While David’s first response to fear wasn’t a panicked plea for help, he didn’t live in denial. He merely chose to celebrate God’s power and to recall His past triumphs. Eventually, however, David did ask the Lord for what he needed. No longer panicked, he expressed his desires with intense emotion.
Petition for Needs
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the LORD will take me up.
Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
Rather than digging into these verses one by one, let’s view them altogether. I want you to look back and take special note of the strong imperatives (the commands) in these verses.
Verse 7: “Hear . . . be gracious . . . answer me!”
Verse 9: “Do not hide Your face . . . . Do not turn . . . . Do not abandon . . . nor forsake me!”
Verse 11: “Teach me . . . lead me!”
Verse 12: “Do not deliver me over to . . . my adversaries!”
I don’t find David taking it easy, yawning, and uttering a halfhearted request. I read boldness here—a determined, positive approach to God. He presents a respectful series of very practical commands. With unguarded, unrestrained fervency, the songwriter declares his requests, knowing they are in line with God’s will. In other words, David didn’t ask for anything God has not already promised. We would do well to imitate the fearful psalmist by offering this kind of prayer today. After all, the Lord already wants to fulfill these requests. Listen to three other verses on the same subject:
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
As I read these statements, I am reproved by the hesitancy, the lack of fervency in too many of our prayers. We lack confident boldness in our prayers. We are to ask as though we mean it! Our Lord is pleased when we ask in boldness and without doubting.
Before turning to the final stanza of David’s song, take special note of verse 10. “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.” Nestled within the list of requests, we find a brief, candid admission from David’s heart. His parents, for some unrevealed reason, had “forsaken” him. The original Hebrew term means “to leave, desert, abandon.” I find it intriguing that David’s own parents had turned their backs on their son, even though he was a godly man. Equally interesting is David’s security as he declares, “But the Lord will take me up.”
Do you remember the moving words of Isaiah 49:15–16? What hope they offer!
Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.
The prophet, speaking for God, says that mothers may forget their infant babies, but the Lord does not forget one of His own. That, my friend, includes you.
Have you been forsaken? Have your parents turned against you? Even though you have tried to maintain a healthy relationship with them, have they misread your messages? Are they on a different wavelength? Refuse to become bitter. Claim the security your Lord promises you. You have nothing to fear because you have Him who has conquered fear. His care is more consistent than that of your parents.
From Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.