PSALM 143 TALK:   THE HOPE OF FAITH

PSALM 143 TALK:   THE HOPE OF FAITH

 (This is the sixth Psalm of a collection of eight Psalms attributed to King David in the fifth and final book of Psalms. This Psalm features the idea of how faith in God brings us hope in what might seem hopeless situations.)

(THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

INTRODUCTION

Why do people commit suicide?

In my research on the net on this subject I found a key issue that might give us at least a general answer to this question and that is the concept of hope or in the case of a person committing suicide the loss of hope.

An article in the “Irish Times’ in 2004 put it this way,

“Hope is the key factor in the research into suicide it has been identified as critical in determining how we negotiate suffering. If people believe that their suffering will end, or that some possibility of rescue is likely, they can endure incredible discomfort”.

 A lady who simply calls herself Becky made a post on an internet page called “Our Side of Suicide” in January 2015 and made this telling statement about her father’s suicide and how lack of hope helped to cause it,

“The other day, I heard a survivor say their loved one “died from a loss of hope.” This is such a simple, beautifully-articulated statement. How have I not used this myself before?

As I read and studied Psalm 143 I realised three things:

  1. David indicates throughout this Psalm that he faced what seemed a hopeless situation like verse 3,

“My enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead”.

  1. David seems to have found hope through his faith in God, as we read in verse 8,

“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”. 

  1. David in the midst of his hopeless situation longed to learn and do what God wanted him to learn and do like vs. 8b

“Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life”

 and vs. 10b

Teach me your will, for you are my God”

 In this Psalm talk I will not suggest that prayer is some kind of miraculous tool to make God take our problems and difficulties away from us but real faith in the God of the bible gives us real hope to cope as David reveals in verse 5 and 6,

“I remember the days of long ago; I mediate 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”.

 Real faith in the God of the bible gives us real hope in the face of what might seem to us a hopeless situation.

This hope of faith is like what the writer to the Hebrews speaks of in Hebrews 6: 19 – 20a,

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf”.

 When did David write Psalm 143?

This unfortunately the answer to this question is not clear and it was in either in his early life while on the run from king Saul or in his later life when on the run from his rebellious son Absalom. H.C. Leopold makes an interesting point about how many Psalms are not clear about when they were written when he says that many of the Psalms where written in,

“A sort of generalization so as to make the Psalm usable by people in all manner of similar situations”.

 With the general theme of “The Hope of Faith” in mind my outline for this Psalm is:

  1. (1 – 2)  FAITH DESIRES HOPE
  1. (vs. 1)  A cry for hope based on faith
  2. (vs. 2)  Without God’s love there is no hope

      2     (3 – 6)  FAITH INSPIRES HOPE

  1. (3 – 4)  Faith in the face of hopelessness
  2. (5 – 6)  Faith in God’s word inspires hope

      3     (7 – 10)  THE HOPE OF FAITH

  1. (7 – 8)  The faith and hope connection
  2. (9 – 10) The results of the hope of faith

      4     (11 – 12) FAITH LEADS TO A LIFE OF HOPE

  1. (vs.11)   Faith leading to hope
  2. (11 – 12) Faith in God’s love will give us victory

 With the concept of the hope of faith in mind as seen in the outline above lets then have a close look at this amazing Psalm of David.

  1.   (1 – 2)   FAITH DESIRES HOPE
  1. (vs. 1) A cry for hope based on faith

 We have been looking at a number of Psalms in this series of eight final Psalms of David that are set in very difficult times in his life. Probably in a time when David, at the time of writing it felt humanly speaking that he faced a total hopeless situation.

This can be seen in David’s two opening verses of this psalm when he is crying out to God but even verse one is what I call a desperate cry to God based on his faith in God as David writes,

“Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief”.

 Firstly, this first verse indicates this is not the first time he has prayed to God for what he calls relief and we can see similar wording to this verse in two recent Psalms probably written in the context of similar difficult times, Psalm 140: 6,

“I say to the Lord, ‘You are my God”. Hear, Lord my cry for mercy”

 And Psalm 141: 1,

“I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you”.

 David does not present in this Psalm that prayer is some magical set of words that always get an immediate response from God when uttered. No in fact the prayers of David in the book of Psalms are simply David calling out to God in faith for help and could represent days or even weeks of David pleading with God for help and assistance but he always even in his most desperate moments reveals faith in God in his prayers that leads to hope.

