Read Psalm 143
Can you believe we’ve come to the last week of our study in the Psalms? It seems like only yesterday we were picking apart Psalm 1, and understanding the overall intent of the Psalter. If you have reached this point in the study you should be proud of your accomplishment. Daily Bible study is not for the weak-willed or undisciplined. Even if you have taken weeks or months to arrive here, the fact that you are reading these words now means that you have persevered. Praise God.
For our final week of study, we are turning to the end of Psalter. This week, we are going to be looking at three psalms that proclaim the prayerful pattern we’ve traced throughout the book: supplication and submission.
And I want to say something about this theme before we step into our final week of exegetical work. You may have noticed that our theme is not a truth or reminder, but a practice. We’re not tracing the theme of God’s faithfulness (truth) or the reality that God is always with us (reminder), but a practice (supplication and submission). I’ll admit, at times it would have been easier to trace a truth or reminder throughout the book. Tracing a practice takes discipline and endurance, and it doesn’t feel quite as comfortable. But in the life of discipleship we are called to this hope-filled work – the process of being changed by the Spirit of God into His own likeness as we lean into the rigors of spiritual discipline He has given us in His Word.
Take a moment and consider your own life and spiritual walk over the course of this study. How have you grown? How have you been challenged? How has God taught or led or changed you?
The liturgy of supplication and submission is a glorious one. As we walk with the psalmists we’re reminded that we are able and eager to bring our earnest needs before God, and we also have the joy of submitting to who He is and trusting His faithfulness.
Today is no exception.
Read Psalm 143:1-2. Summarize David’s words in your own words.
Embedded in these verses is the truth of the Gospel. We’re going to look at it together, but take a moment and try to identify on your own the elements of the Gospel narrative in theses verses.
These verses are pressed from the lips of King David when he is distraught. First, we see his earnest request for mercy; in fact, he is pleading with God to show him mercy. He appeals to God’s faithfulness, which should not surprise us. God has been merciful to David in the past, and truly this is an unchanging part of His character. But David also appeals to God’s righteousness. It is as if David is saying, You have promised in your covenant to show me mercy. Be righteous and keep your covenant! Show me mercy!
Embedded in this request is the narrative of the Gospel. The reality that we cannot save ourselves and are in desperate need for mercy. But the truth for you and me is this: God has promised to send us a Savior, and He kept that promise in Christ. God has saved us in His faithfulness and in His righteousness – He has kept His promise.
Read Psalm 143:3-6. How do these verses mirror David’s words in verses 1 and 2?
Once again, we find the pattern of the Gospel on display in David’s prayer. David is being pressed on every side. In this particular instance, we don’t know what historic enemies might be just around the corner, but we know his life was enveloped in violence and fear and running from his enemies. David is faint from the fight, and his heart threatens to abandon him to despair. But then … David remembers the past. He looks back and remembers that God has been faithful to the nation of Israel in the past. He considers all the mighty and powerful acts that God has done. And, with this in mind, he stretches his hands out toward God, laying his thirsty soul out before the only One who can provide: Yahweh.
In what ways is your soul like a parched land?
What acts of God in your past can you recall to strengthen your faith in His faithfulness?
How might you stretch your hands out toward God today, trusting Him to meet your every need?
The word Selah is a Hebrew word that does not have an exact definition. But while scholars debate its inherent meaning, we all agree on its use. It is a simple, small word that the musical director would incorporate into worship songs to encourage the singers to pause and reflect, to stop and meditate.
Here, at the end of verse six, we find this little word. And it’s strategically placed because when we stretch ourselves out before God in faith we must pause. We must reflect. We must sit for a moment in silence as we wait on God to act. And we do so knowing this: God is with us in our waiting.
Pray & Reflect:
Supplication: Bring to God all the areas in your life in which you feel like a parched land. Are you hurting? Are you desperate? Are you weary? Talk to God about it.
Submission: Confess to God that He alone is your salvation. Open your hands before Him, and commit before Him to wait on Him to provide.