Psalm 143 #143:0 Bible students think that David wrote verses 1-6 of this psalm. A later writer put verses 7-12 after what David wrote. Verses 7-12 all come from other psalms. The later writer maybe did this to make the psalm better. David wrote his part of the psalm when he had trouble. Maybe this was when his son Absalom tried to kill David. The story is in 1 Samuel chapters 15-19.
God is My only Hope
This is a psalm of David.
1 LORD, hear my prayer.
Listen to me when I ask you for help.
Answer me, because you are a loving and fair God. #143:1 Verse 1: ‘LORD’ is a special name for God. It is his covenant name. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agrees to love and give help to his people. They agree to love and obey him. You say a prayer when you speak to God.
2Do not judge me your servant,
because nobody alive on earth is righteous. #143:2 Verse 2: ‘Judge’ means ‘say whether someone is right or wrong.’ ‘Righteous’ means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is really righteous.
3An enemy is following me.
He is trying to kill me.
He wants to put me in a dark place,
like people who have been dead for a long time. #143:3 Verse 3: The dark place was Sheol. Jews believed that they went to Sheol when they died. There was no light there.
4My spirit inside me is becoming weak.
My heart inside me has no hope. #143:4 Verse 4: Our spirit is the part of us that lives after our body dies. The Jews believed that you thought with your heart.
5I remember what happened many years ago.
I think about all that you did.
Also, I see in my mind all that your hands have done. #143:5 Verse 5: Many Bible students think that: – ‘All that you did’ means what God did for his people; – ‘All that your hands have done’ means what God made, like the earth, the stars and the sun.
6I raise my hands to you.
I want you as badly as dry ground wants rain.
SELAH #143:6 Verse 6: People raised their hands to God when they prayed to him. Many Christians still do this. Bible students are not sure what ‘selah’ means. Maybe it means ‘stop and think’; or ‘stop and pray’; or ‘a place for music.’
7Answer me soon, Lord. I am losing hope.
Do not hide your face from me.
If you do I will be as those people that go down into the Pit. #143:7 Verse 7: ‘Hide your face’ means ‘look the other way.’ If God looked away, he would not see (or answer) people's prayers. The Pit was the worst part of Sheol. It was a hole. If you went into that hole, you never came out again!
8I want to hear news of your kind love in the morning.
This is because I am trusting in you.
Show me what I should do.
Show me because I have asked you to show me. #143:8 Verse 8: ‘Trusting’ means ‘believing in and hoping.’ The psalmist (the person who wrote the psalm) believed in God. And they hoped that God would send help.
9Lord, make me free from my enemies,
because I am hiding in you. #143:9 Verse 9: ‘Hiding in you’ means ‘trusting that you will do something.’
10Teach me what you want me to do.
Teach me because you are my God.
Your spirit is good.
It will lead me to ground that is flat. #143:10 Verse 10: ‘Your spirit’ is another name for God. In the New Testament it became the Holy Spirit. The ‘ground that is flat’ means a place where it is easy to walk. It is like a picture of an easy life. The psalmist hopes that God will lead him to an easier life.
11Save my life, Lord, because of your great name.
Bring me out of trouble, because you are righteous. #143:11 Verse 11: ‘Because you are righteous’ may mean ‘because you do what is right and good.’ It is not quite the same as ‘very, very good.’
12Because you love me, kill my enemies.
And destroy the people that fight against me.
Do this because I am your servant.