Many years ago, when I worked for an overseas mission organisation on their home staff we started each morning with staff prayers. One morning one of the older secretaries who I worked with spoke of on- gong health issues that caused her and her family much pain and anxiety. The Lord inspired me to refer to the words of Paul in Philippians 4: 6,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.

 I told her I believe that Paul is saying to us to turn our worries or anxieties into prayer and then I quoted her Paul’s next verse, verse 7,

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

 The secretary immediately thanked me for my insights and said she would now not only pray for healing in her family members but also commit to God the anxiety she felt while going through her time of trial and difficulty.

I learnt just as much from my advice as the secretary as I started to turn my worries and anxieties into prayers from that day on and even though I sometimes forget to do this from I have generally found God’s peace and hope in the many times I have faced difficulties in my life.

This is the hope of faith in action and even in David’s opening verse of Psalm 143 when he is crying out to God for relief he does so in the context of faith as he writes,

“Listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief”.

 David speaks of three unique characteristics of the God of the bible here as the basis of his faith and hope,

  1. Mercy
  2. Faithfulness
  3. Righteousness

Other religious faith practice prayers of some kind and the Jewish / Christian faiths are not unique in that but what is unique to a faith based in the bible is the character of the God we are praying to and these three characteristics of the God of the bible that David believed in are unique to bible believing Jews and Christians.

Let me explain:

  1. Mercy

The word mercy means what the New Testament calls grace which is love given to someone who does not deserve it. David knew this kind of love from God and spoke of it on many occasions but the supreme example of it is when he confessed to God the sins of adultery and murder and then wrote Psalm 51 where he cries out to God for forgiveness.

On what grounds does he ask God for forgiveness for adultery and murder?

Let me quote David’s answer to this all- important question:

Psalm 51: 1

“Have mercy on me, O God,according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

 Even though the Old Testament, the basis of the Jewish faith does present a God of love and mercy (love we don’t deserve) it is only in the New Testament that we learn of how the forgiveness of God is possible and Paul explains clearly how God’s gift of grace, his total forgiveness is made possible in Ephesians 1: 6 – 7,

“To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s” 

  1. Faithfulness

Faithfulness and indeed even mercy or love we don’t deserve comes right out of the covenant God made with his people Israel through Moses that David had faith in and which obviously gave him hope as we read in Exodus 34: 6 – 7a,

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin”.

God does not promise one day to do something and then change his mind the next day not to do it as God is faithful and what he says he will do he does as we read so clearly stated in Deuteronomy 7: 9,

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments”.

 And even clearer in Lamentations 3: 22 – 23,

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;great is your faithfulness”.

 Finally, in the New Testament Paul boldly speaks of the faithfulness of God to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2: 11 – 13,

 Here is a trustworthy saying:If we died with him,we will also live with him;

12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.If we disown him,he will also disown us;

13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”.

 So, we can trust in God and his promises of love and protection for our lives and this, like it was for David is the hope of faith.

  1. Righteousness

God being righteous means that he again can be relied upon as righteousness implies holiness or the total pure and never changing rightness of God and his actions but as Albert Barnes points out,

“We, though sinners before God, may feel that our cause is a just one as toward our fellowmen, and, when wronged, we may ask God to interpose, as a righteous God, in our behalf. We cannot, however, ask him to save us on the ground of our righteousness toward him, for we have no such righteousness”.

 This is why we needed the coming of Jesus Christ, God’s perfect Son who offered his life in death on the cross so that we might receive the righteousness of God as a gift as Paul speaks of in Romans 1: 17,

17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

 So, this cry of David to God might have been a desperate prayer and was prayed in the context of what seemed like a hopeless situation but it was prayed on the basis of faith in the God of the bible and this brought to David great hope.

  1. (vs. 2)  Without God’s love there is no hope

 David then in verse 2 makes a clear statement that his standing before God is as a sinner which is the situation we all face in the judgment to come, David writes,

“Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you”.

 David is saying that before God in judgment he could not rely on his own righteousness as he had none. Therefore, he could only rely on the mercy and faithfulness of God that he believed God had given him.

So, if our hope of going to heaven is based on our own righteousness or good deeds then we have nothing but a false hope as Paul makes it clear in Romans 3: 23,

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

I like the evangelistic question you can ask another person,

“If you died tonight and stood before God what would you say to let him to convince him he should let you into his heaven?

