This post is a contribution by a B4Ter working in the Arab world.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life (Psalm 142:4).
David went through a number of very difficult times in his life. We see his mental and emotional angst, as well as some description of his physical suffering, in many of his Psalms. In Psalm 142:4, I was struck by his complete lack of hope. What an amazingly honest glimpse he gives us into his soul. “There is no one…”; “No one is concerned for me…”; “I have no refuge”; “no one cares for my life.”
Yet, in his honest hopelessness, he remembers to cry out to the LORD: I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5).
Isn’t it amazing that in the very next verse he remembers that he does have a refuge! He declares it: “You are my refuge”! After all I’ve learned and know about the Living God, I still so often fail to make Him my first cry for help. A complaint, a phone call, or an email is too often my first response rather than to join David in crying, “You are my refuge”!
David is intellectually honest. He doesn’t pretend he has no problems and recite Bible verses. He continues his cry for help in vv.6-7:
6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
It is good to ask the LORD to listen to our cries. We, like David, are in desperate need. The things we need to be rescued from are every bit too strong for us as David’s were for him. I need to be set free from my prison, often-but-not-always of my own making, that I may praise His Name. The more we are in David’s situation, the more opportunities to praise Him before those we are called to serve after He delivers us.
“Let the people praise you, oh God! Let all the people praise you!” – Psalm 67:3 and 5