Read Psalm 142:1-7
I do not like caves. When I visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, I could hardly wait to get out. Thus, I somewhat understand David's distress as he wrote this psalm while hiding from Saul in a cave. In his distress, he looked in four directions.
First, David looked within. "I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path" (vv. 1-3). He looked within and said, "Look, I'm in trouble; I'm complaining; I'm overwhelmed." Introspection sometimes can be good for you, but don't spend too much time looking within, or you will get discouraged.
Then David looked around, hoping to find help. "Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul" (v. 4). Do you ever feel like that? Do you look around and say, "Nobody even cares--everyone is bearing his own burdens, and nobody wants to share mine"? Perhaps in those situations you should take time to bear other people's burdens--then they might be interested in your concerns.
After looking within and around and finding only discouragement, David looked up. "I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living"' (v. 5). In other words, "God, you're going to hear my cry. You're going to deliver me from my persecutors; they are stronger than I am."
Finally, David looked ahead. "Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; the righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me" (v. 7). After you have seen the glory and the blessing of the Lord, you can look ahead with confidence.
* * *
Perhaps you are in a cave of discouragement today. Your hope lies not within yourself or with your circumstances. Look to the Lord and obey His Word. Then look ahead with confidence, for God's promises are sure and His Word is true.
Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (bakerpublishinggroup.com). Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from Baker Publishing Group.