 Our answer to this question reveals where our real faith in God lies for if we say I lived a better life than most or something like that then Pauls words of Romans 3: 23 would come down on us,

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

What then is the correct biblical answer to this all- important question?

Paul gives us the answer to this question in the next three verses

“And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus”.

 So, David’s faith and the hope it brought him was based on the love and mercy of God and not his own righteousness and so should ours if we want to have the same hope of faith people like David had.

      2     (3 – 6)  FAITH INSPIRES HOPE

  1. (3 – 4)  Faith in the face of hopelessness

The darkest two verses of this Psalm are now found in the words of verses three and four and present a situation that humanly speaking are hopeless. David describes the situation he is in as he cries out to God,

“The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. So, my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed”.

 When David wrote this as I said in my introduction we simply cannot tell but David often found himself in this kind of hopeless situation when on the run from King Saul in his early years or when on the run from his rebellious son Absalom in his later years of life. However, both situations would have seen, humanly speaking a hopeless situation.

We often, I think do not enter into the real feelings of despair and hopelessness people like David felt when he prayed these prayers for deliverance and relief because we know that God did give David deliverance and relief on all occasions when on the run from King Saul and his rebellious son Absalom.

However, in my study of this Psalm I have tried to imagine what David was facing and the best clue to that is what he says in these two verses and I have come up with three ways David was feeling as he initially prayed the prayer of Psalm 143,

  1. He felt a sense of certain doom and defeat
  2. He felt a sense of darkness and death
  3. He felt a sense of growing soul sapping dismay

Let me elaborate on these three feelings David felt as he prayed the prayer of Psalm 143:

  1. He felt a sense of certain doom and defeat

David speaks of in verse three that his enemy pursues him and is so close he could feel their crushing blows of destruction, he writes,

“The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground”.

 To David this is a statement of certain doom and defeat at the hands of his enemies in which fits both the case of King Saul and Absalom who both had large armies supporting them in hot pursuit of David. So, in this situation David felt like he was being crushed. Albert Barnes says that the Hebrew word for crushed means broken into pieces and gives us three other times this word was used in the bible, Psalm 72: 4, 89: 10 and Job 6: 9.

I like Spurgeon’s explanation and application of this feeling of being crushed that David speaks of in the opening part of verse 3 when he writes,

“The existence of David was made bitter by the cruelty of his enemy; he was as one who was hurled down and made to lie upon the ground, where he could be trampled on by his assailant. Slander has a very depressing effect upon the spirits; it is a blow which overthrows the mind as though it were knocked clown with the fist”.

 As Christians, we too can feel a sense of doom and defeat when we face all kinds of attacks by the evil one that can come in the form of persecution, sickness or any other problem and difficulty we might face in the fallen sinful world we live in.

However, even in the face of what seems like certain doom and defeat the Gospel message offers us hope as Peter so boldly proclaims in 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”.

 This is another example of the hope of faith.

  1. He felt a sense of darkness and death

David facing what seemed like certain defeat and death at the hands of either Saul or Absalom speaks of feeling this way in the second half of verse 3,

“He makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead”.

 Peter who gave us the wonderful promise or hope of new spiritual birth in this life and eternal life with Christ in the next verse then speaks of suffering all kinds of trails and difficulties in this life in verse 6 of 1 Peter 1,

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials”.

But even these should give us hope as Peter goes on to explain in 1 Peter 1: 7,

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed”.

 The truth is that no matter what we face or go through, even death itself God is with us helping us go through these experiences of life teaching us things we could have only learnt through these difficulties and therefore giving us hope as Paul speaks of in Romans 15: 13,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.

 Earlier in the book of Roams Paul speaks of the hope of faith we have and the role of the Holy Spirit of God helping us to have this hope even in difficult times in Romans 8: 22 – 27,

 “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God”.

 So, our desperate prayers like David prayed are according to Paul the spirit helping us in our weaknesses and he will give us the hope of faith in these difficult times if we but turn to God in prayer like David did in Psalm 143.

  1. He felt a sense of growing soul sapping dismay

Then in verse 4 David speaks of his desperate situation making him feel a great sense of dismay, David writes,

“So, my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed”.

 I have been studying the book of Psalms for just on ten years now and I have been so struck by the raw and brutal honesty of man like David as they prayed to God. They held nothing back as they simply told God how they were feeling. I don’t think I have ever heard people pray like that in the church circles I have been in.

