An Unemployed Servant of God

Christ is our refuge. He is the place we go when life gets tough. When we feel unclean—flee to Him. When we feel to weary to go on—flee to Him. When we feel the river of loneliness flooding the banks of our lives—flee to Him!

David faced the loss of his job and with it his security and comfort. Everything changes when you lose your job. It is like going from breathing to holding your breath. Everyone else has places to go and things to do—and you have nothing to do and if you went you wouldn't want to spend any money. 

David suffers intense loneliness as he moves to a new location not by choice, and under duress. In First Samuel 21:11 “as he fled from Saul to the Philistine city of Gath,” David wrote Psalms 56 and 70—how to overcome the feelings of loneliness when we are in a foreign situation. 

God loves to be needed, sought, and asked to help. Think of all the times in life you go to places with a struggle in your heart; that is exactly what David felt.  

When you go to camp and it is not one you are comfortable with, or those first hours and days in college, or the military, or when you enter a new career, or move to a new area and maybe it is not as secure as you like, or being left in the hospital or a rest home. There are many times in life we face a lonely struggle. 

And what was the way David prepared for a new location with anticipated struggles? In Psalm 56 we find no less than nine resolves for facing a “distant land” a lonely new place of struggle. Here they are: 

Psalm 56:3-11 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? 5 All day they twist my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They gather together, they hide, they mark my steps, When they lie in wait for my life. 7 Shall they escape by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God! 8 You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? 9 When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. 10 In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), 11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? “ 

Psalm 70:1-5 “Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O Lord! 2 Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life; Let them be turned back and confused who desire my hurt. 3 Let them be turned back because of their shame, who say, “Aha, aha!” 4 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” 5 But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.”

David turned, trusted, and triumphed—that is his pattern. Whether it was the family conflicts and dangers that left him all alone, or this job loss—he always turned to God, trusts in His promises, and is led in triumph. That kind of echoes a New Testament verse we all know doesn’t it?  

2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”  

Can people tell you are turning to God or to despair? Can your wife see you are trusting God or panicking? Does God see you being led in triumph or sinking in pity? Remember we can’t change most of our circumstances—but we can change our attitude in them! 

David suffers intense loneliness as he lives and works with a tough crowd. In First Samuel 22:1 “as he fled from Gath and the Philistines,” David wrote Psalm 34. In First Samuel 22:1-2 “as he moved into a cave at Adullam with an incredibly difficult group of men,” David wrote more Psalms than at any other time in his life. These cave Psalms are 4, 13, 40, 57, 141-142—how to overcome the feelings of loneliness when we are far from home and feel exiled.

I wonder have you ever felt pre historic? If you’ve watched television very much you’ve seen the conditions of what cave men look like. For them life reduced to grunts and groans. And life is an endless pursuit of nothingness at times. I like the way Edna St. Vincent Mallay put it a few years ago she said: "life must go on—I just can’t remember why".  

That’s what I’m talking about—a cave man sort of existence. A life when a vicious swirl of getting up, going to work out of the home or in the home if you’re a mom—dropping into bed exhausted at the end of the day only to find out that the entire month has gone by and falling further behind instead of ahead. That’s the kind of life that I’m talking about and it’s not foreign to most of us. We know what it’s like when it’s hard. 

LIKE DAVID WE NEED TO GLORIFY GOD IN EVERY SITUATION.  Compare 1 Sam. 21:13-15 with the record in Psalm 34: v. 13 “So he changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.” 14 “Then Achish said to his servants, "Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? 15 "Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this [fellow] to play the madman in my presence? Shall this [fellow] come into my house?" (NKJV) 

Psalm 34:1-22  A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed. “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise [shall] continually [be] in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear [of it] and be glad. Psalm 34:3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.”[ HE GIVES GLORY TO GOD] 

1. Psalm 34:4 “I sought the LORD, [even in  tough times he always sought for God] and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.

2. Psalm 34:6 “This poor man cried out, [During tough times he had a proper view of himself; he was poor in spirit as Christ would later say.] and the LORD heard [him,] And saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.”

3. Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD [is] good; [he had a personal experience of God] Blessed [is] the man [who] trusts in Him!”

4. Psalm 34:9 “Oh, fear the LORD, [During tough times he practiced the presence of God, acknowledging Him is to fear him. It changed his behavior. If we believe right we will behave right!] you His saints! [There is] no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good [thing.] 11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Who [is] the man [who] desires life, And loves [many] days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

5. Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the LORD [are] on the righteous, [During tough times he knew he was in touch with God] And His ears [are open] to their cry. 16 The face of the LORD [is] against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 [The righteous] cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD [is] near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many [are] the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”[During tough times the cross is the ultimate refuge] (NKJV) 

Psalm 57:4 “My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men Who are set on fire, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword.

Some practical steps to overcome loneliness are these: 

  • Live with mysteries. We can’t always know why God is allowing circumstances—but we do know we can trust Him to do all things well. Jesus said to His disciples in John 13:7, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
  • Accept your situation. What is unchangeable must be accepted and lived through by God’s grace. As Paul said, we must echo, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)
  • Use lonely times to grow. One of the greatest truths we can discover is that lonely times usually accomplish great discoveries about God. 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.

Guess what he does? Psalm 142:5-7 is the answer. 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 loneliness in your life. Look now and find:

  • When alone I learn that You alone are my true REFUGE. Psalm 142:5a: loneliness means its time to flee to your Refuge. I will believe Your promise and turn to You as my Refuge right now.
  •  When alone I learn that You alone are my true PORTION. Psalm 142:5b:  loneliness means its time to feed on your Portion. I will believe Your promise to be all I need in this hard time.
  •  When alone I learn that You alone are my true LISTENER. Psalm 142:6 'Give heed my cry': loneliness means its time to speak to your Master. I will believe Your promise and pour out all my troubles to You who care for me.
  • When alone I learn that You alone are my true DELIVERER "bring” Psalm 142:7a:  loneliness means its time to trust in your Redeemer. I will believe Your promise and let You rescue me now.
  • When alone I learn that You alone are my true OBJECT OF WORSHIP    Psalm 142:7b:  loneliness means its time to adore your Lord. I will believe Your promise and worship You even when I don’t feel like it.
  • When alone I learn that You alone are my true PROVIDER “surround” Psalm 142:7c:  loneliness means its time to rest in His Sufficient Provision. I will believe Your promise and let You surround me now with everything I need.

So again we ask ourselves—is Christ my refuge? Is that a personal chosen reality or just a fact I’ve heard? God will rock your boat just to see what you will do. Loneliness is a tool to glorify God, to turn and trust and triumph, and to make some great discoveries about God. 

 

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