Rhetorical Questions

LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Today’s Scripture: Psalms 43:3 – 5 (NIV) 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. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

If you took the time to read yesterday’s devotional on the 42nd Psalm, you may feel like today’s devo on the 43rd Psalm is a little bit repetitious. You see in many of the original Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament Psalm 42 and 43 are combined as one. The theme of Psalm 42 continues into the 43rd, and the key verse of both Psalms is identical –

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Three times the Psalmist repeats that verse. It must be significant. The author is not being redundant – he’s being emphatic.

The past few months have been very difficult ones for me – not because anything is happening to me but because my heart is overwhelmed with what is happening in the lives of others. It seems that God has designed a huge test for me to see if I will really keep my eyes on Him and my hope in Him. Every day I need to be reminded to let His light and truth guide me to His holy mountain, and that the things of this unholy earth not be allowed to distract or discourage me.

It would be so easy to get disturbed and downcast by all that is happening if not for the knowledge of who He is and the hope that I will yet praise Him in His presence one day. In fact, I need to remember that I can praise Him for His faithfulness every day until that day of His return arrives.

I can understand the battle that some of you must be going through. The burden I feel for what is happening to you is not to be compared to the burden you are carrying as you go through them. But the thrice repeated set of questions asked in the two Psalms – Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? – must become the questions we are able to answer as the author did while he was in the midst of the deepest trials of his life.

His answer to the question is this – PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD.

He then declares to us the basis for that hope – the faithfulness of God.

  • He remembers the past faithfulness of God to His people – Psalm 42:6 … I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
  • He contemplates God’s steadfast love – Psalm 42:8  By day the LORD commands his steadfast love…
  • He asks for God’s light and truth to guide Him – Psalm 43:3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!

If we will learn to do those three things – remember God’s faithfulness; contemplate God’s love; and ask for His light and truth – the questions the Psalmist asks become somewhat rhetorical – Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? How can we be discouraged, disturbed, and downcast when we know who God is, what God has done, and we have the hope of experiencing His awesome and glorious presence some day?

The only possible reason we cannot answer the questions with hope is because we are focused on the flesh and not on the Spirit. The experience of losing the things of earth has taken on more significance to us than the gain of being found faithful to God and living according to His purpose. Unfulfilled dreams and goals have become more important than the fulfillment of our redemption. Should we not confess together that we have wanted to be led to earthly prosperity and posterity more than we have wanted to be led to God’s holy mountain?

“Oh God, forgive us for treasuring the things of earth more than you. Forgive us for trying to produce our own outcomes for our own benefit and not trusting you to bring eternal glory to yourself in the outcomes you have planned. Send forth your light and your truth into the current trials of my life and let them bring me to your holy presence. I put my hope in you. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation. I will praise you, my Savior and my God.”

Pastor John

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