I wonder how valuable it would be if we would simply open up to God and tell him honestly how we are feeling in prayer.

David felt very low and going lower as he says his spirit is growing week within him and he now felt dismay. Jesus prayed like this when he faced his terrible death on the cross for our sins on the night he was betrayed. Jesus was really hurting inside like David and Matthew records what happened to Jesus and how he prayed in Matthew 26: 36 – 39,

“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

 If we pray like David did when we feel overwhelmed by what seems a hopeless situation we can pray with the confidence that the one we are praying to knows and understands what we are going through as writer to the Hebrews speaks about in Hebrews 4: 14 – 16,

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”.

 This also is another example of the hope of faith.

  1. (5 – 6) Faith in God’s word inspires hope

I have been putting into practice already the main point of verses 5 and 6 which is that God’s word inspires hope by all the Old and New Testament verses I have quoted already.

David puts this important idea this way in verses 5 and 6,

“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”.

 I see two aspects of David using God’s word to inspire him here:

  1. He remembers what God has done in the past (vs. 5)
  2. He puts God’s word into practice by praying (vs. 6)

So, let’s have a closer look at David being inspired by God’s word and putting it into practice.

  1. He remembers what God has done in the past (vs. 5)

First of all, then, David remembers what God has done in the past, he writes in verse 6,

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done”.

 Actually, this verse says more than just remembering what God did in the past it speaks of also meditating on it. This is a great way of speaking of what God’s word actually is, it is what God did and said in the past given to us to think through in our day to day lives.

David knew his bible and he must have read it or recalled it to his memory as he faced what seemed like a hopeless situation just like Jeduthun speaks of in Psalm 77: 11 – 12,

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

 Where did David and Jeduthun learn of God’s mighty deeds of the past?

They read of them in God’s word the bible and God’s mighty deeds David would have been able to read of included creation, the exodus or God saving Israel out of Egypt, the conquest of Canaan and even his own previous experience of the mighty deeds of God in his life.

Before writing Psalm 143 David experienced the mighty deeds of God for him like delivering him from enemies like Goliath and depending on when he wrote this Psalm previous deliverances from King Saul’s attempts to kill him.

As I have already indicated David not only remembered God’s mighty deeds in the bible as he knew them he mediated on them which I believe is David’s description of how he pondered them deeply, prayed them through, inwardly digested them and acted out their significance in his life as David speaks of in Psalm 19: 14,

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,

 Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”.

 Non-believers cannot understand how the bible is such an inspiration for hope and life as they reject it as a God’s inspired book and simply don’t read it but Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

 God’s word is a great source for the hope of faith.

  1. He puts God’s word into practice by praying (vs. 6)

As David mediated on the great works of God in the past he prayed it through so he used God’s word as a vehicle and inspiration for his prayers and this is what verse 6 is speaking about when it says,

“I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land”.

 The expression of spreading out your hands to God is an Old Testament physical expression of prayer and David has referred to this practice many times before in his Psalms like Psalm 28: 2,

“Hear my cry for mercyas I call to you for help,as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place”.

 His reading and mediating on the word of God has lead him to pray and again his prayer is a desperate one as the second half of verse 6 indicates when David says,

“I thirst for you like a parched land”.

 This verse fits well into David’s run from his rebellious son Absalom as we know he escaped to a very dry desert area and another Psalm writer, a son of Korah who it seems was with David and those who fled with him used a similar expression in Psalm 42 verses 1 and 2,

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

 Another Psalm we believe David wrote at the time of the run from his rebellious son Absalom uses a similar expression in Psalm 63: 1,

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;I thirst for you,my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched landwhere there is no water”.

The effects of sin on our souls which is being cut off from God because of our many sins causes us all to be spiritually thirsty and only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can quench this great thirst as Jesus told the spiritually thirsty Samaritan women at the well in John 4: 13 – 14,

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

So, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his death for sin on the cross and his life- giving words brings about a great soul refreshment a great hope of faith.

      3     (7 – 10)  THE HOPE OF FAITH

  1. (7 – 8)  The faith and hope connection

We come then to what I see as the key two verses of this Psalm that present I believe David starting to recognize the hope of faith in the face of his seemingly hopeless situation. I see these two verses presenting to us what I call the faith and hope connection.

