Asking God for Help

David’s dark song, Psalm 142, concludes with a final request and a bold prediction. 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. (142:7) In 142:5–6, David asked the Lord to change his circumstances: to deal justly with his persecutors and to honor His promise to make David king.

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Crying Aloud from the Darkness

David’s depression most likely resulted from an unusually long period of stress. The superscript for Psalm 142, identifying David’s circumstances as “in the cave,” probably refers to the cave of Adullam. To appreciate the context, observe the first two verses of 1 Samuel 22: So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him.

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Opening to God

Before David closes hymn 139, he makes a final request of God in verses 23–24. The words are familiar to many Christians. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

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Teachability

David’s song, preserved for us as Psalm 131, says that he does not involve himself in great matters or “things too difficult for him.” The idea here is that he doesn’t pursue places of prominence or greatness. He recognizes his own limitations based on an honest assessment of his knowledge and skills, and he feels no need to play the hero. He simply doesn’t have anything to prove.

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Response to Others

Psalm 101, David’s spiritual manifesto in song, began with a list of admirable qualities the king desired to cultivate. He then took a good look around him to determine how he would respond to different kinds of individuals based on their positive or negative influence. The Blameless. He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. (101:6b)

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A Life of Purpose

Some people seem to drift aimlessly through life, headed in no specific direction. Without clearly defined objectives, it is not surprising that many adopt a lifestyle that lacks definition and purpose. I know a few folks who sort of take life as it comes; no big deal. Reminds me of the time I had been invited to a college campus to speak. On my way to the meeting hall, I met a fellow who was obviously apathetic.

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God-Given Authority

King Nebuchadnezzar enjoyed the kind of power and privilege no single human had ever experienced. He built an empire that eventually swallowed two other great civilizations, Assyria and Egypt. At the time, no one man controlled more of the world than he. According to the man’s written testimony, Nebuchadnezzar became intoxicated by his own wealth and power.

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The Deepest Need

David’s song of the thirsty soul, preserved for us as Psalm 63, may resonate deeply with you. Perhaps you have finally come to the end of rat-race religion. Hopefully, you have decided to leave the hurry-worry sindrome and find complete satisfaction in the Savior, in the worship of Him alone. If so, you are rare.

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Leave Vengeance to God

David could have written a whole book of poems lamenting the host of enemies surrounding him. Enemies in Saul’s court. Enemies among the priests. Enemies in the surrounding territories. Enemies everywhere! But in Psalm 54, he devotes only three lines (54:1–3) to naming his problem people. He, instead, quickly turned his mind’s eye to focus on his divine advocate.

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Consider the Source

Imagine David wilting under a bush or slumped in a cave, pouring out his feelings in Psalm 54, begging the Lord for help. The first three verses are a prayer with emphasis on the enemy. The spotlight then turns to the composer’s divine defender as the next two verses form a picture. The last two verses are words of praise as David focuses on his own history with God.

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