Learning To Let God Determine What Rescue Means- Psalm 43

As we conclude our examination of the prayer found in Psalm 42-43, we still find the Psalmist exiled in a foreign land, being held captive against his will. He has just learned that he can meet with God right where he is, and God has come to meet with him. The Psalmist has asked to be rescued and delivered from his captivity and currently finds himself still being held captive. As we begin Psalm 43, we find that the Psalmist asks the Lord next to “vindicate me, O God”. The Psalmist has met with God and has concluded that he has done nothing wrong, that he is being held unjustly , so he asks for vinidctaion, he asks for God to intervene to set free the one who is innocent (him) and to punish the ones who have him unjustly imprisoned (his foreign captors). He is still searching for some kind of logical reason as to why he is being treated like this. He has basically concluded that he has done nothing wrong, nothing which would make his situation somehow “just”, and so he concludes next that he must be in this situation because those who have captured and detained him must be vile, wicked people who are actively opposing God and His will, who are working as God’s enemies. We see here, in his reaction to the situation (even after he has met with God), a response common to all human beings. This response is that we seem to have a much easier time dealing with difficult or unpleasant circumstances if we can somehow make “sense” of them, if we can see some kind of redemptive or beneficial purpose to them. This is what the Psalmist seeks here, and his search continues in verse 2. There He acknowledges God as his “stronghold”, God is still sovereign, still loves him, and he still trusts God to do right by him no matter what. In spite of all of this which he has previously learned, his search for a “reason” for this situation leads him to now begin to blame himself. If God has “rejected” him (by not delivering him physically from his captivity), maybe he has done something wrong, something so bad it could cause God not to love him anymore, the thought of which brings him to a state of “mourning”, to the point of beginning to wish he were dead. It turns out that this is exactly the place to which God wanted him to come, that in his “searching” he has stumbled upon the reason for his situation, for it is at just this point that God “sends forth His light and His truth”, which brings an immediate change in the attitude and outlook of the Psalmist (verse 4). He transforms very quickly from bewilderment, depression and despair to “joy, delight and praise”. What must be noted now above all else is that we must realize that the situation has not changed even one tiny bit. What has changed is the Psalmist in the midst of the situation. He has learned first of all who God truly is, the sovereign ruler of all, who truly loves him and will always do what is best for him no matter what. He has learned second of all that he can meet with God anytime and anywhere, that God is never more than a prayer away, always ready to rescue us (though He gets to determine just what form that rescue will take). He has learned third of all that God may not always answer by miraculously changing difficult circumstances, for He may have us in those circumstances for reasons of which we may not be aware, and that we don’t always have to make sense of the circumstances, but merely learn to trust God in the midst of them. And he has learned fourth of all that God does not always miraculously rescue and deliver us from difficult circumstances, but may actually have deliberately placed us in the difficult circumstances in order to change us in the midst of them. May we all learn the lesson which God wants to teach us here through the experience of this Psalmist, that God’s ultimate goal for each of His children is not our happiness, but our holiness, and it is often only as He makes us unhappy that He is better able to make us holy.

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