There are two verses here and two main things to learn about how faith and hope are connected and they are:

  1. God’s presence changes everything (vs. 7)
  2. God’s love offers us sure and future hope (vs. 8)

Let’s then have a closer look at each of these two faith and hope connections:

  1. God’s presence changes everything (vs. 7)

Even though David I believe has shown us that he has the hope of faith this does not mean he does not need God’s help in fact the hope of faith is that God is there and not only listens to our prayers but answers them.

So, in verse 7 David again asks for God’s help in prayer, he prays,

“Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails”.

 Again, David is totally honest before God and describes his desperate situation with the apt but simple expression,

“My spirit fails”

 Note how life’s problems and difficulties have a very deep impact on our lives and for some that spiritual impact that life’s problems cause them are so unbearable that they cannot bare it any longer and they end their lives.

However even though David is deeply troubled by his seemingly imminent destruction by his enemies he has faith in his God and that gives him hope as he says this in verse 7,

“Do not hide your face from me”

 The concept of the face of God Tremper Longman 111 says is a,

“metaphor for God’s presence”

David believed that he would be safe no matter what happened to him if God’s face or presence was with him as he clearly states in the negative way in Psalm 30: 7,

“Lord, when you favoured me,you made my royal mountainstand firm;but when you hid your face, I was dismayed”.

 In Psalm 30, we believe David had sinned by disobeying God’s command not to count his fighting men in Israel and God sent a terrible plague on his country and Psalm 30 is David’s prayer for God to turn away from his anger and forgive him and stop the plague for at the times of him writing Psalm 30 God’s presence seemed to be no longer with David.

So, David asks in Psalm 143 for God’s presence in his life or, as the last part of verse 7 says,

“Or I will be like those who go down to the pit”.

 This is a poetic description of dying and means in this context that the murderous objectives of his enemies will be successful if God’s presence is not with him. So, David is saying what will make the difference in his current terrible situation is “God’s face” or “God’s presence”.

When we face dark difficult times we often feel all alone even thinking that God also has deserted us but we need to exercise faith when we feel like this and take God at his word like Romans 5: 5,

“And hope, does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”.

 And even more clearly Romans 8: 37 – 39,

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

 We need to realise that through God’s Holy Spirit Jesus is with us always as he promises in Matthew 28: 20b,

“And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age”.

 Surely this promise alone should give us the hope of faith no matter what we are going through or facing in this life.

  1. God’s love offers us sure and future hope (vs. 8)

Then we have in verse 8 David’s clear poetic statement of his hope of faith in verse 8, he writes,

“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”.

 According to Allan Harman David is saying,

“The darkness of the night is replaced with the light of God’s favour and mercy”.

 This mirrors David’s similar statement of the hope of faith in Psalm 30 were David writes in verse 5,

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime;weeping may stay for the night,but rejoicing comes in the morning”.

 Even when David faced the darkness caused by his wilful sin in the time of Psalm 30 his faith in the love and mercy of God gave him hope expressed so beautifully by the image of the darkness of the night being broken by the dawning of the sun in the morning.

I have read of people near their deaths in the night but rallying in the morning to live another day. David had faith in the love and faithfulness of the God of the bible and this love of God gave him hope as it can give us if we but allow ourselves to open up to it in prayer as David had expressed so well in the start of verse 6,

“I spread out my hands to you”

 Where did David get this concept of the hope of God’s love from?

Again, I found Allan Harman so helpful in coming to an answer to this question, he writes,

“The covenant servant has his heart firmly fixed on God”

 As David so wonderfully expresses in Psalm 9: 10,

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you”.

 David knew the covenant God amazingly expressed his covenant love in Exodus 34: 5 – 7a,

“Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and

faithfulness,maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin”.

 As Christians, we know a far greater expression of the love of God in the New Covenant that Jesus established by his death and resurrection as the writer to the Hebrews describes in Hebrews 9: 15,

For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant”.

 The faith and hope connection then is found in the love of God which John expresses so well in his first letter in 1 John 3: 1 – 3,

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure”.

 This idea of God’s love giving us hope and leading to our lives being purified is what David is speaking about in the last part of verse 8, which says,

“Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life”.

 David has just expressed his hope of faith believing that God’s deliverance and help would come to him soon like the morning dawning breaking the darkness of the night and this comes totally from the love of God and so now he wants to go God’s way as he entrusts his life to this wonderful God of love.

