Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Psalms 142:1 – 7 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. 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. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 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.
Now, for those of you who skipped it, please go back and really read today’s Psalm. The Holy Spirit is to be your primary teacher every day. Let Him speak to you before you read what He said to me.
How deeply are you troubled today? How unbearable is your emotional burden? How lonely are you? How close are you to giving up? How loudly are you crying out to God for mercy? This Psalm is your help and your hope.
Back in December I was in Israel in the location where King David took refuge in caves to hide from his enemies. Once he was hiding from King Saul, who had him surrounded with 3,000 soldiers and there was no hope of escape. The other time he was seeking refuge from the Philistines who had taken over Bethlehem. As David writes this Psalm he recalls how he felt during those times of exile.
The cave he was in is nearly impenetrable. I did not get to go into the cave when I was there, but I did walk along the edge of the cliff and saw it. Another visitor, who at one time found his way in, described it this way.
It is situated on the side of a mountain, having a fearful gorge below, gigantic cliffs above, and the path winding along a narrow shelf of the rock. At length, from a great rock hanging on the edge of the shelf, we entered by a long leap to a low window which opened into the perpendicular face of the cliff. We were then within the traditional hold of David, and, creeping half doubled through a narrow crevice for a few yards, we stood beneath the dark vault of the first grand chamber of this mysterious and oppressive cavern. Our whole collection of lights did little more than make the damp darkness visible. After groping about as long as we had time to spare, we returned to the light of day, fully convinced that while inside David was safe, and all the strength of Israel under Saul could not have forced an entrance into it and would not have even attempted it. (William Thompson)
While the cave offered David safety from the enemies outside, it could not protect him from the attack against his spirit which grew faint within him. With no visible means of escape, and no way of replenishing his supplies, he does what we all tend to do – he exaggerates the severity of his condition. He looks around and declares that he is alone and no one cares about his life.
Go with me into that cave for a moment where the darkness is so complete that without man-made light you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Of course, he could not see anyone when he looked around, even though 400 people had gathered with him in the cave to support him and care for him. He was surrounded by his mighty men who put their lives on the line for him when he needed a drink of water. But the physical darkness had closed his spiritual eyes.
There is a personal lesson in this for us. In the midst of whatever cave you find yourself and the darkness you are currently experiencing, do not forget the truth that the other members of the Body of Christ – your spiritual family – are still with you. Even though your physical eyes may be unable to see a resolution, do not let your spiritual eyes become darkened to the truth of your connection to Christ and His community of believers.
There is another lesson that is important as well – in your times of despair, loneliness and hopelessness, God knows the way. When people and circumstances have set snares for you and you feel trapped, God knows the way. When you feel alone and rejected, God is your refuge and your portion in the land of the living. He is your constant companion and friend. He cares for you.
This was the prayer of a man who was desperate. These were the words of a man who was in a deep and dark cave. This was the cry to God of a man who believed in the power of God to rescue him.
These were the words of a man who lived to write about it.
This can be your prayer of faith to God who knows the way. Put your trust in him. He will show you the way out of your cave. Until He does, He will NEVER leave you alone. He who knows the way is with you to stay.