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Psalm 143

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

A Psalm of David.


Hear my prayer, O L ord;

give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;

answer me in your righteousness.


Do not enter into judgment with your servant,

for no one living is righteous before you.



For the enemy has pursued me,

crushing my life to the ground,

making me sit in darkness like those long dead.


Therefore my spirit faints within me;

my heart within me is appalled.



I remember the days of old,

I think about all your deeds,

I meditate on the works of your hands.


I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah



Answer me quickly, O L ord;

my spirit fails.

Do not hide your face from me,

or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.


Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,

for in you I put my trust.

Teach me the way I should go,

for to you I lift up my soul.



Save me, O L ord, from my enemies;

I have fled to you for refuge.


Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God.

Let your good spirit lead me

on a level path.



For your name’s sake, O L ord, preserve my life.

In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.


In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,

and destroy all my adversaries,

for I am your servant.

4. And my spirit, etc. Hitherto he has spoken of the troubles that were without, now he acknowledges the feebleness of his spirits, from which it is evident that his strength, vas not like that of the rock, imperturbable or without feeling, but that, while overwhelmed with grief as to the feeling of the flesh, he owed his support entirely to faith and the grace of the Spirit,. We are taught by his example not to throw up the conflict in despair, however much we may be weakened, and even exanimated by afflictions, as God will enable us to surmount them, if we only rise to him with our hearts amidst all our anxieties.

In the next verse David mentions that he had diligently sought means whereby to mitigate his grief. It is not to be wondered at, that many who spontaneously give themselves up to inaction, should sink under their trials, not using means to invigorate themselves by calling to remembrance the grace of God. Sometimes, it is true, our trials are only more keenly felt when we recall the former kindness which God may have shown to us, the comparison tending to awaken our feelings, and render them more acute; but David proposed a different end than this to himself, and gathered confidence from the past mercies of God. The very best method in order to obtain relief in trouble, when we are about to faint under it, is to call to mind the former loving-kindness of the Lord. Nor does David mean such as he had experienced from childhood, as some have thought, adopting in my judgment too restricted a sense; for the word קדם, kedem, has a more extensive signification. I have no doubt, therefore, that he includes past history, as well as his own personal experience, it being easy to discover proofs there of God’s continued goodness to his people. We should ourselves learn by his example, in reflecting upon personal favors received from God, to remember also how often he has assisted those that served him, and improve the truth for our own benefit. Should this not immediately or at once abate the bitterness of our grief, yet the advantage of it will afterwards appear. In the passage before us, David complains that he did not get relief from his anxieties and cares from this consolatory source, but he prosecuted his meditations in expectation of finding the good result in due time. The verb שוה, suach, I have elsewhere observed, may mean either to declare with the tongue, or to revolve in the mind. Some accordingly read — “I have discoursed of thy works.” But as the verb הגה, hagah, means to meditate, I consider that the Psalmist repeats the same thing twice, and this in token of earnestness. We will often upon a slight exercise of the thoughts upon God’s works, start aside from them almost immediately; nor is it matter of surprise, that, in this case, there results no solid comfort. That our knowledge may be abiding we must call in the aid of constant attention.

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