For the past while (lengthened because of my work schedule this summer) i have been blogging through Psalm 141. My main point throughout has been that prayer is indispensable for the follower of God. Whether it is temptation to sin, a trial of faith, or physical persecution prayer is the answer. Without prayer we will fall into all of the snares of the devil (cf. 141:9).
David started his prayer with a request for God to hear his prayer, he continued by praying that his prayer would be something pleasing to God, he then asked that God would take control of his body and help him to live a life pleasing to God, next he asked that God would use his friends to help him stay close to God. Then his prayer changed gears and he prophecied about his enemies falling into the hands of God. Then his prayer changed gears again and he cried out that his life felt like it was already over. But then it changed for a fourth time: he reiterated that he was keeping his eyes on God throughout it all, he asked God for protection from his enemies, and then he closes out his prayer with one final proof of faith:
“Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.”
There are two things to note in this request. First, it is a prayer of faith in God’s power. Second, David recognizes two different ends for two types of people.
David has faith in God here. The first word, let, indicates David can’t trust himself for these things. David needs God’s intervention. This must be our attitude in prayer too. We can’t hope to escape temptation or make it through tribulation apart from God’s enabling grace. If we refuse (or neglect) to pray, then we will never make it through this life as Christians.
Next, we see the two different ends for two different types of people. There is an end for the wicked (specifically those who persecute Christians, in context) and an end for those who trust in God (specifically those who pray, in context).
David asks that God would cause his persecutors to fall into their own traps. Specifically, he is referring to King Saul. David can’t cut down the Lord’s anointed, but the Lord can. After the praying of this psalm, David joins the Philistine army (see 1 Samuel 27), but two chapters later, before they go to war against King Saul and Israel, they say, “David will turn on us; we can’t trust him” (29:4). God caused them to mistrust David so there would be no question about who struck down Saul.
King Saul was trying to kill David with his own hands. David’s prayer is that the wicked fall into their own traps. In 1 Samuel 31, Saul uses his own hands to end his life, on a mountaintop (cf. Psalm 141:6). God brought David’s request to fruition.
David also prayed that God would let him pass through the trial safely. In the end, Saul is dead, and David is told of this by a man who was there (see 2 Samuel 1). David outlived the fury of his enemy.
Which end will be yours?
Will you trust God, proving your faith by your prayers? Or will you neglect prayer, trust yourself, and fall into all sorts of terrible sin that prove you never belonged to God?
This walk is a trial, and the book of Hebrews proves we must have endurance and faith in order to run the race with perseverance, finish, and inherit salvation (see especially Hebrews 12:1-2). However, it is also clear in Hebrews that Christ is our only hope. He is our anchor (6:19), and He is our Great High Priest, the one who opened our access to the throne of grace in prayer (4:15-16). If we call ourselves followers of Christ, we must pray, or we will not finish the race.
And then, in a potential allusion to Psalm 141:6, the writer of Hebrews warns in 10:31, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” If we refuse to trust God and pray, this will be the result. David wrote in 141:6,
“When their rulers will be thrown off the sides of a cliff, the people will listen to my words, for they are pleasing.”
Let’s listen to David’s words now, find them pleasing now, and not find out how pleasing they were after it’s too late.
Will you finish the race?
I pray you do. I pray you pass by safely into heaven.
How’s your prayer life?
Soli Deo Gloria