Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 5th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 43

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-5


These two psalms were originally one, and it is difficult to account for their being divided. They both close with the same reviving chorus. David composed them beyond the Jordan, and in the vicinity of mount Hermon, when he fled from Absalom; and to that cruel and unnatural revolt we are indebted, under God, for some of his most pathetic pieces. The first object which pierced his soul in exile, was banishment from the house and altar of the Lord. He was perfectly acquainted with the omnipresence of the Maker of heaven and earth; yet no place was so dear to the pious Jew as the mercyseat. Therefore as the hart, the hunted hart, pants to cool his body in pools of water, so his soul panted for the river, whose streams make glad the city of God. How then will those christians appear, who discover so great an indifference to the means of grace?

The second cause of David’s grief was, that the infidel and rebellious crowd should now display their wanton wit in deriding the confidence he had ever reposed in the peculiar promises of God. Hearing of his flight, and presuming he was now for ever lost, they exclaimed, Where is now thy God. This was the more afflictive, as he had gone with those men to the house of God, and headed their devotion in all public days of joy and thanksgiving. Hence we should learn to trust in God alone, and not repose too much confidence in men, not even in the best of men.

We have next the power of faith, which can support the soul in the most afflictive situations. David’s army was small, the rebels were numerous and wicked beyond a name. His flight was attended with a thousand humiliations, and the revolt of his favourite son was connected with crimes peculiarly mortifying to the sire. So circumstanced, day and night he enjoyed his tears, instead of meat. All around him was impervious gloom; yet even then faith broke into his mind with rays of confidence and hope; and assuming the soul of a prophet and a king, he said, Why art thou cast down, oh my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him.

Providence presently realized his confidence; the rebels were defeated, many of the fugitives were driven over the precipice, in the wood of Ephraim; the kingdom was purified of a vast throng of incorrigible men, and the Lord brought back the king to his altar and his holy hill. Oh how good is the Lord to those who trust in his word: how bright are the beams of the sun after a dark and cloudy day. He who has God for his portion should never yield to despair.

Whether we are overwhelmed with spiritual despondency and gloom, whether involved in family afflictions, or overtaken with national calamities, let us fix our eye and heart steadfastly on the promises of God, and wait the issues of his holy will.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 43". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-43.html. 1835.
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