HONESTY BEFORE GOD
Lord, thank You for hearing our innermost pleadings.
Read PSALM 143
1 Lord, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10).
Psalm 143 is the last of the seven Penitential Psalms (Psa. 6,32,38,51,102,130,143), believed to have been David’s lamentations of repentance for his sins. Traditionally, these psalms were recited during Lent in recognizing our sinfulness, expressing our sorrow, and asking for God’s forgiveness. The honest pleading in these psalms is compelling, and it invites us to turn to our Lord when we are confronted with our struggles and our sins so that we may come to know God’s love and mercy once again.
In Psalm 143, evil enemies have pursued the psalmist, and he knows that he is powerless against them. He recalls God’s merciful dealings with Israel in the past and turns to God with these memories in mind, pleading for God’s mercy and compassion. The prayers of the psalmist are bold, reflecting his trust in the Lord. He pleads with God to answer him without delay and not to turn away from him: “Rescue me from my enemies” (9); “preserve my life… bring me out of trouble” (11); “silence my enemies; destroy all my foes” (12).
Yet the psalmist does not merely ask for protection and deliverance. He also asks for guidance and deliverance: “Show me the way I should go” (8); “teach me to do your will” (10); “may your good spirit lead me” (10). The psalmist is not content to be delivered from his enemies. He also seeks forgiveness. More importantly, he expresses a deep desire to follow the ways of the Lord. He serves as a model for us. We can turn to God amidst our deepest struggles and be honest with him, pleading with him to save us from our sins and resolving to follow him to the end.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Psa. 51:17). God will not turn away a repentant sinner.
Lord, lead me throughout this journey all the way to my ultimate heavenly destination.