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 for the help of is countenance.”
Good morning, self-reasoning Christian! Seeking to be obedient in every way to the Living Lord God Who has redeemed your never-dying soul by the precious Blood of His Son, Jesus Christ – you seek to study His Word, gain knowledge of how to practice your God-given faith; and have found the wisdom of sincere self-reasoning. You do well, Christian. You do very well. The Lord God is pleased with His children when we seek to be obedient to His Word.
In verse five of Psalm forty-two, we find the Spirit-inspired Psalmist in a session of sincere reasoning with his own down-cast soul. The Lord teaches us in various Scriptures, that such self-reasoning is a profitable practice; He even encourages us to ‘reason together’ with Himself!
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 1:18-20)
It follows therefore, that, if the Lord encourages us to come and reason things out with Himself – it is certainly a good practice also to reason things out with our own soul in times of depression of spirit, or feelings of being down-cast in our very souls. This is what we find the Psalmist doing in our Bible reading for today.
“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 for the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5)
Using what we have called one’s ‘sanctified imagination’ therefore, we can begin to imagine what the Psalmist is seeking to do with this concept of self-reasoning. He is asking himself the difficult questions in order to gain the deep and powerful answers he needs if he is to overcome the down-cast feelings deep in his soul. Let us imagine for ourselves, therefore, what could be the reason for the Psalmist experiencing such down-cast feelings?
1. Sin: Nine times out of every ten, the reason for regenerate Christians feeling depressed or down-cast is down to sin. When the Christian engages in sin, or is engaged by sin – his/her born again spirit feels the pangs of depression and grief. Fact. If one is professing to be a child of a Holy Lord God and can engage in, or be engaged by sin, without feeling such deep inner grief – then I must question that person’s experience of Eternal Salvation in Christ.
Everything in Eden’s Garden was wonderful, peaceful, joyful, and innocent until SIN entered. When sin entered into the hearts of our progenitors – Adam and Eve – and they began to listen to, and receive, the temptations of the Evil Serpent, Satan, it all suddenly began to go wrong. Thistles began to grow among the flowers; lions began to eat instead of play with lambs; illness and disease came into being, and pain was felt by God’s Creation.
God is a Holy Lord God of wrath against all sin – He MUST punish all sin with His curse and Divine rebuke.
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is Holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (entire lifestyle); because it is written, Be ye holy for I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)
2. Disobedience: Disobedience to the revealed Commandments and will of the Lord God will bring immediate grief of God the Holy Spirit within the hearts of true believers in Christ. If one does not feel that deep inner grief of God the Holy Spirit when disobedient, then it is proof positive that God the Holy Spirit does not dwell within that human heart. We have an old saying here in Protestant Northern Ireland, UK, ‘You can’t live in Rome and fight with the pope!’ Meaning: we cannot engage in sin without the Holy Spirit feeling grieved within us, and that profound inner grief of God the Spirit should drive us into a period of self-reasoning – to discover what it is that we are doing, saying, practicing, that is sinful in the eyes of our Holy Lord God. The Lord makes provision for saints who have sinned against Him. What a gracious Lord God we serve! Praise His Holy Name! We are continually blessed with HOPE in Him and in His Sovereign grace to us, ‘His people’.
“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. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9-10)
Verse 5. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? To search out the cause of our sorrow is often the best surgery for grief. Self-ignorance is not bliss; in this case it is misery. The mist of ignorance magnifies the causes of our alarm; a clearer view will make monsters dwindle into trifles.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 204)
Verse 5. “Hope thou in God. Hope never affords more joy than in affliction. It is on a watery cloud that the sun paints those curious colours in the rainbow...There are two graces, which Christ useth above any other, to fill the soul with joy - faith and hope - because these two fetch all their wine of joy without dour (begrudgery). Faith tells the soul what Christ hath done for it; and so comforts it; hope revives the soul with the news of what Christ will do: both draw at one tap – Christ and His promise. (Condensed from William Gurnall 1617-1679)
The Lord God, Jehovah, because of the Sacrifice made by His Son, Jesus Christ, offers repentance as His gift to all those He redeems by Christ’s precious Blood Sacrifice. The knowledge of this gift of repentance from our sin, brings with it true hope, because we are granted faith to believe and trust in God’s Word and promise of forgiveness. When we repent from our disobedient sins, the Lord renews us into full fellowship with Himself, and the hope He grants us in Christ, draws out the sting of all our Spiritual depressions. Hallelujah!
“Think it not enough to silence thy heart from quarrelling with God, but leave not till thou canst bring it sweetly to rely on God. Holy David drove it thus far, he did not only chide his soul for being disquieted, but he charges it to trust in God.” (William Gurnall 1617-1679)
Thought: When cast down – cast out sin, be forgiven, renew fellowship with God.