Psalm 143:1-12 A Lament By David
Psalm 143:1-12 Goals
This is the last lament psalm in the book of psalms. (Oh, don’t cry! We have mostly hymns and a royal psalm left.) It is the third to last psalm attributed to David.
As I age, I don’t care about so many things in this world. As a result, I am more content. I think that’s what Paul meant when he said, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Phil. 4:11 ).
Paul also said, “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim. 6:8). That anonymous guy said in the book of Hebrews, possibly Paul, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU’” (Heb. 13:5). If you aren’t as free from stuff in the world as you’d like, don’t worry, God will help you with it.
Years ago, after I was first saved, I wrote in my Bible, “Lord, I want nothing for myself.” Not long afterward, I wondered, “Why did I write that?” I had seen it in someone else’s Bible and thought it was really cool. Decades later, I’m still not quite at that level. Sometimes I want things. But I’m better than I used to be. And I can tell you it’s very freeing not to want so much. The things I need God makes sure I get them and even more and better quality than I need (cf. Phil. 4:19).
David once again implored God to hear him (v. 1). He asked not to be judged which is similar to having sins forgiven (v. 2, cf. 1 John 1:9). David didn’t understand about Christ and forgiveness through him though I bet he sacrificed a lot of bulls and now, in Heaven, understands the theology that animal sacrifice presaged the sacrifice of the Ultimate Lamb, Jesus.
David, again, is being pursued (v. 3). Being in a dark cave, hiding out, he may have felt almost as bad as Jonah in the huge fish (v. 1 Sam. 22:1; Jon. 1:17; 2:1). David felt like he was “crushed” (v. 3b). He was depressed emotionally, in “heart,” and spiritually (v. 4).
David’s antidote for his depression is the same one we should use and it’s not a pill or a gallon of ice cream. He remembered the things he had done in the past (v. 5). So he could have recalled how God had spared him when Saul was stalking him but he also could have remembered God’s wondrous works in creating the world, separating the Red Sea, protecting Joseph from his brothers, and the occupation of the Promised Land.
When we are down, we can do the same things. I always like to recall what God has done in my life and remind myself that whenever I think God doesn’t care or isn’t answering my prayer, I always end up looking back and feeling like an idiot (see The Idiot Rule).
David praised God even when he felt like his life had dried up like a desert (v. 6). He asked God to answer him quickly because he felt like he was just going to collapse under the pressure of his persecution (v. 7). He felt like he was going to die and “go down to the pit” of Sheol, the holding tank for the OT dead.
I love verse 8! David asks to hear of God’s hesed, lovingkindness, every morning. Every morning, David would wake up and affirm his trust in God and ask God for guidance (cf. Prov. 3:5-6). He could have confessed with Jeremiah, ” The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23).
Verse 8 is a great prayer for us to memorize and pray as we get out of bed every day. David looked to God as he awoke daily.
He concludes by asking once again to protect him from his stalkers who wanted him dead (v. 9). God was certainly the all-powerful One Who would be able to keep him from harm (v. 9, cf. Ps. 121, Sleepless In Sion). Hiding in God, David realized, was better than hiding in a cave.
David was humble and teachable. A disciple must be teachable. It is part of the definition of disciple. A disciple is a learner. David asked for God to teach him His will (v. 10). There is no reason for God to answer a prayer like that unless the person praying actually is willing to do His will.
David asked to be revived (v. 11) and for God to help him resolve his struggle (cf. Ps. 71:20-21).
Since God was bound to David in covenantal love, hesed, he could trust God to destroy his persecutors (v. 12). As a servant, David could trust God to answer his prayer. John said as much in John 14:12-14. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” To ask in Jesus’ name presupposes servanthood. If you are seeking to serve God with all your heart (cf. Jer. 29:13), God will hear you and give you what you ask.
Are you making requests in Jesus’ name? Or are you asking for things selfishly? Can you write in your Bible, “Lord, I want nothing for myself?”
As my teenage daughter would say, “Goals.”
Proverbs 17:26 A Fine Thing
A friend of mine says “no good deed goes unpunished.” He didn’t make it up but he had helped a lot of people that were unappreciative. Remember Proverbs is a book of advice from a father to a son. Solomon collected the Proverbs. He is warning his son not to punish people who are trying to help him.
I have often wondered why people don’t appreciate things I do for them. I think, “Don’t they know I’m their friend and want the best for them?” Oh, well.
Paul asked the Galatians, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). Sometimes you just can’t win.