Psalm 43 (NRSV)
Verse 1Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
Verse 2For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off? Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy?
Verse 3O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
Verse 4Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
Verse 5Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
A few years ago during a pastors’ text study, a colleague mentioned that he often looked for a phrase or word that bothered him to assist him in getting started with his sermon preparations. In Psalm 43, it was the first word, “vindicate,” that bothered me. It sounded like the psalmist’s mounting frustrations from an overwhelming sense of being wrongly oppressed by others. The struggles that the psalmist experienced were pressing down on him and occasioned a request for God’s light and truth to lead the way to Jerusalem and lighten the load of oppression which seem so unjustified. Yet in the midst of these frustrating struggles, in the depths of the writer’s soul there is a feeling of hope, even release from the oppression, because of God’s promise of presence and help. Our paths are clearer and supported with God’s help, when we ask in trust.
God of Hope, may our steps be accompanied with your presence. Help us to know that you walk with us in the light and the darkness within our daily lives. May our lives be supported by your promise of hope for life today and in the days to come! In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.