One of the tactics the enemy of our souls uses against us is the lie that we are alone. Feeling silenced and abandoned we can hide in shame or strive for acceptance, basing our lives on our own perceived worth or lack there-of. However, the lie is exposed when we see God’s great love and faithfulness to us. Those of us who have come from death apart from Him to life in Him are no longer slaves, but God’s children and heirs with Christ (Galatians 4:7). We were once far off but have been bought by the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 2:13). Our position in Him is dependent on who He is. So, who is He, and why is our hope that does not disappoint so great? This week’s reading really puts Him in the right perspective as THE ONE worthy of all praise and glory. He is the Lord, and He has done great things because He is great!!
S: Psalm 142: 1-5 (NIV)
1I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
O: David wrote this while he was in a cave, escaping unjust threat of death. His need for rescue was a felt need. Not often, if ever, do we feel the extent of our true need for God, yet every moment of every day the reality is that we need Him. Not only is it He who breathed His breath into our lives, but He is also the One who apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal value (see John 15:5 and surrounding context). Who are we that He should be mindful of us? Yet, He cares for us (Psalm 8:4-8).
Not only does the Maker of heaven and earth care for us, but He invites and indeed gives the imperative that we cast our cares on Him and He will act for our good because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7 and Psalms 55:22). David models this well in the trusting manner in which he brings his concerns to the One who cares. It is not holy, faithful, or trusting to keep your concerns to yourself and to pray (or not pray) in a way that is not also authentic and bold. Hebrews 4: 16 implores the believer to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.” To what end? “So that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.” How is it that we can have this confidence? Verses 14 and 15 reveal that our confidence is in Jesus the Son of God who has ascended into heaven and is our high priest who has been tested and revealed as perfect yet empathizes with us in our weaknesses. We are not alone. We are deeply cared for and loved, and with this confidence David trusted that his complaint would be heard by the Lord and that the Lord would actively care for him.
David knew who he was trusting in. David appealed to Him based on who He is and the relationship he had with Him. It wasn’t a blind trust or wishful thinking, but a faith based on the intimate knowledge of and firm foundation in the One who had rescued David in the past, rescued him in the moment, and would rescue him in the future. His hope was firmly placed and secure. When he cried out he knew he would be heard. When he made his complaint he knew His Father cared and would do something that was good. Looking ahead, we see that the goodness that God gave to him in this moment, and all other moments, led to the worship of God. When God rescues it is for our good and for His glory, for it is good that we should worship the Lord!
A: How do we apply this to our lives?
- Embrace our neediness! This really is counter-cultural, for who among us wants to admit a lack of self-sufficiency. However, it’s when we realize our need and accept God’s provision for it that we are able to enter into a relationship with God and stand in His grace (see Romans 5…really, read the whole thing…it’s amazing)! This is the good news of the gospel; sin has separated us, but His grace draws us near. It’s what Jesus came to preach; we can have peace with God (Ephesians 2:17).
- Cast your cares upon Him! Which cares should you cast on Him? Only the really big ones? His Word does not differentiate, but only says to cast your cares on Him…all of them! What if you don’t trust that He cares? Be honest with Him about that and ask Him to help you see His love and care in your life. When you notice it, pray it back to Him in grateful worship! He is intimately aware of you. He formed you and knows you. There is nothing that is hidden from Him, and He longs for you to turn to Him in exactly the place that you are to find in Him all that you need for life. Every moment. Every day. For all of eternity. Bring all of who you are to Him. There is no greater love!
- Know who you are putting your trust in. It’s not enough to know about Him, but to really know someone you have to spend time with them, hearing their heart, observing them in action, learning what they like and what they don’t like. So how does one do this with God? Read His Word, pray without ceasing, participate in the life of His family – the Body of Christ, obey His Word and experience the fruit of His Spirit as you align your life with His. These are not things that we check off of a list to feel accomplished, but a way of life that is given to us through His grace. His kindness leads us to wanting more of Him, to “taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8).
P: Lord, forgive us for the times we want to grow out of our need for You (or think that we have no need of You). We acknowledge that apart from You we could do nothing. May we not want to live apart from You! Forgive us for the times we don’t bring our complaints directly to You; for not trusting that You care. You are trustworthy and good! We can see Your hand in our lives; Your rescue; You being our refuge. We have tasted and seen that You are good, that You are faithful and true, that You are worthy of all praise and worship. All glory belongs to You! Forgive us when we try to take it for ourselves. Purify our hearts and minds to live in alignment with You and Your purposes. Grow in us a hunger and thirst for You and may we praise You with our whole lives, living in Your grace and mercy for Your name’s sake. In the name of the One in whom we are saved, Amen.