David knew about cause and effect. He connected the dots between external circumstance and internal response. Know the ever-present reality of oppression and distress without? Be consumed by darkness and mourning within. Experience unrelenting obstacles day after day? Be prone to feelings of divine abandonment night after night. The cause and effect were undeniable. The connection between “quality of life” and “quality of worship” was understandable. But this morning as I’m hovering over the forty-third psalm, beyond the rawness of the songwriter’s feelings of having been rejected by the God in whom he has taken refuge, I notice his plea. I’m struck by what someone whose soul is cast down asks of the God he trusts.
The songwriter asks God to intervene as judge. To defend his cause. To deliver him from the ungodly and unjust. And he does so, at least in part, because of the effect it is having on him. “I go about mourning” (v.2). His soul is cast down, forced to its knees by waves of despair. Turmoil, an inner turbulent commotion, is his “new norm (v.5). The inner storm draining energy from what his soul truly desires. To abide where God dwells. To bring offerings with great joy. To worship. And so he prays, “Throw me a lifeline.”
Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God.
(Psalm 43:3-4 ESV)
Send out Your light. Let loose Your truth. For they are a lifeline that can guide me to where You tabernacle.
Jesus is light and truth. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (Jn. 8:12). He proclaimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). So, could we not rewrite the song?
Father, show me afresh the Son! Calm the inner storm that I might see again the cross and know again that if You are with me, who can be against me. That if You did not spare Your own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will You not also with Him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-32)
The Spirit is light and truth. Jesus, referring to Him as “the Spirit of truth” (Jn 15:26), sent Him to illuminate the Scriptures, to “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said you” (Jn. 14:26). So, could we not pen lyrics like this?
Father, help me to hear again the whisper of the Spirit’s voice. To be still and believe that I have not been left to my own devices to wage the battle or find the way, but that the Helper has sealed me and has promised to lead me.
And, beyond the “intangibles” of the Savior in whom I abide and His Spirit who abides in me, there is my Bible, the inspired Word of God, something I can lay hands on at will. And it is light, “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). And it is truth, “The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever” (Ps. 119:160). And so again, might we take license with the songwriter’s words?
Let Your Word be the light and truth that leads me again to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling!
Throw me a lifeline? Our faithful Father has — a three-corded lifeline, not easily broken (Eccl. 4:12). It is found in every remembrance of His Son. It is grasped every time we acknowledge the Spirit’s indwelling presence and promise of help. It draws us into His holy presence every time we open the Word, and chew on the Word, and “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8).
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God.
Praise God for the lifeline of light and truth. Manifest in His Son. Revealed by His Spirit. Found in His Word.
All through wondrous grace. All for His eternal glory.