“I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy.
I look for someone to come and help me,
but no one gives me a passing thought!
No one will help me;
no one cares a bit what happens to me.
Then I pray to You, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.
You are all I really want in life.
Bring me out of prison so I can thank You.
The godly will crowd around me,
for You are good to me.””
Psalms 142:1, 4-5, 7 NLT
David was going through a time of personal examination and contemplation, as he was hiding in a cave somewhere. It might have been the Adullam cave mentioned in 1 Samuel 22, but regardless of its location, David was in a cave. He daren’t show his face anywhere because we read that his enemies had set traps for him. But as usual with David, when in a place of stress and loneliness, he turned to God. He knew that with God in his life, he was never alone. And in addition, he also knew that nothing else in his life had any importance, an attitude he retained all his life. It was quite something that with all his regal trappings, he could cast them aside as of no importance compared to the riches he had in God.
The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” And the verbal exchange between Jesus and the young man, as recorded in Mark 10, exposed the difficulty encountered by people who have lots of “stuff”. When Jesus suggested that he sold and gave away all he had, we read, “At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” Like David, we must ensure that we have the right attitude to what we have. We must hold what we have with an open hand.
David also expressed disappointment that nobody cared about him. That is a natural attitude in times of depression and loneliness. The long hours waiting for a knock at the door or the phone to ping. David equated the lonely place with being in prison. But he wasn’t really alone because he reassured himself that God was his place of refuge. And he knew that once he was out of the cave, he would find Godly people. When we too decide to leave the “cave” of our depression and loneliness we must look for, and find, God’s people. Sadly, many people, by choice, prefer a life of isolation, mentally and physically, rather than embrace the love and caring of God and His people.
David asks God to bring him out of his prison, the cave where he was languishing. In what “prison” are we incarcerated today? We have already mentioned loneliness and depression, but there are many other “caves” where people find themselves, often through no fault of their own. Places where circumstances have left people in a place where they didn’t want to be. At such times we can invite God to be with us in our “prison” and be assured that He will lead us out into freedom. Jesus said, as recorded in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,”. Everything Jesus said was true and trustworthy. He promised a life of freedom. John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Amen?