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God's Rescue Plan - Psalm 143

God's Rescue Plan - Psalm 143

Thursday, 27 August 2015  | Narelle - MECS Principal
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
    give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
    answer me in your righteousness.

2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
    for no one living is righteous before you.

3 For the enemy has pursued me,
    crushing my life to the ground,
    making me sit in darkness like those long dead.

4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old,
    I think about all your deeds,
    I meditate on the works of your hands.

6 I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord;
    my spirit fails.

Do not hide your face from me,
    or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.

8 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.

9 Save me, O Lord, from my enemies;
    I have fled to you for refuge.

10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
    on a level path.

11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life.
    In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.

12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
    and destroy all my adversaries,
    for I am your servant.

There is much to learn from David in this Psalm when things are not going well, when we feel like we are ‘sitting in darkness’ and our spirit is faint.

Firstly, even in his despair, David remembers God’s faithfulness in the past. Verse 5 reminds us of the importance of remembering God’s good deeds and meditating on the work of God’s hands. One commentator on this verse writes, “He looks round, and notices the works of God. The more we consider the power of God, the less we shall fear the face or force of man. He looks up with earnest desires towards God and his favour. This is the best course we can take, when our spirits are overwhelmed.”

At times I have felt overwhelmed. I have felt paralysed by fear; what does the future look like, what will people think; what should I do right now; why has this happened to me? In these moments, we sometimes expect God to act like a magician. Surely God can fix this …right now! And yet the invitation of this Psalm is to pause, take a breath and remember His faithfulness and goodness in the past. I am lucky that I am able to look back on my life and see God’s goodness. The most poignant and cherished reminder of God’s goodness is my teenage bible. In the early years of my faith, I see a bible that is covered in notes and prayers, verses highlighted and underscored, evidence of a growing faith and dependency on God. As life has got more complicated, I look back fondly on my teenage self. I am reminded of a faithful God and a willing servant. This gives me great encouragement for the present challenge.

Secondly, David’s Psalm shows us that after having our perspective re-orientated towards the faithfulness and goodness of God, we are able to have an open and teachable heart. “Teach me the way I should go,” says David. Thankfully, we have a God that not only shows us the way, but also teaches us how to do it. For those of us who believe in God, we also have his Spirit as our Guide; we are led by the Spirit. What an amazing truth!

Once again, I can testify to this in my own life. God has used the difficulties and challenges of life to teach me many things; about myself and others. Being open to the way God would have me go has provided me with great opportunities, but they have only come as I have surrendered and submitted to God. This doesn’t mean I have been led away from other things I would’ve liked to have done, but it does mean being willing to serve God, rather than serve my own desires and aspirations. I certainly have been led by His Spirit.

The Psalmist finishes with this same conclusion. We are in a position to once again stand before God and say, “I am your servant.”

This Psalm outlines an important spiritual discipline. Sometimes we wait too long for God to rescue us from our difficulties and challenges. We perhaps wallow too deeply in despair. Whilst I don’t want to minimise these difficulties and challenges, there is something to be gained from David’s example.

As we remind ourselves of God’s goodness and faithfulness in the past, we begin once again to trust him with our future. As we rely on His Spirit to show us the way, we can once again find ourselves in right relationship with God as His willing servant. Perhaps then, we might just find ourselves sitting in darkness no more, but rather on a level path, in the light of His goodness and grace.
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