A sinners prayer
√ A sinners prayer
This psalm is attributed to King David’s pen, it is the last of what we call the…
…as it has a apologetic tone.
That is, David comes to the Lord with a sense of remorse for some sin that he has committed and is seeking to be made right with God.
Additionally, we find that once again he’s in trouble and is seeking the Lord’s deliverance from those who are out to kill him.
√ Historical setting
The historical setting is unknown, so we can’t be dogmatic regarding the circumstance that led to the inspiration for this psalm.
Some have suggested that it may have been penned while David was fleeing from Absalom because he speaks of “enemies”, plural instead of an “enemy” singular.
Additionally we find that David senses that he is being attacked as the consequence of some sin in his life.
While we can’t be sure, for the sake of our instruction we’ll look at this psalm in view of Absalom’s rebellion.
Ap. God hears us even when we’ve sinned
The encouragement that we can find in this psalm is that God heard, and responded to David’s prayer for deliverance…
…even though he was suffering the consequence of his own sin!
Often times Christians feel like they can’t ask God for help when they know (of at least believe) they are suffering as a result of their own sin.
But, what David reveals is that we can be thankful that God still hears our prayers and will answer them because of His faithfulness to those who love Him!
David’s Appeal (Vs. 1-4)
Psa. 143:1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness.
Psa. 143:2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous.
Psa. 143:3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead.
Psa. 143:4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed.
√ David’s Appeal
David opens this psalm with an appeal to God that He would hear his prayer!
Note that his appeal is based not on his own righteousness, nor even on God’s mercy!
Rather, he appeals to God on the basis of God’s (vs. 1)…
Faithfulness to David (to keep His promises to David)
Righteousness (to do what is right in spite of David’s sin)
The point is that David understood that God is under no obligation to hear or help him based on his own righteousness…
…because he wasn’t righteous! Rather, David realized that he deserved God’s judgment.
Note vs. 2
“Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous.”
So, David appeals to the Lord for deliverance on the basis of God’s righteousness and faithfulness.
Ex. David’s troubles
Vs. 2 gives some credence to the idea that David penned these words while running from Absalom's murderous plans.
Remember that Nathan had said that…
While David’s sins were forgiven…
…that he would suffer the consequence of those sins for the rest of his life!
“Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”
2 Sam. 12:10
So, David is in a very dangerous situation, worse even that when he fled from king Saul!
He had the hearts of the people who thought of him as a hero! He killed Goliath and was marvelously successful in his battles with the Philistines.
He was unjustly attacked by Saul.
He had a clear conscience.
Absalom had stolen the hearts of the people who now perceived David as unjust and unfit to be king.
Suffering the just consequence of his sin.
Bad conscience because he knew he had failed God.
So, the threat against David’s life was much greater now than when Saul hunted him.
Ap. Our appeal
Have you ever felt like God wasn’t hearing your prayers, and you didn’t blame Him if He wasn’t listening because you had sinned!
The great, awesome, news is that God does hear your prayers and He will answer because He is faithful to keep His end of the deal He made with you when you got saved.
Paul writes that…
2Tim. 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Phil. 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
So, just as David found God to be faithful to keep His end of the relationship, and righteous to do what was right in David’s life…
…we can be confident that God will hear our prayers (appeals) even when we’ve failed because He desires that we gain victory over sin!
David’s Attention (Vs. 5-6)
Psa. 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands.
Psa. 143:6 I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah
√ David’s Attention
So, David’s in trouble and near as we can tell he’s in trouble as the result of his own sin! So, what does he do…
…he changes the focus of his attention from himself and his situation to the Lord and His character.
Remembers God’s faithfulness
Rehearses God’s goodness
Raises his hands to God for help
Remembers God’s faithfulness (vs. 5)…
The first step to getting his attention off of his present crisis was to call to mind what God had done for him…
God who is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8) is still able save David now just as He had so many times before.
Rehearses God’s goodness (vs. 5)…
David says that he “mused” on the works of God’s hands.
The word “muse” means…
“To ponder, i.e. (by implication) talk (with oneself, and hence, aloud)”
So we find that David did more than just remember all that God had done for him…
…he speaks it out loud, to himself!
Normally we wonder about people who talk to themselves! But, sometimes the sane thing to do when you’re all by yourself and in great trouble is preach yourself a sermon!
