These days I rereaded Psalm 143. In these verses we see a suffering person complaining to God. At the beginning of the Psalm we see that the author recognizes that, even if it is true that he has problems, he might be, at least partially, responsible of the situation. That’s why we read: “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Psalm 143:2 NIV).
The psalmist continues depicting the persecution against him. Not only persecution, but he describes how his enemies catch him and crush him. He turns to God, raising his hands in a shout of despair. He requests God’s quick answer, and the following petition is really insightful. He asks God to show him the path to follow. With this petition he recognizes several things:
1) He recognizes he has not been able to manage his life in the best way till now.
2) He shows full confidence in God, who is the only one able to deliver his life.
3) He recognizes the wisdom of God to redirect his life from now on.
And finally, we get to the two verses who reveal why God will actually help us, and the honor of whom is at stake.
“For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” (Psalm 143:11-12 NIV).
Finally the writer gets to the point. We have no right to be rescued. We all are, in one way or another, sinners and guilty ones. It is not because we are right and the others wrong (which maybe). It is not because we are “better people” than those who persecute us. The writer claims for God’s honor, for His sake. These are the only two reasons to preserve his life, and to get him out of trouble. Verse 12 is very deep. It is for God’s love that he psalmist asks to silence the enemies. We oftenly reduce God’s love just to ourselves, but actually it is much broader than we think. God’s love include those enemies, as persons. But maybe within the concept of “enemy” we might include not only persons, but also our own defects.
All these foes to be destroyed, are not only visual enemies, but also unseen ones. Our own defects, fears, and defects which drove us to this situation. That’s why the writer has to claim God’s justice while recognizing his weakness and failure. God will act, not because of us, but for His love towards us. Because we have claimed recognizing our impossibility, and accepting His ability.
It is His honor, his love, his ability, his righteousness which is at stake before all the Universe. And that’s why the writer ends saying, I am your servant. This affirmation has consequences. This means that, the salvation that comes from God has conditions. We set ourselves in the position of “servants”, in the attitude of obedience to any condition that God will tells us to do.
This last sentence summarizes extraordinarily the whole idea. You (God) save me, not because who I am, but because who You are, and I accept all the “terms and conditions” setting aside my mismanagement and accepting your guidance.
It is the vindication of God’s honor which, in last and wide instance, will take you out of the pit, and not the demonstration of who’s right and who’s wrong in a dispute.