Observe David cries out for mercy. The enemies of his life have drained him, beaten him down, crushed him, and he reveals his inner turmoil: Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart withing me is appalled. (4)
He recalls earlier days and thinks deeply on them, when his God was close to him – or, he, man after God’s own heart, was close to God. Now, in a distant echo of Psalm 63:1 he cries out, My soul thirsts for you like a parched land (6b), David stretches out his hands in supplication borne of great weakness. Yet, as always, he finds his refuge in the Lord, whom he implores, cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant (12). And that is the crux.
Interpret This is the last of the seven Penitential Psalms of David.
No one living is righteous before You. (2) Not even David, the best of the kings of Israel. We are recalled to this in Romans 3:10-18, and yet we see that David, recognizing his own human weakness, thirsts for God. This thirst is like a gift, leading to living water, to God’s righteousness.
Enemies around him, troubled soul within, David is truly suffering. The cruelty and injustice of man is the backdrop of this pleading psalm. And yet, the love of his God constantly sustains him even in his grief and grievances.
Apply Difficulties can threaten to drag us down or make us want to run. When we cling to the fact that God is very much in charge, that He has always known, that He waits for the moment He’s ordained to bring all things to a blessed close, we are able to weather anything from minor irritants to major tragedies. It doesn’t mean instant wisdom or an easing out, or that we’ll be smiling as we pick our way through the fog of suffering and trial, but sudden surprise-showers of grace and peace clear the way.
Whether we have a God-shaped empty space deep within us, or a parched-land thirst, or a vague sense of distress, He may allow this to happen, so we are driven to seek more than temporary relief in distractions that gum up our minds and vision. As with David in these seven Psalms, we seek Him, because He is the only one who can fill that ordained space, quench that thirst, deal with our sins, and relieve the unease.
In seeking Him, we find Him. Our weedy cow path detours merge with His defined narrow way, and we walk in company with His saints – past, present, future – to complete our journey with Jesus to the end that is a beginning.
Ask Holy Lord, will you fill the emptiness within me and quench this thirst? Then, will you help me discern Your will? Where is your level path, Lord? Please show me….
Pray Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Lord God, I am Your servant. Let me be content to serve You and those You put into my life, for I am Yours. Let me put aside all that blinds me to the wonderful outworking of Your plan, to see that Your Kingdom is indeed come, and I live in it!
Sing Ps 143
Sherri Youngward - Your Unfailing Love Ps 143:8-10
Shane and Shane - Revive Me
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.