Do those words sound like words spoken by a moody teenager? A whiny, needy woman who just wants a little help around the house? A man feeling frustrated and overworked at his job?
They could have been spoken by anyone living today. But they were actually spoken several thousand years ago by David, before he became king (Psalm 142:4).
I chuckled when I read those words. How many times have I said something like that? Sometimes it's easy for me to forget that the Old Testament stories aren't stories. They're accounts of real people with real problems and real emotions who have felt the way I have felt, thought the same thoughts, and said many of the same things I have.
Here's what David wrote:
A psalm of David, regarding his experience in the cave. A prayer.
I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles.
When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me.
I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.
Then I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”
If there ever was a person who should be entitled to a pity party, it would be David. When David wrote this psalm, he had some SERIOUS stuff going on. He was on the run from Saul and spent many years hiding in caves for protection because Saul was convinced David was going to kill him for his throne. Can you imagine the stress David was under? Never knowing from one moment to the next how close Saul was? Being tired and weary and not having your family or best friend for support? Can you imagine being under that constant state of stress and anxiety?
Maybe you can...because right now you're living a modern day version of the oppression, stress, and anxiety David was feeling.
Maybe you feel sick with dread every Sunday evening because you've got to go to work on Monday to a stressful/hostile place.No doubt you've said the same thing David and I have said, "Nobody cares about me! Not even God!"
Maybe you find excuses to work late because going home means one more argument with your spouse.
Maybe you can't handle one more day at school...the teasing, the rudeness, the bullying of your classmates...it makes you want to go away for good.
Maybe, no matter which way you turn, you feel like someone has it in for you and, no matter what you do, you just can't win.
But check out what David did: David CRIED out to God, BEGGED God, and CONFIDED in God. David acknowledged that he had no place to go but God. He was forced into complete and utter dependence on God. And that's exactly where God wants us...to be completely dependent on him. He's waiting for us to ask Him for His help. If you're hiding in a cave today and you're not even sure what to pray, why not try praying what someone who's already been there has prayed?
“You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”
Just to remind you, God heard David's prayer and He rescued him. David made it out of the cave and into the castle.
PS - if you want to read about David's cave experience, check out 1 Samuel 21-27.