Psalm 142 Commentary

Psalm 142 Commentary

Verse 2 specifically calls this prayer a complaint. The New Testament saint knows this is forbidden baggage in the presence of the loving Father. We have the Torah to thank for this fear. Yet here and now this psalm doesn’t sound bad at all. Is this complaint different from the complaining in the wilderness?

In the wilderness, the complaining was about God’s ‘bad’ food in comparison with the delicacies of Egypt. It was a rejection of God’s menu. But here in this psalm, the complaining is about a lack of God’s menu, regardless of what it is.

The psalmist is starving and only the LORD can provide. The psalmist has been tested and now understands that he cannot survive on bread alone. He has been brought to the point of total dependence on God. It is a blessing to be at this point, a point of zero options. Then you understand that the LORD is your portion in the land of the living.

He is still alive because of God. There are zero support systems around him; no friends, no money, no food, and no human justice system to look up to. Remember this psalm is by David during one of his many great escapes. There was a handsome price on his head. He was a hunted man. No one was concerned for him. No one cared for his life. But God did hence David’s statement that God was his portion in the land of the living.

David is praying from a position of extreme weakness. He is desperate. His enemies are too strong for him.

His complaint is basically a lament about his current position. He casts his fears at the feet of the LORD. Men and women can always have faith when put in a position with zero options. Faith can be very expensive; only the LORD can mine it. Look at the cost!

The story of David is very interesting. This psalm is set against the background of extremely low strength. His enemies are physical and external. His greatest needs are freedom and a license to live. The LORD answered David’s prayer and see the same David on the throne of Israel. It is from this point of extreme human power, absolute human authority, and riches that David commits adultery and murder.

He is back in the prayer room but this time the enemies are himself – his own heart. The desires of the flesh were too strong for him. This kind of thought can help us understand the need for Salvation – the New Testament way. Then we can appreciate the human problem in a better way. It’s not a lack of employment or lack of human rights, though these elements are definitely byproducts of ungodliness.

This psalm provides an open door for a wider appreciation of the human problem. In this psalm, David is a fugitive and in trouble. In Psalm 51, the freed, prosperous, and elevated David is still in trouble. The human problem can only be solved by the LORD Himself. The LORD Jesus Christ sits on the throne of perfection and is the real portion for the saint.

Consider the LORD Jesus Christ when you are completely out of options or when you have analyzed your life and have found it wanting, regardless of your achievements.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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