You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.
Psalm 142 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Prayer for Help in Trouble.
Maskil of David, when he was in the cave.
I cry aloud with my voice
to the Lord;
I make supplication with my voice to the Lord.
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see;
For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.
5 I cried out to You, O Lord;
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
6 “Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are too strong for me.
7 “Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name;
The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me.”
The heading of today’s text says that it was written by David when he was hiding in a cave. David had been chosen and anointed to become king in place of Saul. It was Saul and his men that David was hiding from. In the text David says: Give heed to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors. On two different occasions David had opportunities to kill Saul and claim the kingdom as his own. It was not as if David had never killed a man, he killed Goliath the giant. David was known as a mighty warrior, in 1 Samuel 18:7 it says: As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Yet, when the opportunity for David to kill his rival, the one who was persuing him, presented itself, David’s response was that he would not touch the Lord’s anointed. That’s how great David’s respect for the Lord’s ordained authority was. Surely we could use a little of that type of respect for our leaders today. In Romans 13:1-2 Paul says: Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. Keep in mind that Paul wrote this while he himself was subject to and a prisoner of the oppressive Roman Empire. Paul wrote this even though Jesus, his Lord and Savior had been crucified at the hands of that same Roman authority. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus Himself says: I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
Sadly it is not just political authority which is no longer honored or respected in our culture and society. Legal authority, the police and the courts are no longer respected. Parents are no longer respected by children because our culture and society has taught and indoctrinated them not to respect authority. In Mark 13:12 Jesus, speaking about the end times says: Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. In Matthew 24:12 He says: Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. Some will say that these are signs of a progressive society; that we are rejecting outdated ways of thinking. In truth though, what we are progressing toward is not a better system, but rather to a time such as David cried our for. We are moving closer to the time when God Himself will intervene; when at last the prayer that Jesus taught will be fulfilled and His kingdom will come and His will, will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God Himself will do it.
The psalmist says: I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living. Regardless of the circumstances or situations we face in this life, God is our portion and our refuge. As believers in Christ, we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, so while we are subject to the authorities on earth, we are ultimately subject to and protected by the highest authority. In Deuteronomy 31:6 God says: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” In John 16:33 Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” We need to have the confidence of the psalmist, who says in Psalm 56:11: In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? And in Psalm 23:4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.
I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord; I make supplication with my voice to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him… “Give heed to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are too strong for me. “Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me.” Amen. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.