- into G-ds Presence – sacrifice – joy…)
- Harp – can also be translated violin.
- My G-d: For the author, G-d is not some distant entity. G-d is personal to him. They have a personal relationship.
v5: This verse is exactly the same as Psalm 42:11.
- Cast down – he’s acknowledging that he is being beaten up in this world, that G-d has allowed his countenance (his soul, his emotion) to be brought down. He wants to know the purpose of why he is at this low point spiritually.
- Disquieted – noise or disturbance. Inwardly his soul is in turmoil and he is unable to find stillness. He is being constantly disrupted.
- Despite how he feels he responds with hope and with praise – confident expectation.
- Hope (like faith) means that we rest, believe and know that G-d’s promises are coming.
- My countenance …my G-d: The two have become one. These difficulties have brought us into a oneness with G-d. G-d brings us close to Himself through difficult times. He wanted our presence to be with Him. This is the benefit about going through these times. In difficult times we must not believe our emotions or feelings and act on those, but we must base our lives on theological truth – standing on the promises of G-d.