I love Psalm 143.
I like most of what David writes because he talks like I feel so much of the time.
I always feel a little silly saying that I relate to David’s writings. David had people hunting him down and I just have a lot on my to-do list. (First world problems, eh?)
I’m so thankful that God doesn’t make fun of me, though. He doesn’t make light of my pain. And He wrote down psalm 143 to minister to people who are in danger of death but He also wrote it down so that it would help people like me see what’s true in the moments when the temptation to feel overwhelmed is a little stronger than usual.
Here are two things I’m doing today because I see them modeled in this psalm:
1. Appealing to God’s character. David begs God to answer his cries for help by saying:
“In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!”
David sounds almost demanding which seems, in my opinion, like a dangerous way to talk to God. But there’s one critical thing to notice: he doesn’t demand because of his own ‘righteousness’, but God’s.
Here’s the difference.
- God! You should help me because I’ve followed you so faithfully!
- God! You should help me because you’re so faithful to your people.
One of these is unbelievably arrogant and also desperately out of line. One of them is a testimony of deep faith and belief in the greatness of God. The second prayer displays that you believe God is both powerful and good.
2. Remember God’s character. The problem for me is that I appeal to God’s character up until the moment when I start to doubt God’s character. And then when He doesn’t seem to be acting on my schedule in my timeline in the way that makes sense to me, I begin to think that maybe He’s not all that faithful.
I don’t know if David struggled with that, but I do know that he fortified his plea for help with a little self talk:
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
Last week was my tenth birthday. In August of 2002 I met my sweet sweet Jesus as I shared in my story last week.
There have been four or five moments since then when God has done ‘part-the-seas’ kind of miracles in my life to make sure that I don’t throw in the towel, to make sure that I stick with Him.
In the moments when I am pleading and God isn’t responding, I use those memories to remind me of what I know isn’t true.
It can’t be true that God isn’t acting the way I hope because He doesn’t care about me
It cant’ be true that God isn’t acting the way I hope because He isn’t strong enough.
It can’t be true that God isnt’ acting the way I hope because He isn’t willing to overcome my own will or the will of everyone around me to use even sin to bring His glory and my good.
I look on the evidence of the past ten years to remind myself that God has always proved faithful in my life. I look on the evidence of the generations recorded in the bible to remind myself that God never will forsake His people.
I look on the evidence of the Cross to remind myself that God doesn’t withhold good from His people. If He’s given me His very son, will He not also give me everything that is good for me?