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Read Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.

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.
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.
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.

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.

Go Deeper

When was the last time you felt thirsty? Maybe it was after a long workout. Maybe it was from spending a few too many hours in the sun. When we’re thirsty, almost nothing else seems to matter. Food doesn’t sound appetizing. Our minds are less sharp. Even sitting down to rest doesn’t sound relaxing until we’re able to quench our need for water. Thirst overtakes our desires and our focus.

In verse 6, David says, “… my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” The same word used for “thirsty” in this verse is translated as “weary” or “faint” throughout the Old Testament* (Blue Letter Bible). David knows his need for God to save him from judgment. He is desperate for God to come near and rescue him from his sinfulness. In his weakness, he turns again to the only One who can satisfy his thirst. He knows where to turn because he has seen God’s faithfulness before (Psalm 143:5). David’s thirst for God is recorded all throughout the Psalms. He knows what it is like to be thirsty, and he knows what it is like for God to satisfy him (Psalm 42:1, Psalm 63:1-5, Psalm 84:2).

Whether we recognize our need for God each day or not, it’s always there. It underlies every desire we have and every attempt to satisfy ourselves with anything other than Jesus. But in His faithfulness, that is exactly what He gives us – more of Himself. In John 4:14, Jesus says, “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” John 7:37 says, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Jesus tells us again and again that He will satisfy our thirst, and He has freely given us Himself.

Maybe our thirst is God’s call to our hearts, reminding us of our need for God and drawing us into His presence. When we are thirsty and feel the weight of our weakness, let it bring us back to Him. When we are filled to overflowing, let us pour out praise to Him. In all situations, let us turn to God and let Him be glorified through us.

*H5889 – ʿāyēp̄ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (kjv).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 28 September 2021.


  1.   In what areas of your life do you recognize your weakness and need for God?
  2.   How have you seen God strengthen and fill you?
  3.   How can you create space to draw near to God today?

Did You Know?

Psalm 143 is known as one of the seven Penitential Psalms. These are psalms that express sorrow and repentance over one’s sinfulness. Psalm 143:2 acknowledges that everyone is guilty of sin, and the entire psalm acknowledges our desperate need for God’s forgiveness. You can learn more about Penitential Psalms here

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2 thoughts on “Psalm 143”

  1. David pleads his cause in prayer to Yahweh, a name meaning “He is”. David knows God is faithful to his promises and believes He is ever present to save, help, deliver, redeem, bless and keep His covenant. What David asks is for God to personally reveal himself with a mighty act that leaves no doubt of His authority. Today I’m reminded of Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.” We have a compassionate, perfect High Priest who is gracious and merciful to the needy, one who intently listens to our cries and draws us close. He alone is our Help & Hope!

  2. Our family is in one of those seasons in which we live with a number of uncertainties. Like David, I like to look back and “remember the days of long ago,” and meditate on God’s faithful and oft miraculous provision over the years. In those moments, I can confidently declare with David, “surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,” (Psalm 23:6).

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