“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.” Psalm 43:4
Have you ever felt misunderstood, alone, harassed by others, even ‘cast off‘ by God Himself? I certainly have, more times than I care to admit. My life is so rich compared to a majority of my brothers and sisters in the world. Why should I ever complain about anything? And yet, I do.
David faced a much more difficult situation in this psalm than I have ever known, as he was in exile, pursued by Saul. What was his response? First, he expressed his grief and feelings of injustice.
Then he asked some hard questions: “Why dost thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy.” But to whom does he pour out his complaints? To his friends or family? No. He goes straight to God with his pain and doubt. “Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.
” When his focus turned to God, all else paled by comparison and even seemed irrelevant. He seemed to say, “Why was I ever so troubled by circumstances or people, when I have such a great God” “my exceeding joy?” The margin reads “the gladness of my joy,” i.e. the very soul and heart of my joy. David immediately broke forth into praise to this God of gods, with special emphasis on the personal, “my God.”
The psalm ends with David talking to himself about this wonderful God. Things came back into perspective again as he realized these trials were only temporary (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18). He would spend eternity praising Him for Who He is and reveling in the assurance that He is ‘my God..’ Let’s join him right now and “go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.”
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