Unlike yesterday’s psalm, there’s no cave in Psalm 143. The only real context we’re given is that it’s by David, and therefore about some point in his life. But like yesterday’s psalm, it’s a prayer under pressure for God’s help and mercy. Perhaps it was written from a cave, or about a cave, as David says his enemy has driven him into “dark places” (3). But although it’s a psalm with very little light, it’s not a psalm devoid of hope.
Got enemies? Foes? Nemeses? If you’re doing something right, you’re probably going to draw some heat for it. (Let the record show that I don’t have any enemies.) Psalm 129 is a song for coping with having enemies, if you’re ancient Israel. It’s also a Song of Ascents.
Psalm 109 is about David’s enemies. Specifically, it concerns how they are bad people and bad things should happen to them. Normally, that would be the end of it, but David happens to know someone–an Invisible Sky King, in fact–who determines which things happen to which people. So David asks him to make his enemies die in a fire so that it’s just like they never existed.
In this psalm, David gives us a window into another of his moves from disorientation to new orientation. In the first half, he prays for deliverance, and in the conclusion, he praises God for rescuing him. Simple, right? But when you consider how vitriolic David gets against the human sources of his trouble, the psalm is no longer quite so clear-cut.