Discover the Book - Aug. 17, 2008
Bring My Soul Out of Prison
THERE ARE NO SUPER SAINTS! We all struggle with the same challenges in life—that is the message of James 5:17.
- James 5:17 “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.”
The only other time this word "with a nature like people of Lystra" was used (Acts 14:15) they were human and not divine. Sometimes we need to realize the same thing. God's greatest servants—David, Paul, and Elijah are made of the same stuff we are. Their greatness is of God not of themselves.
GOD WANTS TO USE US. Life is hard, and people all around us struggle. Here is what one wife and mother who was active in church, had a wonderful home and marriage once said: "Eyes get red from weeping. The heavy weights of sorrow press down. Depression, that serpent of despair, slithers silently through the soul's back door."
Depression is debilitating, defeating, deepening gloom.
Trudging wearily through the grocery store, unable to make a simple choice, or to count out correct change.
Surveying an unbelievably messy house, piles of laundry, work undone, and not being able to lift a finger.
Doubting that God cares, doubting in my prayers, doubting He's even there.
Sitting, staring wild-eyed into space, desperately wanting out of the human race.
So how can God use us? By each of us learning from the Scriptures and then applying them to our own lives.
In Psalm 142 we find David’s testimony that explains how he kept from being sidelined and paralyzed by depression. This is a divine insight into something as James said that we are all "subject to like passions”.
Here is David’s cry from the cave in Psalm 142:
“1 I cry out to the Lord with my voice; With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. 2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. 4 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. 5 I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. 6 Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. 7 Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.”
David is at the depth of loneliness. He has been on the run for years and now he is hiding in a desolate cave in a crowd of malcontents, feeling very much alone. He has two choices. Stay in the cave of loneliness, descend into self-pity and sin or look up and use the time alone to grow.
Psalm 142 is the classic confession of David when he was a caveman, alone and depressed. God satisfied him completely as he discovered great things about God. Remember, a heart that flees to God for refuge, will always be satisfied.
That is the summary of the Life of David. What do we find as we examine the life of David? DAVID was always fleeing to Christ as his refuge. In this overview of the dark days in David’s life, we see how his needs were always met by the Lord.
1. Cave times are usually accompanied by great distress. (v. 3-4) Psalm 142:3-4 “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. 4 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.”
In the middle of great troubles there are usually some associated symptoms of depression.
- David felt overwhelmed in spirit (v.3a): "Roof caving in!"; "Everything going wrong at once!"; "Always happens to me!"; "Not now!"; "I have some bad news".
- David thought his adversaries had hidden a trap for me (v.3b): "They're all after me"; "I've been railroaded"; "Framed".
- David feared that no one regards me (v.4a): "No one called "; "I'm a nobody"; "Poor me"; "I'm all alone".
- David also feared that there was no escape for me (v.4b): "One-way trip to nowhere"; "You're TOO old"; "I'm sorry but the qualifications for this position"
- Finally, David felt that no one cares for my soul (v.4c). Have you ever let THESE DEADENING THOUGHT CROSS YOUR MIND? They will bring gloom as fast as a storm front in a summer's thunderstorm. But hold on -
2. Cave times usually accomplish great discoveries about God (v. 5-7) Psalm 142:5-7 “I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. 6 Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. 7 Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.”
Cave times open ways we never dreamed of for knowing God intimately. As we look there, why don’t you take a moment and mark these for someone else who may need them someday. Or even for you if you ever feel the twinge of depression in your life. Look now and find:
When depressed I learn that You alone are my true REFUGE (any time, any where) Psalm 142:5a: depression means its time to flee to the Lord my Refuge. I will believe Your promise and turn to You as my Refuge right now.
When depressed I learn that You alone are my true PORTION (just what I need). Psalm 142:5b: depression means its time to feed on the Lord my Portion. I will believe Your promise to be all I need in this hard time.
When depressed I learn that You alone are my true LISTENER (who cares and hears). Psalm 142:6 'Give heed my cry': depression means its time to speak to the Lord my Master. I will believe Your promise and pour out all my troubles to You who care for me.
When depressed I learn that You alone are my true DELIVERER (comes and helps) "bring” Psalm 142:7a: depression means its time to trust in the Lord my Redeemer. I will believe Your promise and let You rescue me now.
When depressed I learn that You alone are my true OBJECT OF WORSHIP (loves and accepts my worship) Psalm 142:7b: depression means its time to offer worship to the Lord my Lord. I will believe Your promise and worship You even when I don’t feel like it.
When depressed I learn that You alone are my true PROVIDER “surround” Psalm 142:7c: depression means its time to rest in the Lord my Provider. I will believe Your promise and let You surround me now with everything I need.
Cave life yields great discoveries about God. David sings them in Psalm 142. Listen to the confessions of this caveman:
- “Lord of Refuge, You are my Portion” ( v.5),
- “O Listening One, hear my cry and Rescue me (v.6).
- “My God who Provides the righteous to gather about me, You are Sufficient” (v. 7).
3. Cave times allow us to apply what we know is true about our God! Now to the conclusion as the caveman confesses the end result of acting upon these great discoveries about God that he made in Psalm 57. Do you remember them from last time? David applies all those truths to his heart!
- v.1a - God is Gracious (Exodus 33:12 – 34:6), that means that God is gracious to even save us we are so sinful!
- v.1b – God is Refuge. He said He is (Psalm 142:5), Look at Psalm 91. God is our shelter, protection, covering and shade. The cross is our safe harbor Hebrews 6:19 – anchored!
- v.2 – God is able—He accomplishes.
- v.5 Solution –focus on God. God saves.
- v.7a – God Establishes. See Psalm 40 He inclined to me, heard my cry, brought me up, Set my feet, Put a new song.
- v.7b – God makes us praise through sorrow
- v.8-9 – God makes us thankful
- v.9b – God opens an audience to us
- v. 10 – God is loyal. Lamentations 3 - mercies fail not.
- v.11 – God uses our adoring His name--to pull us out of the cave to Him!
Martin Luther, commented on the psalmist: “'David must have been plagued by a very fearful devil. He could not have had such profound insights if he had not experienced great assaults.’ Luther felt that those who are predisposed to fall into despondency as well as to rise into ecstasy may be able to view reality from an angle different from that of ordinary folk.”
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.
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