Sunday, September 3, 2017 pm                                            Psalms Index 



Tonight, we examine our next psalm in our ongoing study.  In the superscription to this psalm (notes attached early and found in virtually all Hebrew and Greek mss), we find this to be “a contemplation of David” (or maskil – which is probably an unknown musical term).  We are then told it is “A prayer when he was in the cave.”  Because of this we know the occasion of the writing of this psalm was before David became king and as he fled from King Saul. 

There are at least two occasions recorded of David hiding in a cave.  1 Samuel 22 where he escapes to the cave of Adullam, after fleeing from the king of Gath (where he went fleeing from king Saul).   1 Samuel 24 we find Saul pursuing David in the wilderness of En Gedi.  Here we read that in the cave, Saul is attending to his needs, but David and his men were in the recesses of the cave.  Here David cuts off the corner of Saul’s robe and lets him know that he spared his life.  Saul temporarily calls off his pursuit.   Of it could be some other time that David is referring to.

The psalm is one of discouragement in a troubling time.  (It actually fits well with our ongoing study of problems we face as Christians.)  David feels alone, but he knows that God is with him.  Let us consider this psalm.

 I.                     David’s cry to the LORD (1-2)

a.       I cry out to the LORD with my voice.  He made supplication to Him.  This was typical of David and we have addressed these things previously.  OF note here, this is crying out loudly – this is not an inward thought, but outwardly expressed.  I think of someone in real distress and overcome with grief or troubles. 

b.       I pour out my complaint before Him, declare my trouble before Him. 
The word for complaint can also mean “meditation.”  As such, it is descriptive of something on one’s mind that he cannot stop thinking about.   You might say one is greatly concerned about something troubling them.
One might as, is it acceptable to complain to God?  Depends! If by complaining we mean bitterness toward Him and ingratitude (as is often the case), then we need to repent.
But it might be an acknowledgment of our troubles as we lay them before Him (casting our cares upon Him, because He DOES care – 1 Peter 5:7).  This serves as a reminder to us of struggles we are facing, perhaps not of our own doing and out of our hands, that we are going before Him with.  There are many psalms that deal with “complaining” to God, but they all end with a trust in Him and NEVER do they unrighteously accuse Him. 

 II.                   An overwhelmed spirit (3-4)

a.       Overwhelmed seems to indicate a feeling of helplessness. There is a feeling of loneliness.
Be reminded that David is in a cave – a place that can be cold and dark, lonely and confined. Sometimes this is how we feel – overwhelmed and we cannot see the way out. 
We’re not alone in this.  Jesus in the garden – Mark 14:33-35 where He said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.  Stay here and watch.  He then goes farther and falls to the ground and prays. 

b.       You knew my path – David is writing this in retrospect and even though he feels helpless he knows God is there.   He knows everything – Psalm 139:2-4, Hebrews 4:13.  NEVER does he deny this!

c.        They have set a snare for me – David understands the enemy is seeking to entrap.  Saul wanted David to kill him (thinking he could subvert God’s plans). 
We need to continually be alert to what might happen and the ways of the enemies of God - 

d.       There is none who acknowledges me, refuge failed me (there is no escape) – (“I can’t get relief”).  This again is the description of loneliness. 

e.       No one cares for my soul – this is what he thinks.
In actuality, unless this is a time we don’t have recorded, David typically had allies around him.  BUT he was fleeing from those who were supposed to be his friends and care about him.  This is his discouragement – a feeling of betrayal, etc.  He felt alone.  Someone said, Loneliness is not necessarily being alone.  It is FEELING alone.  That is why you can be around people and still be lonely.   
 David is not alone in feeling like this
 – Elijah after the great victory at Mt. Carmel flees and is discouraged – 1 Kings 18 & 19.  Thinks he is the only one following God (1 Kings 19:9-10 – incidentally, he’s in a cave).  He’s wrong!
- Perhaps the ultimate example of this was Jesus on the cross as He cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46).  We may not fully comprehend why He said this, but it expresses a loneliness at least with the psalmist and is uttered by Jesus while in agony on the cross – having been betrayed and abandoned by some of His closest friends.

f.         Who cares?  Worthy of note in this section is that in spite of how we feel, there are those who DO care:

                                                   i.      God cares – 1 Peter 5:6-7, Isaiah 41:10, Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

                                                 ii.      Jesus cares Matthew 11:28-30 – He said to take His yoke.  Hebrews 4:15 – He can sympathize with our weaknesses.

                                                iii.      Your brethren care – 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 – we are body and we are where God wants us that we have the same care for one another (cf. Romans 12:15)
Examples – Titus cared (2 Cor. 8:16); Timothy (Philippians 2:19-20), etc.

                                                iv.      The elders care – Hebrews 13:17

                                                  v.      Your family cares – at least they ought to.

                                                vi.      Can you go to those who care?  Will you?
Again, we need to consider if we are causing others to avoid us?

 III.                 The LORD, his refuge (5-7)

a.       David’s constant realization, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 
God is NOT the one who abandons us.  Yet how often do we blame Him?

b.       Attend to my cry, for I am very low – praying for strength and calm in troubling times.  We are reminded that at such times we need to be praying.  James 5:13, Psalm 50:14-15, Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
Again, Matthew 26:38-39 – as Jesus is in the garden.  His soul was exceedingly sorrowful and He prayed.  Hebrews 5:7 – Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to Him

c.        Deliver me from my persecutors, because they are stronger than I (but NOT stronger than God) – often times the ungodly set out to destroy the godly.  And they are very effective.  The more ungodly a society is, the stronger the ungodly become. 
BUT, while they might win battles in this life, they will NOT defeat God – Romans 8:37 notes that in Him we are more than conquerors.  
Jesus Himself declared that He has overcome the world (John 16:33)
1 Corinthians 15:57 speaks of God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

d.       Bring my soul out of the prison that I may praise your name – there are times when the ungodly put the righteous in positions where they cannot do everything for God they would like to (imprisonment, outlawing the Bible and following Christ, etc.)  
David, in the cave, desires to be free from being pursued so that he can openly praise God. 

e.       The righteous shall surround me – whether a promise to God or a desire to live godly, this is a continuation of his request to be freed from prison.  If freed, he intends to be surrounded with the godly. Friends, while not mentioned in such words, this is one of the solutions to loneliness.  Find the godly and let them surround you and encourage you.  1 Thessalonians 5:14, Hebrews 12:12, Romans 12:10 – be kindly affectionate to one another, etc.

f.         For You will deal bountifully with me – David know that you cannot out give God.  May we learn that as well.  Be reminded of how often we read about the abundance of what He does – 2 Peter 1:11 – we have hope of an entrance supplied abundantly into the everlasting kingdom. 
1 Peter 1:3 – according to His abundant mercy
Romans 2:4 speaks of the riches of His goodness, 9:23 – the riches of His glory, 11:33, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!


David penned this during desperate times.  We too live in desperate times.  Perhaps this psalm has resonated with your life.  If so, just consider where David put his hope.  May we do the same.  Think about it.