Text: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Good morning, temporarily ‘cast down’ Christian! When you awoke this morning, you awoke in what John Bunyan, in his great allegory Pilgrim’s Progress, called ‘the slough of despond’; a dark depression of the soul; a deep sadness of spirit – the result of any number of circumstances that presently seem to surround you with gloom and a sense of impending doom and failure. If this describes your present mood as you commence this Bible Lesson, please continue reading: for, if you are born again of the Spirit of God, then there is an ever-given new hope prepared here for you personally. ‘Hope in God!’ Hallelujah!
Verse 11. “Hope. Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind it.” (Samuel Smiles 1812-1904)
Spiritual hope, on the other hand, not only ‘casts the shadow of our burdens behind it...’, but causes us to regain our composure and reflect once more on our Eternal Standing in our dear Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise and all glory to His Holy Name! He IS our HOPE!
“Therefore (a conclusion) being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God...and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:1-6)
Verse 11. “WHY art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? If you and I are feeling ‘cast down’, depressed in spirit; somewhat tired and disillusioned by some aspect of the circumstances of our present lives, or through the actions, words, or contentions of another – let us ask ourselves the two questions featured in Psalm 42, and verse 11.
Are we feeling this depression because we have sinned against the Holy Lord God, and against His will, as revealed in His written and Spirit-inspired Word? If so, the Lord already knows the reason for our grief of spirit – our human spirit is grieved because the Spirit of God living within our ‘born again’ souls is grieved by the presence of committed sin. Fact!
So, what is to be done in order to put things right again with the Lord God, and to ‘...renew a right spirit within...’ us? (Psalm 51:10)
Repentance from known sin, and open confession of that sin to the Lord God alone, is the only remedy for this Spiritual ailment. We have God’s own Word on this vital issue: “If we say we that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins (to God alone!), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)
Are we feeling this depression of spirit due to having offended a brother or a sister in Christ? Then, the Word of God promises a sure remedy for this also: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar (prayer time), and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
United we stand, divided we fall! This principle is true in all aspects of human life. Moreso in the Spiritual Body of Christ. Together we stand strong in Christ!
Is our feelings of being ‘cast down’ due to the spiritual oppression of the world, the flesh, or the Devil, as the Psalmist previously stated in verse 9 of this same Psalm? Then begin to better realise that such ‘oppressions’, if looked at from a more positive Spiritual aspect, are come upon us as a direct consequences of the fact that our witness and testimony of Christ’s saving grace; our daily and consistent ministries for Christ and His Kingdom; the constant Spiritual warfare that you and I are enabled of the Lord to fulfil in His Name – are doing great harm to Satan and his vile kingdom! Therefore, the evil one is seeking to strike back with all the ‘oppositions’ possible to him in his limited power as a defeated enemy!
Any professing, born again, Bible-believing Christian who does not suffer from such worldly, fleshy, and Satanic oppressions – is not really engaged in the Spiritual Battle!
Verse 11.”...Hope thou in God. When you and I who are oppressed in our Christian lives come to realise that such oppressions only come upon those of us that are militant and faithful in Christ’s service – we further realise that Christ has already defeated Satan, the world, the flesh and all other ungodly contenders at the place called Calvary, or Golgotha’s Hill!
Therefore our vision is renewed, our hope is replenished, and placed in that same Lord God Who has not only saved us by Christ’s Atonement Sacrifice, but promised to KEEP us by the power of His Almighty and infallible strength! Hallelujah! Nothing can pluck us from His hand! We are forever victorious over all depression and oppression that comes! Glory to the Lamb that was slain, and now lives victorious forever! Hallelujah! Jesus Lives!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded (given new hope!), that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (including ourselves!), shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
Verse 11. “...For I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Note the progression in this verse. It commences with dark feelings of soul-depression; progresses to deep questionings to find the reason for such oppressions; and ends with the determination to put all our most profound hope in God and in the grace of His Face shining upon us.
What begins in this vital Scripture verse as honest self-examination, ends in renewal of Christian hope and Eternal assurance – and all this progression clearly proven by the authority of God’s written Word. What a Salvation we have in Christ Jesus! Praise His Name!
Hear anew His promise to us, ‘His people’. Be renewed in victorious hope!
“Fear thou not; for I AM (Jehovah Lord God) with thee: be not dismayed; for I AM thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Thought: “...Weeping may endure for a night...joy cometh in the morning...” Hope in God! His Almighty help is only a prayer away. The Lord lift you up, beloved in Him.