Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 21, 2009

Loneliness | Psalm 142

David  The book of First Samuel gives us insight into the events of David’s life. David’s psalms give us insight into his heart. David wrote psalms to God even in times of isolation and loneliness. The heading of Psalm 142 relates the psalm to a time when David was hiding in a cave. First Samuel describes a time when David took refuge in a cave at Adullam (1 Sam. 22:1-5) and in a cave in the wilderness of Engedi (1 Sam. 24). First Samuel 22:1-5 certainly describes the type of experience that led David to write Psalm 142. Persons experiencing loneliness will find that this psalm can speak for them as much as it speaks to them.

David knew where to turn for help in times of trouble. Frightened and confused, David cried aloud to God from the dark recesses of the cave. David’s urgent cries shattered the silence as he sought help and understanding from God. He took all his troubles to God (Ps. 142:1), because he knew that God is the God of mercy and care. He was confident the Lord would sustain and protect him from Saul’s murderous intentions. Like David, we can cry out to God in times of loneliness (see Heb. 4:16). We too can pour out our complaints to God and tell Him of our troubles (Ps. 142:2).

David was utterly exhausted and overwhelmed by his situation (Ps. 142:3a). He did not understand why he was being hunted like a dangerous animal (see 1 Sam. 20:1). The pressure of having to constantly run and hide from Saul eventually took its toll on David’s emotions. However, he confidently asserted that God was intimately acquainted with his situation. David believed that God knew of the injustice that had forced him to flee from Saul. The conviction that God knows all about our troubles can be a great source of comfort in times of loneliness and desperation.

In times of loneliness we can take every concern to God with the assurance that He will listen with an understanding heart. God is acquainted with every situation that touches our lives and every emotion that flows through our hearts (see Ps. 139:1-6). Knowing that God listens, understands, and cares for us can restore hope in times of loneliness. Fortunately, God is always available. We can call upon God at any time with the assurance that He hears and will respond to our lonely cries.

David knew what it meant to be popular and to be loved by the masses. When He returned from killing Goliath he was greeted with dancing and singing in the streets (1 Sam. 18:6-7). The nation shouted his praise. As a military commander, his popularity increased with every successful military campaign (1 Sam. 18:14-16). The Bible records, “all Israel and Judah loved David” (1 Sam. 18:16). But, on the night David secretly fled from Saul, he was utterly alone. He escaped through a window and quietly slipped away into the darkness (1 Sam. 19:12). No fanfare. No friends. Not a single companion at his side.

David knew that his path was plagued with danger. He was a wanted man and the object of Saul’s mad obsession (1 Sam. 19:1). Every stranger represented a potential threat to his life. As a fugitive traveling alone, David felt vulnerable. He complained to God that his enemies were out to trap him (Ps. 142:3b). He longed for someone to help him, but felt that no one was concerned for him. He looked to his right, the place where a person’s legal witness or council stood, but saw no one — not a single person to offer help or encouragement. I have no refuge, David lamented. “No one cares for my soul,” he complained (Ps. 142:4).

David knew God cared for him when no one else did. He found refuge or protection from danger in God — his only true hiding place and portion or hope (Ps. 142:5). David recognized that his pursuers were too strong for him (Ps. 142:6), but knew God was stronger than them. King Saul had the power of the government and the military at his disposal. David had God (see Rom. 8:31). David believed that God would see him through his difficulties. He cried to God from the dark recesses of the cave — “Bring my soul out of prison” (Ps. 142:7a). The word prison may be a metaphor for David’s desperate situation or may actually refer to the cave in which he was hiding. Regardless, David knew that deliverance from his prison could come only from God and would result in grateful praise (Ps. 142:7a). Like David, we can be assured that God cares for us even when the whole world seems to have turned on us. Life’s bleakest situations can become times of deep fellowship with God through honest, sincere prayer. When we find ourselves abandoned by others and facing desperate situations, we can count on God to care for us.

David promised to tell others about the rescue God would provide and to worship and praise God because of it. Answered prayer should result in expressions of gratitude. David expected God to deal bountifully with him and to allow him to again enjoy fellowship with others. He looked forward to the day when he would no longer be alone, but would be in the company of the righteous — God’s people (Ps. 142:7b). David’s period of loneliness led him to a new appreciation and understanding of the importance of fellowship with God’s people.

God desires that the Christian community becomes an ongoing representation of His love and care. Persons experiencing loneliness or suffering difficulties need to lean on the support of God’s people. And God’s people should give these individuals support. Someone wisely cautioned that Satan is a pirate looking for a vessel without a fleet. A lonely vessel is vulnerable to attack. Perhaps you know someone who is sailing troubled waters without the support of others. If so, determine to sail alongside them. Your support may keep them from drifting aimlessly on a sea of loneliness or drowning in a storm of difficulties.

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