PSALM 143:1-6 – Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. 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. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE WARFARE IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. Today’s scripture is a graphic portrait of the warfare a Christian fights daily in his or her heart. Take time and ponder it. Let the Spirit of God drive home its truths about the spiritual foes battling our hearts every day. But also, let the Spirit of God show you the way to victory; to consistently defeat the enemies of our souls.
As the Psalm unfolds, three spiritual foes are identified that wage intense war in our hearts. First, there is the remaining sin of unbelief in us that always seeks to create a slavish fear of God by doubting His character. Listen to the Psalmist’s plea . . . “Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.” What is he doing? He is revealing his sinful self; a sinful self that knows he isn’t righteous and fears God’s judgment because of it. But what is equally revealing is he knows God is merciful and forgiving, but his remaining sin does battle to convince him God is not. Be aware of this foe. Your remaining sin feeds off unbelief and will constantly seek to convince you what God is not – tyrannical and lacking mercy.
The second and third foes are the outward enemies of our souls. The Psalmist recognized the literal ones against him which is illustrative of the external ones against us – the world and devil. He wrote, “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” (Psalm 143:3). Haven’t we felt this same spiritual pressure the Psalmist is experiencing, although his enemy was physical, ours are spiritual. Stay on guard against these spiritual foes. And do so being aware of their greatest attacks on us are to get us to forget about them.
A fourth foe is the weakness of our flesh creating the lack of mental self-discipline to do spiritual battle – Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled (Psalm 143:4). The Psalmist appears to be raising the white flag of surrender to his enemy. And who of us have not felt the same way when the devil, world, and flesh wear us out in the spiritual battles we face, but there is a turning point now in the Psalmist’s life that leads to victory and if we heed his example, will do likewise for us. What does he do? He remembers. He meditates. He ponders. Basically, he is directing his thoughts toward God and His past faithfulness to Him – I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands (Psalm 143:5). Friends, the spiritual warfare we face is in the mind; our thinking. And unless we see this, embrace this, and commit to disciplining our thoughts by God’s Word to trust Him in the heat of battles, we will fall. But we need not. Like the Psalmist, when the war rages, stop and remember the Captain of our salvation and His faithfulness. In doing so, we will learn to enjoy spiritual victories consistently.
PRAYER: “Father, make me mindful of the warfare You have called me to in the Christian life.”
QUOTE: “Be decisive in your thinking when the spiritual warfare we are in is raging. Choose to remember God’s faithfulness.”