Christ is Our Lifelong Refuge from Loneliness
In I Samuel 22, we will come to the fifth of the twelve severe times in David’s life portrayed in the Psalms.
David suffers intense loneliness as he feels abandoned while he begins to live and work with a tough crowd. In First Samuel 22:1-2 “He moved into a cave at Adullam with an incredibly difficult group of men.”
David could have been overcome with fear and grief and despair—but God held him up. In latter life David looked back on these times and wrote another Psalm. David had found a place he could always reach for safety and security—in any situation. The Lord was his refuge; the Lord is our refuge also. Christ our refuge is the safest spot in the Universe. He is the place we go when life gets tough.
Psalm 70 is the final Psalm from this time in David’s life. It is reflective as he looks back on this time and shares the Lord!
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.”
Some practical steps to overcome loneliness are these:
Cry to God when life is hollow: Life was so bad at this time that David says four times in verses 1, 5—make haste, come now, don’t wait, hasten. He says Lord, I am not going to make it in this job, this marriage, this family, this sickness, this disaster. Quickly come, I am sinking and am going to perish.
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)
Don’t be surprised by troubles: For a moment think about whom this is—David the man after God’s heart. David the one Jesus is named after (Son of David)—and he had such a difficult life. Come to think of it, so did Moses, and Elijah, and Paul, and Peter—in fact, they all seem to have a hard life. If we look to the end of this Psalm we find in the conclusion the real goal God has for us. Real victory in life is not evading and escaping the majority of troubles that head our way. No, it is to seek that God be exalted through my life whatever He chooses to do with me and all my hard times.
Though we at times are desperate—God is not: He knows what is coming before it ever starts. God is managing every detail. What does David do in verse 4? He prays for others who sought God. What does that say to us? When we are alone and struggling, it is the perfect time to pray for others who may be going through what we are facing. Here is a simple plan we can remember:
Are you sick? Then pray for others who are sick—you know what they are going through! Are you abused by co-workers, family members, or classmates? Then pray for others going through the same pains and hurts. Are you in a dead end job? Then pray for hope for others that also face the daily struggle of what to do to survive in the days ahead. Are you successful and tempted to be selfish? Then pray for others you know who are also experiencing prosperity and ask God to keep them from selfishness and pride.
All of this was intended by God to prepare David for the throne—and how it did. What a great king he was.
We can learn profound lessons from God’s creation. A mother eagle shows its love for its young by destroying the nest. Without this rude and painful start in their lives they would be too comfortable to ever learn to soar. Though they protest loudly, the destruction continues until it is too painful to sit on all those sharp sticks—and they take flight. So God allows irritants.
One final lesson, the message of Psalm 56, 34 and 70, is summarized in one of Paul’s most repeated exhortations found in Philippians 4:6-7. If we could summarize these two verses they would say in the form of two imperatives: “Worry about nothing; pray about everything!”
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.”
What simple lessons can we find in cave times? 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. He can stay in the cave of loneliness and descend into self-pity and sin or look up and use the time alone to grow.
Guess what David does? Psalm 142:5-7 is the answer.
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 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.
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.
Are you feeling the loneliness of youth? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of life facing family conflict and danger? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of job loss, and family separation? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of moving to a new location that is very foreign to you? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of living and working with a tough crowd? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of unemployment and unsettled home life? Jesus says I am always with you!
Are you feeling the loneliness of betrayal by friends? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of being wronged in a business deal? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of the complete loss of your family, friends, and finances? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of temptation and failure? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of chastisement and restoration? Jesus says I am always with you! Are you feeling the loneliness of old age? Jesus says I am always with you!
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