“A psalm of David.”
Psalms 143:1. Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
It is a theory held by some persons of sceptical minds that the only benefit of prayer is the good it does to us. That was not David’s theory. Here, three times, he begs to be heard, and to be answered. Oh! do they think us such idiots that we would go on speaking in a keyhole with nobody to hear us? Do they think us brought so low — so destitute of wit — that we think it worth our while to speak out what is in our heart if God does not hear and does not answer? I reckon prayer to be the most idiotic of all occupations unless there be really a God to hear, and a God to answer. And the benefit of prayer is not in itself so much as in the full confidence that it is a real thing, and an effective thing — that God does hear and does interpose on our behalf.
Psalms 143:2. And enter not into judgment with thy servant:
“Thy servant I am. I am not one of the ungodly, whom thou wilt judge and cast away, but still even thy servant though I am, enter not into judgment with me. I know thou wilt not judge me now as a rebel, and condemn me, for thou hast put away my sin, but even as thy servant I fear thy chastising rod, if thou enter into judgment with me.”
Psalms 143:2. For in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
I have heard some living that think they would. They have said that the very root and branch of sin have been cut up in them, and that they walk in the fear of God perfectly well, but times must have changed very wonderfully. Ah! but I think they have not, but that these are mistaken, for still it is very true concerning the very best of men that they have need to pray, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”
Psalms 143:3-4 For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
Children of God, do not expect to be always happy, or else you will be disappointed. You will have more troubles, if nobody else does. Depend upon it, that adversity is one of the covenant promises. “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” is your Master’s own word to you, and you must not expect to find it untrue. You will find it true to the letter. And sometimes the troubles of life will penetrate even to your heart, and make you feel desolate. When you are so, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial as though yours were a new path in which nobody ever walked before you. Ah! no; David was there. Many others have been there.
Psalms 143:5-6. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
As a child puts out its hand to its mother, so did he stretch out his hands to his God. As a thirsty land chaps — becomes dry — turns to dust in its longing after rain, so did his whole being thirst for his God.
Psalms 143:7. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
“Lest I swoon away — lest I die — lest my hope should utterly expire. Come, Lord: come, Lord, and rescue me.”
Psalms 143:8. Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
Very heavy, but I lift it up. With all my might, as though it were a dead lift, I seek to raise it out of its doubt, and out of its sorrow.
Psalms 143:9-10. Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thy art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Or “lead me in a straight path.” So it is rendered by the best scholars.
Psalms 143:11. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake:
Felt as if he should die, and, therefore, he says, “Quicken me: put new life into me.” To whom should we go for life, but to the living God, and who can communicate with us, but the same God who first made us live in his name.
Psalms 143:11-12. For thy righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.