Our Default Setting
(H) A psalm of David. (1) Hear my prayer, Yahweh. Listen to my supplications. In your faithfulness, in your righteousness, answer me. (2) Do not enter into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you, (3) for the enemy has pursued my soul. He has crushed my life to the ground. He has caused me to dwell in darkness like those who have long been dead. (4) Therefore, my spirit faints within me. My heart within me is appalled. (5) I remember the days of old. I meditate on all your doings and ponder on the work of your hands. (6) I stretch out my hands to you. My soul (thirsts) for you as a parched land. (Selah)
In this opening segment of the psalm we find only one repetition, “within me” (twice in vs. 4). Every line with the exception of verse 2 contains at least one example of synonymous parallelism:
- hear my prayer = listen to my supplications (vs. 1)
- your faithfulness = your righteousness (vs. 1)
- pursued my soul = crushed my life (vs. 3)
- dwell in darkness = those who have long been dead (vs. 3)
- my spirit faints = my heart...is appalled (vs. 4)
- remember = meditate = ponder (vs. 5)
- doings = works (vs. 5)
- I stretch out my hands to you = my soul thirsts for you (vs. 6)
I. Request: hear and answer my prayer. (1 & 2)
II. Reason: I am overwhelmed by the opposition of my enemies. (3 & 4)
III. Remembrance: I rely on you because of your faithfulness (5 & 6)
Because Yahweh has been consistently faithful in the past, I cry for his help whenever I am in need.
We often use the term “last resort” to indicate where we turn when there are no options left to us. After having tried every possible means of extricating ourselves from a difficulty and having applied every solution we can think of to the problem facing us, we finally turn to our last resort, that is, to God in prayer. Someone has defined “last resort” as “an unlikely expedient finally adopted in a moment of desperation.” When will we learn that praying is not what we should finally try when all else fails but really our first and best option?
This will happen only when we have made prayer such a regular part of our daily routine that spending time with God has become an integral part of our lives. Computer technicians use the term “default setting” to refer to the way a computer automatically sets up when it is first turned on without any changes being made by the user. Our default setting should be turning to God in prayer right from the first in every situation we face.
Paul exhorted his readers to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17). If we discipline ourselves to make coming to God with our praises, thanksgiving, petitions, and concerns our default setting, then prayer will be our chief response and not our last resort when we face the difficulties that inevitably come our way.