I Am Your Servant- Psalm 143:11-12

As we reach the conclusion of David’s prayer for rescue, we now find that David has come full circle. He has gone from seeking deliverance from enemies outside the cave, to deliverance from enemies inside the cave (the voices in his own head), to recognition of his need to deal with unresolved issues from his past, to his desire to move beyond them into walking in the path God desires for his life. As David concludes his prayer, he becomes aware of one thing he has not yet “dealt” with. He has thus far asked God to deliver him from people who have harassed him, from “spirits” who have harassed him, and into doing what God desires he do with his life. In all of his pleas thus far, he has asked God to deal with others and with his circumstances, but here at the end, he now asks God to deal with him, to transform not his circumstances or others, but to transform him. He begins, in verse 11, by asking God to “For Your name’s sake, preserve my life, in your righteousness bring me out of trouble”. The word translated “life” here in the NIV is the Hebrew chayah, one of whose primary functions is to serve as the verb of existence, with that existence being represented by one’s “living”. In this Hebrew thinking, one is not what they do, but one does what they are. David does not ask God here to save merely his physical life, but to transform his existence, to make him one whose existence is defined by being one who lives for God’s “names sake”. He asks God here to make him someone in whom living is all about God, in whom all that he does is done for God’s glory and toward becoming the proper representation of who God is, which is what His “name” represents. He then asks, in a parallel expression, that God would “bring me out of trouble”. The word trouble here is the Hebrew tsarah, which refers to both adversity and tribulation. While these two words may seem to refer to the same thing, they actually refer to two different ideas contained within this one word. The first, adversity, has to do with dealing with adversaries, with those who deliberately and maliciously seek to bring difficulties into our lives. The second, tribulation, has to do with the calamities of life, to the difficulties which life itself seems to bring. The phrase translated as “bring me out” consists of Hebrew terms meaning “to come forth from or arise out of” and “above”. The Hebrew word translated “me” here is nefesh, or “soul”. So what we have David actually asking God here is to make him one whose soul is actually elevated by the adversities and tribulations of life, that God would make him into a person who the difficulties of life helped to make better, and not bitter. We now understand what David means when he concludes by asking God to “silence my enemies”. The Hebrew word translated “silence” is samat, which literally means to “put an end to”, and is properly translated as silence here by the NIV, for the primary enemies, as he has discovered, are not those bent on killing him, but those who whisper in his ear, and, through their whisperings, rob him of God’s purpose for his life. The putting to an end does not involve the destruction of those whispering in his ear, but the transformation of David into one upon whom those whispers will no longer have their desired effect. David has come to meet with God, and in this meeting he as come to know the truth, and that truth truly has begun to set him free. The Hebrew word translated destroy here is one which refers to total and absolute destruction, here used to emphasize David’s desire to be completely free from any “foes” or “enemies” ability to get him off the level ground on which God desires him to walk. He actually and ultimately prays this in light of the truth which he has learned in the cave, that sometimes those we perceive as enemies may actually turn out to be instruments which God is using for our eternal good, to help us become all He has created us to be and to do all He has called us to do, which David refers to here in the phrase “for I am your servant”. David desires above all else that all of the issues of life, both adversity and tribulation , would serve only to make him more and more the servant God wants him to be. May our study of this Psalm keep us ever mindful of this fact, that what others intend for our harm, God often uses for our good (Genesis 50:20), to make us His servants, to conform us to the likeness of His Son.

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