Due to the content, some commentators believe that Psalm 42 and 43 were written at the same time. There are definite similarities between the two.
In the first verse, it is clear that the writer was experiencing great distress. “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!” This could very well have been during the time of the Babylonian Captivity. The people of the once great and proud nation were forced into captivity, and the land was laid to waste.
One wonders how many times faithful men and women have echoed the same words. During the reign on Constantine and later rulers, large sections of the eastern and northeastern Roman Empire had populations that professed to be Christians. There were numerous churches, building, and wealth. Then the Mongols swept through that region, and entire populations were indiscriminately killed or enslaved. After their passing, only ruins and wilderness was left.
Today, Christians are suffering horrible persecution in lands where Islam is dominant. The power of the Devil seems to be on the move. How does a Christian deal with a situation where he/she is in the hands of people that are brutal and indifferent? How strong is faith when it is truly tested? Probably there would be a spiritual conflict. On one hand there would be trust in the Lord, but on the other hand, there would be dismay and feeling of helplessness,
Apparently, that was what the writer was experiencing. In verse 2 he wrote, “For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” Then, in verse 5, he wrote, “5 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”
This is such a natural reaction. At first, there is the shocking realization that something bad is really happening. “Why is this happening to me?!” Then, faith reasserts itself. “This is bad, yes. But in the Lord there is hope and the promise.”
Non-believers question the importance of Christianity in this life. A college professor once questioned a young student as to the validity of the Bible and his beliefs. The young man started to reply, “There is the hope of eternal life”; but the professor interrupted and said, “Yes, yes, but what value is it now?”
The young man’s answer was correct plus he was not allowed to continue; but the reality is that the hope of eternal life IS a great source of comfort – an anchor. Christians may face what the writer faced – the complete destruction of the world he knew. It may be the news that a person has been diagnosed with a dangerous illness, or a person has been seriously hurt in an accident. It may be the after effects of a natural disaster. In all situations, one thing stands well above the events that occur in the world – Jesus Christ.
Jesus warned that it can be so easy to be overwhelmed by the cares and anxieties of life. But in Christ, life is so much more. Life is anticipation for the future. Life is a growing love and trust in the Lord. Life has meaning. Life is belonging to something that is eternal. Life is richer!
What a tragedy to face the issues of life without the comfort and reassurance found in the writings of God’s Word. To try to face some serious disaster without the Lord would be unbearable. The Psalmist wrote in verse 3, “O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me;” If that was true then, how much more is it true today?