Sunday, May 27, 2018

Prayer from the cave

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Job 29-31; Psalm 142

“Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For you shall deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142:7

It’s interesting to know the circumstances that sparked a piece of writing. Under Psalm 142’s title is a note that gives us a clue about this psalm: “A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.”

My Bible’s notes cite two instances this might have been: the Cave of Adullum (2 Samuel 22) or En Gedi (1 Samuel 24). In both cases he was on the run from King Saul, his father-in-law, former boss, and man to whom he had shown nothing but loyalty and respect. His physical life was in danger, the rift between them was deeply personal and hurtful, and he was forced to live in settings (like this cave) that were inconvenient, physically demanding, and challenging. Considering all that, we would not be surprised if he were angry, resentful, vengeful, full of self-pity, even shaking his fist at God.

But that was not his stance in this contemplation.

Instead he:
1] Consoled himself in God’s knowledge and awareness of him--God's omniscience:
“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path” - Psalm 142:3.

2] Begged God for His help:
“I cried out to You Lord;
Attend to my cry…
Deliver me from my persecutors…
Bring my soul out of prison…" - Psalm 142:5,6.

3]  Affirmed his faith in God’s goodness:
“For You shall deal bountifully with me” - Psalm 142:7.

Perhaps we could use Psalm 142 as a model next time we’re in a “cave”:
- Remind ourselves that God knows and sees us and everything about and around us (Psalm 139).
- Pour out our requests to God. Make a list, write a journal entry, enumerate these things on our prayer list…
- End with faith and affirmations of God’s goodness. Use David’s (“For you shall deal bountifully with me” - Psalm 142:7) or compile a list of your own.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You that You supervise my bad times as well as my good. Help me to develop a theology of suffering that is faith- and hope-filled. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 142

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

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