Summary: Getting up when we are cast down
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
It is believed that David was the author of this psalm. Even though his name is not mentioned as the writer, this chapter is in his style and manner.
It is the cry of a man far removed from the outward ordinances and worship of God, sighing for the long loved house of his God;
and at the same time it is the voice of a spiritual believer, under depressions, longing for the renewal of the divine presence, struggling with doubts and fears, but yet holding his ground by faith in the living God.
He demonstrates his thirst for the presence of God in verse one, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
He expounds more deeply in verse 3, “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?”
It is probable that David's flight from Absalom may have been the occasion for composing this psalm.
So we see a man suffering from a deep depression because of things that have happened in his life.
This is the reason he said, “ Why art thou cast down, O my soul?”
Now, you may have never heard it preached the way I want to present this message today.
But assuming David is the author of this psalm, I want to look at this verse from a shepherd’s perspective.
David used the term, “cast down”, “why are you cast down, O my soul?”
Have you ever heard the term “sagging sheep”? It has the same meaning as a “cast sheep.”
I want to describe the condition of a cast sheep.
It is one of the most pathetic conditions a sheep can get in.
A cast sheep is a sheep that is on its back with its feet straight up in the air.
It is flailing frantically with its feet. It cannot get up.
You’ve heard the old saying, “I was flat on my back.”
The implication is, in a position where you can’t get up
So the cast sheep is on its back and can’t get up. So it lies there looking around, lashing about with its body, and it is frightened and frustrated.
It is a pathetic thing and its something a shepherd doesn’t like to see.
But not only is it pathetic, it is also perilous and dangerous.
For you see, while it is on its back its rumen becomes involved. The rumen is the sheep’s first chamber of its stomach in which microorganisms break down plant cellulose before the food is returned to the mouth as cud for additional chewing.
The rumen presses down on the sheep’s heart, slows the blood flow to the animal’s extremities and causes them to go dead.
In hot weather the sheep will not live long in this condition.
Then there is the peril of predators, wolves and lions who are more than willing to catch the sheep in this helpless condition and have an easy dinner.
Therefore if the cast sheep is in this condition very long it will most certainly die.