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The godly man appeals to the Lord to act in righteousness on behalf of his tried and afflicted servant.
(vv. 1-2) The psalmist appeals to the Lord to hear his prayer and act on his behalf in faithfulness and righteousness, while confessing that he cannot stand before God on the ground of his own righteousness.
(vv. 3-6) The next verses present the sorrowful circumstances that call forth the prayer. The godly man is persecuted by the enemy; his life is crushed; his way is dark, and, he himself, forgotten as one long dead.
The inward effect is that his spirit is overwhelmed, and his heart desolate. He remembers the days of old, and meditates upon all God's works, but finds no relief for his soul. This persecution of the enemy may, indeed, be the chastening of the Lord, allowing him to fall into darkness and desolation of soul in order that he may learn that by no efforts of his own can he be justified. He is shut up to God and His righteousness. Thus, at length, he stretches forth his hands to the Lord as his only hope.
(vv. 7-10) The latter part of the psalm presents his prayer. He sincerely longs for the favour of the Lord's face, for without the favour he is as one dead. He longs for the loving-kindness of the Lord to bring him out of the darkness of soul into the light of the morning. He desires to know the way in which the Lord would have him to walk; to be delivered from his enemies; to learn God's will, and to be led into the land of uprightness.
(vv. 11-12) In the closing verses the psalmist uses a threefold plea. First, he pleads the Name of the Lord; second, the righteousness of the Lord; and third, that he is the servant of the Lord. The Lord cannot be indifferent to the glory of His Name; His righteousness cannot overlook the wickedness of man; His mercy cannot be unmindful of the troubles of His servants.
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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 143". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent