A Psalm of David
Hear my prayer
1: Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. 2: And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. 3: For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. 4: Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. 5: I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. 6: I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. 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. 8: Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness 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. 9: Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. 10: Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. 11: Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. 12: And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.
A Psalm of David
1: Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: 2: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. 3: LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! 4: Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. 5: Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. 6: Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them. 7: Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children; 8: Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 9: I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. 10: It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword. 11: Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: 12: That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: 13: That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: 14: That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. 15: Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
Today we are reading Psalm 143 & 144. Psalm 143 is a Psalm of David a hymn/prayer in the middle of trouble. David begins with prayer in the context of enemy action against him and ends with prayer in the presence of the judgment of God on his enemies. In between these concepts David remembers Gods providence of old and he stretches out his hands to God for his future. He begins saying, Hear my prayer O LORD. This opening statement reveals the simplicity, directness and frankness of his prayer. He says O LORD, listen to me and in your faithfulness answer me and do the right thing – i.e. deliver me. David asks the Lord not to judge him – to show him mercy, because he says, if you acted only in righteousness, then no man who ever know justification. Then David gets to the heart of his prayer, he says, because – my enemy has persecuted my life. He has struck me down to the ground. He had made me to live in the darkness, like those who have long been buried. This is why I am depressed and my mind is like a desert. But I remember the days of old when I spent time thinking about all the things that God had done. I lifted up my hands to you and my soul was thirsty for you, like a desert is thirsty for water. Think about that. Listen to me - quickly O LORD, because my spirit is failing – do not hide your face from me at this time, because if you do then I will be like a dead person being buried. Make me to hear your lovingkindness in the morning, because I am trusting in you and make me to know the path I should walk, because I offer myself to you. Save me from my enemies O LORD I am running to hide myself in you. Teach me how to do your will, says David, because you are my God. Your spirit is good so lead me into the land of uprightness. David’s life was focused on law keeping as a means of obtaining the blessing of God and in this context the blessing of God was the continuation of his mortal life. David is at the very brink of death, so he says, bring me back to life for your names sake. For the reputation of your righteousness, save my life out of trouble. And in mercy to me kill my enemies and destroy those who afflict my physical life because I am your servant. David pleads for his life because he has dedicated himself to the service of God. In a coming day men will plead for their lives based on their service. They will say we have preached in your name etc but the Lord will say I never knew you and why will he not know them? Because they do not live righteously according to law. He will say depart from me you that do wickedness. Psalm 144 is another song of David, a hymn of praise and thanksgiving. The song has two verses again both beginning with praise and worship and both repeating the words of foreigners which are vain and false. Then he ends with a beatitude that declares that the truly blessed people (Israel) are those whose God is the LORD Jehovah. In v1-7 David says that the Lord is blessed because he strengthens him in the battle. And the LORD teaches his hands and fingers how to fight. Then he continues to describe the LORD, he says he is my goodness, my fortress, my high tower, my rescuer, my shield and I am trusting in him who will quietens all those who are under me the king. He says, what is man that you take any notice of him or me, the son of man, that you take hold me responsible. Man’s life is pointless and his days fade away like a shadow when the sun sets. Then David calls on the Lord to come down from the heavens and touch the mountains so that they will burn. He says throw lightening at my enemies and scatters them. Bring down lighting bolts on them to destroy them. David says rid me of them and deliver me from the flood of men, from strangers who speak empty threats. They are full of trickery. Lord, says David, I will sing a new song of praises to you on the harp of ten strings. You are the one who delivers kings and delivers me your servant from the painful sword of his enemy. Rid me of them, so that our sons will be like plants growing up and that our daughters will be like corner stones – polished like a palace, so that our storehouses are full of everything. May our flocks give birth to ten thousand lambs and that our oxen will be strong to work the fields. And that there will be peace in the streets. Happy Israel will be because the LORD is their God. David has amply described the life of Israel under law. Peace from enemies, children, security, crops, flocks, cattle and all because Israel faithfully keeps the law. How very different from christians who are not under the law of Moses. They receive troubles and persecution but in it all forgiveness and grace abounding to the chief of sinners.