Study Guide – Psalm 143

Psalm143
1 Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you.


Following David's lead, take a moment with God to confess your both your need for Him and your unworthiness before Him.

3 The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.


How is David's experience in verses 3-4 different to the experience he remembers in verses 5?

 

Explain why David thirst for God "like a parched land". In your opinion, is this an encouraging feeling or a gut-wrenching feeling? 

 

7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
    or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground.


In one column, list each of David's petitions to the Lord in verses 7-10. In another column, list his reason for each request/command.

 

Looking at verse 8, what suggests that this might be a sort of 'bed-time' prayer for David? What would make David share the depths of his heart with at the end of the day?

 

Considering that David feels that he can make such demands, what can we learn about God's characteristics?


11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
    destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant. NIV


David's final appeals invoke God's name. Why would this be an important way to end this prayer?

 

::::: Equipping Challenge :::::

One of the reasons the Psalms are an impressive collection has to do with their expressive range of human emotion and experience. The Psalms have some of the darkest, depressing songs in ancient literature next to some of the most soaring praises. David seems to express several extreme emotions and experiences in Psalm 143. We might regularly be this transparent with our friends or loved ones or even coworkers, but we can struggle to be this raw with God. Consider how lifting up your deepest feelings to God could enhance your relationship with the Lord.

If you are able, practice expressing the extremes of your own emotions and experiences to God today. Perhaps make a list, like David did above. Or perhaps just start sharing your heart. 

Related articles

Study Guide – Psalm 142
Study Guide – Psalm 138
Study Guide – Psalm 121
Study Guide – Psalm 101
Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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