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Daily Devotional Psalm 143:1–12

Pain, both physical and emotional, is a part of human experience, and as Christians we are not exempt. How can we walk through times of suffering while remaining in God’s love? In 2 Samuel 15, David found himself in deep pain. His son Absalom had gained a following and was conspiring to take the throne from his father. David fled for his life. Many commentators believe that David wrote Psalm 143 from that place of pain and betrayal.

LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.

PSALM 143:1

David begins his prayer by crying out to God (v. 1). The basis for his request is not his own position as king. Rather, his confidence lies in the very character of the faithful and righteous God. Next, David appeals for mercy, asking God to refrain from judgment. He acknowledges his own fallenness, saying, “For no one living is righteous before you” (v. 2).

Then, David expresses his deep pain (vv. 3–4). He tells God how he feels. David’s “enemy”—perhaps his own son—had wounded him. He feels crushed and is “dwelling in a dark place.” This could be the cave in which he was hiding or refer to his state of mind. It might even be both. David is weak and devastated, and he expresses that to God honestly.

In verse 5, David moves from that pain with a conscious choice to remember and meditate on God’s work in the past. He remembers God’s faithfulness to himself and to Israel. The triple statements emphasize the importance of this intentional mental refocusing. Dwelling on God’s care creates a thirst for His presence (v. 6).

Then, David cries out for God’s help and companionship (vv. 7–9). Over and over, David intermingles his desperate requests with declarations of trust. He finishes the psalm with a humble posture, asking God—in an act of love—to mature him and show him how to do His will (vv. 10–12).

Go Deeper

Psalm 143 shows us ways to process pain. What does David do to experience God’s presence amid his troubles?

Pray with Us:

Lord, when we’re in the “cave” like David, You are with us. When we’re in pain, you understand. When we feel crushed by trials, You lift us up. You bring light into darkness. What a Savior!

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