David complains of his enemies and distresses. (1-6) He prays for comfort, guidance, and deliverance. (7-12)
Verses 1-6 We have no righteousness of our own to plead, therefore must plead God's righteousness, and the word of promise which he has freely given us, and caused us to hope in. David, before he prays for the removal of his trouble, prays for the pardon of his sin, and depends upon mercy alone for it. He bemoans the weight upon his mind from outward troubles. But he looks back, and remembers God's former appearance for his afflicted people, and for him in particular. 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. The believer will not forget, that in his best actions he is a sinner. Meditation and prayer will recover us from distresses; and then the mourning soul strives to return to the Lord as the infant stretches out its hands to the indulgent mother, and thirsts for his consolations as the parched ground for refreshing rain.
Verses 7-12 David prays that God would be well pleased with him, and let him know that he was so. He pleads the wretchedness of his case, if God withdrew from him. But the night of distress and discouragement shall end in a morning of consolation and praise. He prays that he might be enlightened with the knowledge of God's will; and this is the first work of the Spirit. A good man does not ask the way in which is the most pleasant walking, but what is the right way. Not only show me what thy will is, but teach me how to do it. Those who have the Lord for their God, have his Spirit for their Guide; they are led by the Spirit. He prays that he might be enlivened to do God's will. But we should especially seek the destruction of our sins, our worst enemies, that we may be devotedly God's servants.
Psalms 143:1-12 . In structure and style, like the preceding (Psalms 104-142), this Psalm is clearly evinced to be David's. It is a prayer for pardon, and for relief from enemies; afflictions, as usual, producing confession and penitence.
1. in thy faithfulness . . . and . . . righteousness--or, God's regard to the claims which He has permitted His people to make in His covenant.
2. enter . . . judgment--deal not in strict justice.
shall no . . . justified--or, "is no man justified," or "innocent" ( Job 14:3 , Romans 3:20 ).
3, 4. The exciting reason for his prayer--his afflictions--led to confession as just made: he now makes the complaint.
as those that have been long dead--deprived of life's comforts (compare Psalms 40:15 , 88:3-6 ).
5, 6. The distress is aggravated by the contrast of former comfort ( Psalms 22:3-5 ), for whose return he longs.
a thirsty land--which needs rain, as did his spirit God's gracious visits ( Psalms 28:1 , 89:17 ).
7. spirit faileth--is exhausted.
8. (Compare Psalms 25:1-4 , 59:16 ).
the way . . . walk--that is, the way of safety and righteousness ( Psalms 142:3-6 ).
9. (Compare Psalms 31:15-20 ).
10. (Compare Psalms 5:8 , 27:11 ).
land of uprightness--literally, "an even land" ( Psalms 26:12 ).
11. (Compare Psalms 23:3 , 119:156 ).
12. God's mercy to His people is often wrath to His and their enemies (compare Psalms 31:17 ).
thy servant--as chosen to be such, entitled to divine regard.