1 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.
2 You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?
3 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.4 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.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.
(Verse 1) This psalm is one of about 25 psalms written by the ‘Sons of Korah’. Most of their psalms are 42-50 and 72-85. Verse 1 does not state who wrote it. Originally perhaps it was included in Psalm 42. That would explain the repeat of Psalm 42:5 and 11 in Psalm 43:5. The Sons of Korah survived when God judged their Levite clan after rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Their descendants served in the Temple in different ways, including as singers and musicians. This reminds us that even rebel families can be restored.
The writer asks God to ‘vindicate’ (‘clear from guilt’) them, rescue them and plead their cause before the ungodly wicked and deceitful nation in which they serve God. Family history teaches them God is holy.
(Verse 2) He knows God is his stronghold. He wrongly thinks that enemy oppression means God has rejected him. God never said that it would be easy to live for Him in a world hostile to God and His standards.
(Verses 3-4) Let us see in some detail how this godly psalmist prays specifically when he bears in mind all this opposition, even among the Israelites whom God chose for Himself. He asks for God to shed His light on his path. The Bible says that God is light, that Jesus is the ‘Light of the World’, that God’s word is a lamp for our steps and a light for the way we take. The work of the Holy Spirit is to enlighten us from the darkness our sins produce, and point us to Jesus, who took our place and punishment for all our wrongdoing in His own body when He suffered and bled on the cross for us. The Bible says that ‘if we walk in the light, as [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.’ (1 John1:7) The other thing to guide us, as well as God’s light, is His truth. Jesus is the truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. The Bible is the truth. Romans 3:4 says, ‘Let God be true, and every man a liar’. We all have lied – God has never lied. So, to be guided, as the writer seeks, to follow God’s holiness, to worship Him, to appreciate His sacrifice (for us by Jesus), to have God as our joy and delight, and to praise Him as my God, I always need God’s light and God’s truth. Pray to God to enlighten you every day as your read through His word, the Bible.
(Verse 5) I cannot be dogmatic, but I think personally, that the third repeat in two psalms of the two questions to his own soul, are so he can give the final answer with confidence in God. That is based on hope in God, praise for God, and knowing Him as ‘my Saviour and my God.’ Do you?