Maybe David spoke to himself of how God delivered him from the lion and the bear, how he boasted of God’s care to Saul…
Maybe he rehearsed aloud the words that he spoke to Goliath just before God delivered him with that awesome shot…
Whatever he said the idea was to get his attention off of himself and onto the hands of God who had saved him so many times before!
Raises his hands to God for help (vs. 6)…
When we raise our hands to God we often think of it a gesture of surrender, surrender to God and His will for our lives.
It can also be a expression of dependence, an acknowledgment that God alone can rescue us from our troubles.
Think of a frightened child, even when they’ve got themselves into a bad situation…
…they instinctively raise their hands to their parents so that they might be lifted out of harms way.
So, David we find David, remembering God’s faithfulness, rehearsing God’s goodness, and raising his hands to God who alone can save him from the consequence of his own sin.
Ap. Get your attention off of yourself
The absolute worst thing that we can do is to focus our attention on ourselves…
…especially when we’re in difficult times!
We’ll either think too highly of ourselves, not being honest about our sin and thereby blaming everyone else for our trouble – no thought for God’s holiness.
Or, think too poorly of ourselves, and never apprehend God’s Grace that lifts us from depression – no thought for God’s love.
The solution is to focus our attention upon God and let Him deal with both our sins and are enemies.
Remember, God has given us the privilege to call Him “daddy”, so it’s okay to raise your hands to Him so that He can rescue you!
David’s Aspirations (Vs. 7-12)
Psa. 143:7 Answer me speedily, O LORD; my spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Psa. 143:8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.
Psa. 143:9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; in You I take shelter.
Psa. 143:10 Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.
Psa. 143:11 Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
Psa. 143:12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant.
√ David’ Aspirations
In this last movement of David’s song he lists his aspirations…
…the things he wants God to do in his life!
David asks God to…
Discern him (vs. 7)…
In verse 7 we find David’s aspiration to be that God would discern him, that is, know him and not reject him as He had done with Saul when he had sinned.
Remember that after God rejected Saul that the king has sought to hear from the Lord…
…but God wasn’t talking.
David’s sin was arguably more serious than Saul’s, now that David was being attacked (as Saul was by the Philistines)…
…David wants to hear from God so that he knows what to do!
Direct him (vs. 8-10)
David needed to know God’s way, to stay in Jerusalem and face Absalom, or flee to the wilderness?
To know what to do with those who gathered to his side; Ittai and his warriors, Zadok the priest, and Hushai his friend and counselor.
David sent Ittai to the front lines to fight, Zadok to the Tabernacle to pray, and Hushai to the palace to counter the counsel of Ahithophel.
In each case David made the right choice!
Deliver him (vs. 11-12)
David last aspiration is that God would deliver him from his enemies!
Note that once again David does not appeal to God on the basis of his own righteousness…
…rather he appeals to God on the basis of God’s character!
This time he appeals to the honor of God’s Name!
“Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake!” ~ vs. 11
Literally David is asking the Lord to keep him alive!
He knew by now that Ahithophel had counseled Absalom to move quickly to kill David.
While David had sent Hushai back to counter that advise he knew that should Absalom follow Ahithophel’s advise that he probably wouldn’t survive.
So, he asks the Lord to grant him life by giving him discernment, directing his way, and through deliverance from his enemies.
√ His Name’s Sake
It’s interesting that David had the confidence to appeal to God on the basis of His Name, that is…
…he asks God to deliver him from the consequence of his sin based upon the honor of God’s Name.
I think that David must have known that God would act to protect His Name because as vile as David’s sins were…
…Absalom was a man who did not honor God at all and who wasn’t interested in caring for God’s people.
Therefore, David was sure that God would prefer to have him on the throne instead of Absalom.
Ap. His Name’s Sake
When I travel to places that are potentially dangerous I will often ask God to protect me (and those with me) from the evil plans of those who honor another god.
Ex. Nigeria and Israel
√ A sinners prayer
Thank God that we have the life story of David recorded in scripture!
His great victories
His embarrassing sins
And that the testimony of God is that He loved David anyway and that He heard David’ prayers and cared for David all his life.
Christian, God loves you and is listening to your every prayer…
…even when you’ve sinned.
He’s waiting for you to come to Him so that He can rescue and restore you as He did for David.