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Psalm 143 English Standard Version (ESV)

My Soul Thirsts for You

A Psalm of David.

143 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
  give ear to my pleas for mercy!
  In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,
  for no one living is righteous before you.

3 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.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
  my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old;
  I meditate on all that you have done;
  I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
  my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!
  My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
  lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
  for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
  for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
  I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
  for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
  on level ground!

11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
  In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
  and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
  for I am your servant.


  • Once again, fears drove David to the Lord. Again he was helped. He meditated on God’s past works, and ultimately reached a clear understanding of how he must deal with his trials.
  • No one likes to feel helpless. David probably felt like this when he wrote this psalm. He cried out to God for mercy and relief. He realized he had no right to expect God’s help. Yet his desperate situation filled him with dismay. David recalled what God had done and reaffirmed his trust in the Lord.
  • We may be helpless to improve our situations. But there is still something we can do! “Make me know the way I should go” (v8b) and “Teach me to do your will” (v10). Each day, each hour, as we wait for God to deliver us, we can concentrate our attention on doing God’s will for that day, for that hour.
  • What a sense of relief comes over us as we make David’s discovery. We are not helpless after all. There is something we can do. The most important thing of all. We can do God’s will. So, when you can’t change your situation, make it your priority simply to do each hour, each day, what God wills.
  • What is God’s will for you for this day? For this hour?