“You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.”
One of the things I love about the Psalms is that they are so honest; they reflect real feelings. The writers of psalms were people like us who lived in the same world we live in. They struggled with the same things we do. They were also godly men; they were men of faith. They were Spirit–led men who sincerely searched for the face of God in the midst of their circumstances. We can learn a lot from their victories. We can learn a lot more from their struggles.
This passage is the prayerful cry of a struggling man. What I see as I read these words is a man who has good information but often arrives at the wrong conclusions. “You are God my stronghold” is clearly a true and informed statement. God IS the source of our safety and security. He says so and our experience affirms it. The rest of the statement is puzzling however. Why have you rejected me? How many times does God promise: “I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you,” or “Do not fear for I AM with you”? Then he cries out, “Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” Why MUST I? God gives us joy and peace. He takes our mourning and turns it into dancing. God might ask, “Why DO you?” And as for the “enemy,” The Bible says: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Then the writer says: “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me. . .” That is kind of like a man sitting on a mountain of macaroni and cheese pleading, “Send me food, I’m hungry.” God’s Word IS truth and light and it is available. The psalmist writes:“THEN will I go to the altar of God.” And God says: “Son, where do you think you are now?” The truth is that the believer lives every second of his life coram deo, (before the face of God).
I would suggest that there are three reasons why an authentic believer might FEEL that God is absent:
1 – He may be taking his own path. God won’t change direction in order to walk with you. You must change direction in order to walk with God. Authentic faith always requires repentance (a godward change of direction).
2 – He may have his focus on the difficulty of his circumstances rather than on the faithfulness and the power of God. Troubles seen through the eyes of flesh seem insurmountable. But through the eyes of faith one sees that all things are possible with God.
3 – His perspective may be worldly rather than godly. Most of the people we spend time with, most of the books and magazines we read, most of the TV shows and movies we watch reflect the view that there is no God; or, if there is, He is not the God of the Bible. If we are not careful, we will start looking at life that way. In other words, we leave God out of our own picture. So the question is: if God seems far away, who is doing the rejecting?
Again the solution is simple. Walk according to the Spirit and God’s Word. Praise Him now! Eat some macaroni.
Pastor Keith Andrews