Many times, in my life when I have come to a time of difficulty or unsureness of what I should do or where I should go I have prayed and sought to act out, mediated on the famous verses in the book of Proverbs 3: 5 – 6,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”.

 What way God wants us to go is up to him and we must learn to trust him that he knows best and uses even the worst of situations to do his good work of love in our lives as Paul says in Romans 8: 28,

“And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

 Just think of this, if David had not been led by God into all the problems and difficulties he faced in his life we would not have had these wonderful Psalms that David wrote for us to read, learn and mediate on.

 Put your life in the hands of the great God of love and he will bring you through the darkness of your life to the bright morning light of the hope of faith.

      2.  (9 – 10) The results of the hope of faith

 David now looks to God for how the morning might come to his darkness in real terms which he expresses in verse 9,

“Rescue me from my enemies, Lord for I hide myself in you”.

 Spurgeon opens up this clear call of faith by David for deliverance from his enemies and makes an excellent application of them in these words,

“Many foes beset us, we cannot overcome them, we cannot even escape from them; but Jehovah can and will rescue us if we pray to him. The weapon of all prayer will stand us in better stead than sword and shield”.

 Spurgeon’s application thoughts echo the words of Paul in Ephesians 6: 10 – 18 which set down how we all face great spiritual enemies, day after day but by God’s strength and his armour or spiritual weapons and protections he can deliver us from our enemies. So far as the role of prayer in this Paul says this in Ephesians 6: 18,

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people”.

 The idea of hiding ourselves in God is similar to the main idea of the previous Psalm about the Lord being our refuge, like Psalm 142: 5,

“I cry to you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living”.

The hope of faith is that our God is greater than any foe or enemy we might face in this life so we must turn to him always especially when we come under attack. We do this through prayer and as David expresses in verse 10 by seeking to go his way, he writes,

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good spirit lead me on level ground”.

 Note how David asks God to teach him which comes primarily through careful study of God’s word and through the counsel of gifted mature friends and ministers. I have not stopped attending weekly bible studies all through my Christian life and value the wonderful counsel and teaching I have gained through attending these regular small group bible studies over many years.

Note also how David recognised the role of the Holy Spirit who he calls God’s good spirit in teaching him God’s way and leading him on what he calls “level ground”. This concept of level ground is also called by David, “a straight path” as he speaks of in Psalm 27: 11,

“Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors”

 Leupold explains this term this way,

“To walk in the course in which He directs men always means to be walking ‘in a level land’. It is not a path that is tortuous and difficult but a clear- cut path of right and truth”.

 Which reminds me of the advice Jesus gave on how we should live our lives in Matthew 7: 13 – 14,

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”.

 To find such a path and be able to walk it we need what David calls “God’s good spirit” to help us as we read in Galatians 5: 16 – 18,

“So, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law”.

 So, many people find themselves in really dark hopeless situations in life because of the way they have walked in their life but when we find the hope of faith we must walk God’s way and if we do we will find his help and protection that will be like the dawning of a new day after a long dark night.

      4     (11 – 12) FAITH LEADS TO A LIFE OF HOPE

  1. (vs.11)   Faith leading to hope

David now closes his Psalm 143 on a confident note of prayer not yet delivered from his enemies but showing in how he prays about that, that he has faith in God to help him that is leading him to a very real sense of hope. He prays this in verse 11,

“For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble”.

 Albert Barnes writes this on the phrase, “For your name’s sake”,

“Thou wilt thus show thy power, thy faithfulness, thy goodness. Thou wilt thus get honour to thyself. This is the highest motive which can influence us – that God may be glorified”.

 We know from the two books of Samuel that God did over and over again preserved the life of David against such powerful foes as King Saul and his rebellious son Absalom. David had not yet been preserved by God from his enemies when he wrote Psalm 143 yet when he wrote this Psalm it sounds like to me he had the hope of faith that God can and would soon deliver him.

Long before he wrote this Psalm David had this hope of faith so much he wrote these words in Psalm 23: 1 – 4,

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”.

 God delivers us also from darkness because he is a loving and righteous God and when he does it is him alone who deserves our praise and thanks for giving us this hope of faith.

  1. (11 – 12) Faith in God’s love will give us victory

I see the last verse of this Psalm as still a request for deliverance by David from his enemies however like the previous verse it is spoken of in a note of faith and hope, David writes,

“In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant”.

