The Extremes of Exercising the Soul is the title of this Psalm as Asaph, the author, passes through a number of trouble in his soul when it 'refused to be comforted'. (v.2) He records The Activities of The Troubled Soul in v.1-6.
Then in (v.7-9) Six Doubtful Questions are set forth, but, through it all he finds eight ways to remember his Lord which provide him with an anchor for his troubled soul. These Remembrances and Reassurances are found in (v.10-12) followed by Expressions of The Ways and Wonders of God (v.13-20) which add to his faith and build stability for his soul.
The first indication of trouble comes in (v.1) "I cried unto God with my voice..." showing the urgent need for God attention. In (v.2) he describes the time of distress as 'the day of my trouble' showing that this was not just an ordinary conflict he was facing, but, instead, it was significant as he highlighted this event in his life as 'the' day showing it held the high position of being singled out particularly.
His immediate recall is "I sought the Lord" demonstrating his urgent need when he "cried unto God" here repeating and underlining the action of seeking help for an overwhelming problem in his life. "My sore ran in the night and ceased not" reveals that it was not only a spiritual malady, but, he was suffering physically indeed.
"My soul refused to be comforted" emphasizes the inner struggle that was present during this time of physical sickness. "I remembered God, and was troubled" demonstrates that his remembrance of God did not bring the help he desired, rather, trouble came instead.
"My spirit was overwhelmed" tells the story as to the source of the trouble, his was indeed a spiritual battle with the results showing up in the physical realm, much like the situation Job found himself experiencing when the LORD and Satan used him as their battlefield, a spiritual battle bringing physical suffering.
"Selah" divides the revelation, and now he addresses the Lord: "Thou holdest mine eyes waking; I am so troubled that I cannot speak."(v.4) And, here he points the finger at God, who he says is the cause of his sleeplessness, and his trouble, and inability to speak.
He continues his complaint in (v.5,6) "I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with my own heart: and my spirit made diligent search." His efforts to bring about relief are recorded but his condition is unchanged and the next three verses demonstrate his frustrations.
"Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone for ever? Doth His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?" These six questions unveil the depths of despair Asaph is experiencing because we all know the answer to each and every one of these questions is NO, NEVER, A THOUSAND TIMES...NO!!
"Selah" again brings a new section. In (v.10-12) Remembrances and Reassurances are brought forth "And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember the wonders of old. I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of all Thy doings."
He recognizes that it is not the Lord who is responsible for his grief and then goes on to bring to mind the past years of God's powerful working and works in his own life and in ancient times when He performed all the miracles of deliverance, but the turning point comes when he decides to vocalize his remembrances and utter forth the manifold praises of his God. It truly is amazing what praising will do!!
And that is just what he sets forth in the remainder of this instructive record and remedy for the depressed: "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God?" (v.13) There it is, the cure in a nutshell! Declaring the truth of God's greatness as discovered by one who recognizes God's way 'is in the sanctuary'!
His wonders, His strength, His power, His redemption, His might, His fear, His thunder and lightning, His ability to shake the heavens and the earth, His mysterious ways and His condescending love which makes Him the God Who leads and guides His people 'like a flock' through the weak and imperfect hands of mere men!(v.14-20) We have a great God indeed...let us exalt and praise Him together...rejoice, regardless!
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