Psalm 143 "My Soul Thirsts for You" A Psalm of David
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! 2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. 3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. 4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. 5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. 6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. 7 Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. 8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! 11 For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! 12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.
As you read through this blog post, I suggest listening to this song (copy and paste the link below if you can listen and read at the same time; if that's too distracting, save it for afterwards)
There are so many gold nuggets in this Psalm I could hone in on, but there a few key themes from this Psalm which I particularly relate to, and wiser people have told me to play towards my strengths. Let's first focus in on the tone of this Psalm: David is desperate. David is tired of running from his enemies. He is weary of facing all of these challenges, and he doesn't know if he can do it anymore. Does that hit home with anyone else? Who besides me has looked at the mountain ahead of them and wondered if they could metaphorically climb it? Have you also sat in the middle of the night worn out from the struggles that just wouldn't leave you alone? Did anyone out there also plead with God to take something away or at least give them the strength to face what was coming the next day? I hope you can relate (or picture what this felt like). So where does David go with this desperation? What does he do? David knows the one Place that can sustain him, the very Source of strength. David was smart enough to be an undignified child in the arms of his Father, completely depending on Him for all his needs. (Maybe the more we mature as Christians, the more we look like kids). Out of this posture of desperation, he does something I am learning to do:
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. Psalm 143:5
David remembered. He looked back at all the other times God had come through for Him, and we can do the same. We can look back at our history with God and declare over ourselves, "He is faithful!" The truth is that God does not change; He stays the same. Steadfastness and faithfulness are aspects of God- He literally cannot not be Himself. (side note: if you feel unsure about times in your history with God that it seems like He let you down or that He wasn't faithful, I suggest taking that to Him in prayer. Ask Him, in a way to understand, not to accuse, "God, where were You when that happened? Can You help me to understand how You were showing up or who/what You sent to help me?") He has always been there with you, and He won't stop now. So pull up from your memory the times you absolutely knew God showed up for you. Dwell on the fact that He is still that same God. Take a minute to walk through the monumental experiences and the small, quiet moments with Him together. I love to imagine walking hand-in-hand with God down a long hallway with our relationship in picture frames on the walls, but it can be in whatever manner you want your reflection to be. But we don't just stay stuck on memory lane; we let it propel us forward:
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
It's like we're looking back to go forwards. When we have turned around to stare down the timeline of our history for the foundational understanding of how God has sustained us up until this point, we can pivot. We can grab God's faithful hand, and gaze into the unknown. I liked this quote I read recently, which actually helped inspire me to write about this Psalm:
"Grant us peace as we make important decisions. Some of us are facing career changes, church choices, economic challenges, and health issues. Free us from the foolish notion that there is only one right choice to make. Actually, there is only one right God to trust, and that is you. Lead us, as we lean on you, Father." -Scotty Smith
The future isn't quite as daunting when we both look at God's steadiness AND we know that His desires for our lives could not be "messed up" by the "wrong choice".
We are not that powerful. Take that pressure off to make the "right choice" about the future, because God will be with you wherever you go.
Grant me peace as I make important decisions. When I am facing a hard choice, free me from the foolish notion that there is only one right choice to make. Actually, there is only one right God to trust, and that is You. Lead me, as I lean on You, Father.
Author | Rachel Dow