 David prays yet again for the destruction of his enemies which he often has done before yet on at least two occasions David had the opportunity of carrying out this prayer and desire on King Saul one of his greatest enemies but both times he said something like what is recorded in 1 Samuel 26: 9 – 11,

“But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

 David was asking for God to judge his enemy as the New Testament clearly teaches like James 4: 12,

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?”

 Jesus actually encourages us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, Matthew 5: 43 -48. So, God’s mercy or as David called it God’s unfailing love should lead us to act radically different than the normal human reactions to persecution but instead show love just as God has shown love or mercy to us, sinners deserving his judgment.

Saul eventually did fall under God’s judgment and in the face of his hopeless situation of defeat by the Philistines he took his own life. Absalom likewise was defeated in battle and was defeated and killed by David’s faithful general Joab much to the dismay of king David who wept for days over the death of his son Absalom.

David calls himself at the end of Psalm 143, “Your servant” or God’s servant and David Guzik makes this interesting comment about this title David gives himself,

“David appealed to God on the basis of His name, His righteousness, and His mercy; yet also on the basis of his relationship with God as His servant. David understood that the servant has obligations to the Master; yet the Master also has obligations to the servant”.

 Again, David reveals the hope of faith which looks forward to God’s victory over all his enemies and we too can look forward to the great hope of God’s total victory over all who oppose him and over all evil as we read in Revelation 20: 11 – 15,

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire”.

 Our faith in the Lord Jesus however leads to the great hope of heaven when we will pass from this life to be with God forever and not come under the final judgement owing to the payment of our sin by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross as we read in Titus 2: 11 – 14,

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good”.

 This is the great final hope of faith that one day we will be with our Lord forever and this alone should help us face the pain and difficulties of this life which God might lead us into from time to time.

As the article in the “Irish Times’ in 2004 I quoted in my introduction put it,

“Hope is the key factor in the research into suicide it has been identified as critical in determining how we negotiate suffering. If people believe that their suffering will end, or that some possibility of rescue is likely, they can endure incredible discomfort”.

 If we have then the hope of faith we can endure and conquer as Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 2: 10 – 13,

“Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.11 Here is a trustworthy saying:If we died with him, we will also live with him;12 if we endure,we will also reign with him.If we disown

him,he will also disown us;13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”.

Real faith in the God of the bible, the God who out of love sent his son, Jesus Christ into the world to save us from our sins offers us great hope a hope I call, hope to cope. So, I encourage you to put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and no matter what life might bring your way you will always have the hope of faith.

I close as usual with an original poem / song and a final word of prayer:

HOPE FOR TOMOROOW

(Based on Psalm 143)

 

Refrain:

Hope for tomorrow for today I look above

Hope in the morning for in the dawning I’ll see God’s love.

 

Hear my prayer a cry for mercy

For I trust in God’s love and faithfulness.

Give me Lord relief and peace

For my enemy’s cause, me pain and stress.

When they attack they make me feel despair

Help me Lord in my darkness

By showing me your loving care.

 

Refrain:

Do not bring me Lord into judgment

For all men are sinners before you Lord.

Give me mercy and forgiveness

As I trust and meditate upon your word.

I see all the things you’ve done in the past,

Mighty things your hands performed

O yes Lord your love is so vast.

 

Refrain:

I spread my hands out before you Lord

For I thirst as my spirit seems to fail.

Do not hide your face from me

Or I will descend into death dark jail.

Rescue me from the evil that surrounds me

So, I can hide myself in you Lord

For you alone can set me free.

 

Refrain:

 

Teach me to do your will O Lord

May your Spirit lead me to level ground.

Preserve my life O Lord I pray

May all my troubles go and peace be found

Silence enemies and show me your love.

Help me to always serve you Lord

And raise your name high above.

 

Refrain:

Hope for tomorrow for today I look above

Hope in the morning for in the dawning I’ll see God’s love.

 

By: Jim Wenman

PRAYER:

 I look to you Father up above to help me in my many struggles in this life with faith in your Son, The Lord Jesus Christ who always gives me hope. I pray that I will not turn away from this great hope, the hope of your constant help and protection, hope in your loving will for my life and hope in future glory with you in heaven. May I live out every day with this hope of faith, in the great and powerful name of The Lord Jesus Christ I pray this prayer, Amen.

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