I don’t know how many of you were like me, but there was a time in my life when the last place I would go is to God. Even then, my prayers were more like the old TV show “Let’s Make a Deal.” Ever been there? You know, trying to strike a deal with Almighty God that if He would get you out of this mess one more time “I promise I will (you fill in the blank).” Well David shows a different approach to the trials and challenges of life in his writing of Psalm 142 . David is in a cave because King Saul has his henchman out hunting David down. Yes, the famous shepherd boy that killed the giant with a stone and a sling is now reduced to hiding in a cave with no friends at his side and fearing for his very life. In the first two verses of this psalm David tells us “I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.” It is evident by the words David uses in these verses that he has developed a close personal relationship with his Heavenly Father and he knows who to turn to in his time of need. When he says “I pour out my complaint before him”, he is not talking about the kind of complaining we normally hear but David is saying I shared my condition with my Heavenly Father. Much like we would do with a close confidant, David is sharing his situation, his troubled heart, with God and looking to Him for guidance.
In verse 3 and 4 he says “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.” David is saying I am weak but when I am weak you are strong. He is relying on God to direct his path because those around him have set traps to capture him for their own personal gain. David tells God he has no one that cares for him and no hiding place where he feels safe. Although we may not face circumstances as severe as David was experiencing at this point in his life, we have all faced times where we felt there was no safe place and no one cared about our state or condition.
Verse 5 tells us “I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” David is confessing that God is his hiding place and all that he needs in this earthly life. What a powerful lesson for us to draw from. Going to God first rather than last, and acknowledging that He is our refuge and He is all that we need in our lives no matter what circumstances we may be facing.
In verse 6 David confesses “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.” He is telling God of his need and the fact that he does not feel strong enough to fight the battle he must face. Yet in his request, he is drawing us a picture of his reliance upon God’s strength and God’s ability to handle all matters small or large. Then he says in verse 7 “Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.” David is saying God, neither I nor any person that I might call upon can change my circumstances. Only you can free me from this bondage I find myself in. Isn’t that what God asks of us? To rely upon Him alone to free us from the bondage of sin, to call upon Him in our time of need and to rejoice with Him when we are on the other side of whatever challenge we faced. David says if we do this the “righteous” will gather around us to celebrate and praise God for His mercy and deliverance. They key point we need to remember is that people gather around us not for what we have done but because of what God has done on our behalf.
We would do well to learn from David’s description and incorporate his experience in our own walk with God. God’s mercy is infinite, His wisdom is infallible, His power is boundless, His love is never changing and He is the director of all things. That is why in all situations, big or small, major or minor; we should turn to God for our solutions and our celebrations.