Don’t Be Scared: Psalm 143

Psalm 143:

A Prayer Not to Be Killed, or Something Worse

 A psalm of David.

 1 Lord, hear my prayer;
listen to my cry for mercy.
Answer me
because you are loyal and good.
 

The writer stressing the truth that God listens.  A listening God is a God of wonder.  Elijah on Mt. Carmel had focused the people on a hearing God who was the real God.  The psalmist here reveals his trust in the inherent goodness of God.   He listens, He never ever puts His phone on call-forwarding.

2 Don’t judge me, your servant,
       because no one alive is right before you.

We are all in the same boat– we are sinners.  The writer doesn’t need to be convinced of this.  All he can do is appeal to God. He knows his place though–a servant of the Lord.  He understands that he is what he is.  (He accepts what is real, and doesn’t try to pretend otherwise. Some will try to ‘fake it.’)

3 My enemies are chasing me;
       they crushed me to the ground.
    They made me live in darkness
       like those long dead.
 4 I am afraid;
       my courage is gone.

We all have enemies.  They are the satanic evil spirits that are the wholesalers of evil, and its devices, and they mean to harm us.  The writer feels the pursuit, and these sinister antagonists get close enough to strike at him.  He confesses fear.   His life has been far too influenced by their dark ministry.  He is being pressed to the point of being overwhelmed.

  5 I remember what happened long ago;
I consider everything you have done.
I think about all you have made.
6 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
As a dry land needs rain, I thirst for you.  Selah

The psalmist has a spiritual history to ponder.  He thinks of all the past events and draws out his strength.  The Father has led us through all of them. God ‘remembers’ in the truest sense of the word.  Verse 6 declares his proper response to v. 5.  David’s hands reach up; he imagines himself to be a desert–dry and desolate.

 7 Lord, answer me quickly,
       because I am getting weak.
    Don’t turn away from me,
       or I will be like those who are dead.
 

The writer has evaluated his situation, he is weak and he is dying. His spiritual pulse is “weak and thready.”  This seems to be a deteriorating condition.  He is discerning enough however to draw conclusions.  Doctors tell us that hearing is the last faculty to depart a dying man.  Perhaps to a spiritual man discernment is the last to go.  Somehow we know what the truth is until we are completely senile (spiritually, that is).

 8 Tell me in the morning about your love,
       because I trust you.
    Show me what I should do,
       because my prayers go up to you.

The writer affirms his personal connections to the Lord.  Love should be an intimate word, saturated with hope and a future.  This love comes as a result of trust/faith (the word, “because” is key).  The psalmist requests help for his particular situation.  He sees his prayers, like arrows reaching heaven.

 9 Lord, save me from my enemies;
       I hide in you.
 10 Teach me to do what you want,
       because you are my God.
    Let your good Spirit
       lead me on level ground.

Save me…teach me…lead me.  A ‘triune aspect’ of the Spirit’s work.  Each believer can realize this ministry.  He is like a bodyguard, a tutor, and a professional guide to each of us.  Verse 10: “level ground”; nothing is harder on a tired soldier then marching on hilly terrain.  Flat and level is the best, and its not wrong to ask for an easier path.   Sometimes we stumble because we haven’t asked for level ground.

11 Lord, let me live
so people will praise you.
In your goodness
save me from my troubles.
12 In your love defeat my enemies.
Destroy all those who trouble me,
because I am your servant.
    

This should be the cry of the Christian heart–let me be an example that will lead others to worship.  Let me be a reason to them to sing, and give you glory.  Notice that God’s goodness is specifically pointed out to be the starting point for salvation. “Since He is good, I will be saved”.  In verse 12 we are reminded that out of that matrix of love, God can conquer.  “God so loved the world”…John 3:16.  Love is the reason, and not just a vague, general sense of love but a love that rolls up its sleeves and jumps in and pounds my enemies.

 Text taken from New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

If this post has been a blessing to you, and you would like me to do more of this, won’t you let me know.  Thanks!

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Author: Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, epilepsy, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alaska.

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