Scripture: Psalms 73:21-26
I want you to focus on verse 26 for just a few minutes – “My flesh and my heart may fail” – because that’s the definition of despondency that I want us to work with. Do you see the three parts to that little phrase “my flesh and my heart may fail”?
“My flesh” – that means there’s a physical component to despondency. Isn’t there? The body weakens, there’s fatigue, there’s a sense of listlessness and sluggishness.
Secondly, “and my heart” – that means there’s this emotional spiritual dimension to despondency. Our hearts are discouraged, dejected, gloomy, burned out.
Third, “fail.” The word means come to an end, run out, be exhausted of resources. It’s like your life is a tank and in it is water that you need for refreshment. And somebody pulls the plug at the bottom and it just all runs out. And this word in Hebrew (Kalla) means come to an end, be exhausted, be depleted of resources to handle problems and life.
Now the question is, Is unbelief the root of that experience of despondency? And with ten minutes to preach here I’m passing over a lot. The answer is yes and no.
In other words, it’s not simple. But I’m going to pick a simple sentence, one that comes from Scripture, because we need clear and simple things to live by. Here’s the sentence that I think is simple and true: Unbelief is the root of yielding to despondency.
I’ll pass over the issue of where despondency comes from, because it’s very complex. Wherever it comes from, unbelief is at the root of making peace with it, yielding to it, giving no spiritual warfare to fight it, being negligent in putting on the armour of God and so on. Now I want illustrate this briefly by looking at the Psalm and then looking at Jesus.