Psalm 143

A Psalm by David.
1 Hear my prayer, LORD. Listen to my petitions. In your faithfulness and righteousness, relieve me. 2 Don’t enter into judgement with your servant, for in your sight no man living is righteous. 3 For the enemy pursues my soul. He has struck my life down to the ground. He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead. 4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me. My heart within me is desolate. 5 I remember the days of old. I meditate on all your doings. I contemplate the work of your hands. 6 I spread out my hands to you. My soul thirsts for you, like a parched land. Selah. 7 Hurry to answer me, LORD. My spirit fails. Don’t hide your face from me, so that I don’t become like those who go down into the pit. 8 Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning, for I trust in you. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to you. 9 Deliver me, LORD, from my enemies. I flee to you to hide me. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. 11 Revive me, LORD, for your name’s sake. In your righteousness, bring my soul out of trouble. 12 In your loving kindness, cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul, for I am your servant.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–6

We have no righteousness of our own to plead, therefore must plead God’s righteousness, and the word of promise which he has freely given us, and caused us to hope in. David, before he prays for the removal of his trouble, prays for the pardon of his sin, and depends upon mercy alone for it. He bemoans the weight upon his mind from outward troubles. But he looks back, and remembers God’s former appearance for his afflicted people, and for him in particular. He looks round, and notices the works of God. The more we consider the power of God, the less we shall fear the face or force of man. He looks up with earnest desires towards God and his favour. This is the best course we can take, when our spirits are overwhelmed. The believer will not forget, that in his best actions he is a sinner. Meditation and prayer will recover us from distresses; and then the mourning soul strives to return to the Lord as the infant stretches out its hands to the indulgent mother, and thirsts for his consolations as the parched ground for refreshing rain.

Verses 7–12

David prays that God would be well pleased with him, and let him know that he was so. He pleads the wretchedness of his case, if God withdrew from him. But the night of distress and discouragement shall end in a morning of consolation and praise. He prays that he might be enlightened with the knowledge of God’s will; and this is the first work of the Spirit. A good man does not ask the way in which is the most pleasant walking, but what is the right way. Not only show me what thy will is, but teach me how to do it. Those who have the Lord for their God, have his Spirit for their Guide; they are led by the Spirit. He prays that he might be enlivened to do God’s will. But we should especially seek the destruction of our sins, our worst enemies, that we may be devotedly God’s servants.

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