“Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness.” Psalm 143:1
David the shepherd boy turned giant-slayer teaches us a thing or two about what to do when we are in a pickle. Left to our own devices, we groan and grumble before figuring out the best tactic to pluck ourselves out of the mess.
David does it differently. His psalms are entries into his scribbled journal notes that reveal his response to enemies breathing down his neck and challenging him in Goliath-like fashion. He leaves us a trail of tears we identify with: “For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled” (Psalm 143:3-4).
The worn-out warrior makes a direct dart for the Almighty, and God leaves us a record of his reactions as a blueprint to follow. When nothing makes a drop of sense, our first line of defense is to throw ourselves at the mercy of God. “Give ear to my pleas for mercy,” David cried out; we join him and beg for mercy, too.
David ran toward the Lord for deliverance when he was hounded and harassed. Should we do any less with the colleague who belittles us in the conference room, the spouse who uses her tongue like a weapon bent on destruction, or the boss who makes molehills into mountain-sized dilemmas on a daily basis?
It is comforting to realize that David made his appeals based on God’s faithfulness and righteousness and not on his own merits. David neither deserved nor earned God’s favor. We don’t either. Like children running to the arms of a protective father, like subjects dependent on the benevolence of a sovereign king, we approach our Lord and pray, “For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!”
Elizabeth A. Mitchell