Text: “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto Me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.”
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Good morning, cast down Christian! You have arrived at this Bible Lesson, or this Bible Lesson has arrived at you, at a time when you lie battered and buckled by some failing in life; some straying from the Lord’s holiness; some dark depression of soul, when you feel the enormity of your fall into sin, and your heart now aches with feelings of your betrayal of your Holy Saviour, Jesus Christ; and the Spirit of God within you is sore grieved indeed.
If this describes you this morning, dear brother, if this describes you this morning, dear sister in Christ – then, read on, for the Lord God has sent you a personal message of His abiding love and HOPE for the days ahead.
To such a downcast one, as the Psalmist was when he wrote Psalm 43, I would pose this vital question: “Is God a liar?” Selah: Now meditate on this thought. Think this through.
“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent (say something, and then renege on His Word!): hath not He said, and shall not He do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Behold (look, and fully understand), I have received commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.” (Numbers 23:19-20)
Psalm 43 is a message of new hope to you and to me, beloved, cast down friend. It is a message that returns to the theme and subject of Psalm 42, and the Holy Ghost repeats the important comforting message of God’s hope, ever given to ‘His people’ in Christ Jesus. Glory and thanks be to God for His gift of Divine HOPE! Hallelujah! Let me hear it? Hallelujah!
“Subject of Psalm 42: It is the cry of a man far removed from the outward ordinances and worship of God, sighing for the long loved house of his God; and at the same time it is the voice of a Spiritual believer, under depressions, longing for the renewal of the Divine Presence, struggling with doubts and fears, but yet holding his ground by faith in the Living God.” (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, page 202)
Subject of Psalm 43: On account of the similarity of the structure of this Psalm to that of Psalm 42, it has been supposed to be a fragment wrongly separated from the preceding song; but it is always dangerous to allow these theories of error in Holy Scripture, and in this instance it would be very difficult to show just cause for such an admission.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 208)
I have no personal need to disagree with the ‘prince of preachers’, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a firm favourite of my own these past 42 years as a regenerate Christian. I personally believe that Psalm 43 is, as my title for this morning’s Bible Lesson states, a ‘Returning Again To Hope in God’.
For the past 42 years since the Lord saved me in, and from my sin, I have personally experienced a constant ‘returning again to hope in God’, as the vicissitudes (ups and downs) of life have led me to constantly return to God’s throne of grace in repentance from sin; for refreshment in trials; and for strength anew to be of some small use to the Master Captain of the Host, Christ Jesus, in the perpetual Spiritual Battle against sin and evil.
Praise God that His throne of grace is ever open to us – because of the shed Blood of Christ Jesus, our Redeemer King, at Golgotha’s Cross! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
Verse 8. “Hope in God. The worldlings motto is, ‘a bird in the hand.’ ‘Give me today’, say they, ‘and take tomorrow whoso will’. But the word of believers is spero meliora – my hopes are better than my present possessions.” (Elnathan Parr 1651)
When we, as regenerate, Bible-believing Christians, fall into mischief, fail Christ by weaknesses and lack of constancy; commit GROSS sin in open disobedience to our Lord God of wrath against all sin – we immediately FEEL the Spiritual grief we have foolishly caused, and fall into dark depression of spirit, knowing we have betrayed our calling in the Holy Christ Jesus; grieved God the Spirit within us; and caused our Heavenly Father to turn His Holy face away from us in separation from our sin. We become ‘cast down’ indeed.
However, and praise God for the ‘howevers of God’s grace’ – in returning to Christ in repentance there is always forgiveness to be had. God is so very gracious and good.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth (Christ is the truth!) is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9) Wow! We are blessed with new hope in God!
Verse 4. Then will I go unto the altar of God. Toward this altar all the rays of the light of Divine favour and grace, and of Divine truth and Holiness, have from Eternity converged; and from this point they shine forth toward and upon the soul and heart of the poor, far-off penitent, attracting him/her to that altar where he/she may meet with his/her God.” (John Offord 1868)
Sincere repentance is not only a gift from God, but, once exercised by the erring Christian, it becomes the sinner’s passport to renewal of faith, hope, and fellowship with our Holy Lord God. The Lord God does not save you and I only to leave us to survive alone!
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh (asks, and continues to ask!) receiveth (receives, and continues to receive!): and he/she that seeketh findeth; and to him/her that knocketh is shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Verse 4. “Unto God my exceeding joy. It was not the altar as such that the Psalmist cared for; he was no believer in the heathenism of ritualism: his soul desired Spiritual fellowship, fellowship with God Himself in very deed. What are all the rites of worship unless the Lord be in them; What, indeed, but empty sells and dry husks?” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury Of David, page 209)
Thought: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who IS the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 43:5) Souls that find restoration always praise the Lord God.