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Psalm 143

Jorine Johnson

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;

give ear to my pleas for mercy!

In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!

2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,

for no one living is righteous before you.

3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;

he has crushed my life to the ground;

he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.

4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;

my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old;

I meditate on all that you have done;

I ponder the work of your hands.

6 I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!

My spirit fails!

Hide not your face from me,

lest I be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,

for in you I trust.

Make me know the way I should go,

for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!

I have fled to you for refuge.

10 Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God!

Let your good Spirit lead me

on level ground!

11 For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!

In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!

12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,

and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,

for I am your servant.

One reason I really like the psalms is how it is so personal and demonstrates the emotions of the psalmist in their deepest of troubles. It is comforting to know that in our troubles and trials that we experience, there are certainly likeminded people that experience the similar things we do. And their solution is to look toward the Lord in their situations — pleading to God to answer their prayers, give them justice in an increasingly wicked world, and provide them the peace and refuge despite what they face. This is the same as David describes the greatness and might of God in providing relief for His servant.

Verse 2 is a powerful verse because it describes accurately the human condition. Romans 3 also “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:9-12). No one can stand before the holy and worthy God. For God alone is perfect. And no man or woman would stand blameless in God’s perfect. 

Verse 10 is a great verse! We all need to pray to God in asking how to teach God’s will. God’s will is perfect and great! It gives us instruction in leading holy lives, how to follow God, and ultimately how to make decisions and be in the perfect will of God. David, the author of the psalm, struggled most likely with the will of God. He was promised with being king, but he needed to trust in the Lord in the perfect time of God. And we also need to trust in the Lord on the perfect time of God — asking God to teach us the way of the Lord, leaning to trust in him, and discovering the perfect will of God.

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