Psalms Reading – 5.12.2022

Rev. Doug Heiman   -  

Psalm 142

maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.

I cry aloud to the Lord;  I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;  before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,  it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk   people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, 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.

Psalm 142 is the third of four consecutive individual laments where David prays for God’s mercy in the midst of a trouble. In contrast to the last two laments, David does not ask for retributive justice against his enemies. 

David’s anguish is matched by the volume of the cry that he lifts up to the Lord. He pours out his complaint. He empties himself of the anxiety within and speaks it all to the Lord. There is tremendous spiritual and emotional value in speaking/crying out loud our prayers to God.  

He is confident the Lord watches over his way as his enemy has set hidden snares for him along the journey. Today, we call them land mines, both literally and metaphorically. We may not experience them in a war zone, but we can encounter them when others set them up to bring us down. 

Verse 4 is the low point of the psalm as it stands at the exact structural center. David says he has no one who is with him, no one is concerned for him, no place to go, and no one cares for him. When we go through challenging times in life with others, it can be tough enough, but when we go it alone, we have hit bottom.  

But it’s after hitting bottom, David looks hopefully to God for deliverance. In verse 4, he said he had no refuge, now he declares that God is his refuge and his portion. Portion means his share, his allotment, his plot of ground. In other words, God gives him what no one else can. 

David calls out to the Lord because his situation is desperate. His deliverance will lead to praise, first by David himself and then by the community. The king’s deliverance leads to the praise of the people. David recognizes that his life is a witness to the larger community and desires to bring God praise so others will do the same. 

May we have such a larger view of the purpose of prayer. We will seek answers to help us in our time of need so that we can bring praise to God so others will be inspired to do so as well. 

Memory Verse: Psalm 139:5, You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

Question(s) to Consider: In your prayers for help, how mindful are you of your desire to bring praise to God so others will praise God? How will you enlarge your vision for living as disciple-makers to ensure that everything that you ask will be used by God to draw others to Him?