Cries from a Dark Place

Lord, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:1-2 NKJV

In the day before yesterday we left off with David hiding in caves and being hunted by Saul, who was, without hesitation, going to kill David. And the Philistines captured him in Gath. Poor David was really having a rough go of things – pretty much everyone was an enemy. We have all had times when we felt people were against us or that everything was against us and thankfully we have these words of David which are like greeting cards bringing us comfort and redirecting our eyes on the Lord.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the book of Psalms chapters 56, 120, & 140-142 (embedded below for your convenience). Here is a short devotional about today’s reading to help us think about how to apply these Psalms in times of need by looking at Psalm 141.

Just this morning, if I was to be honest – I cried out to God and begged Him to hear me, which doesn’t mean to just let it enter His ear, but for it to enter His ear, and for Him to respond with some sort of intervention. “Make haste to me!”

You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? 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 56:8-11 NKJV
Every time – David get real and raw with God.  He puts into words things you and I want to just say to God: “Well, You know.” But God wants us raw and honest and to tell Him it all – I have this enemy and I make it all worse because I have this flesh and this sin and I have this situation which is bigger than me and I made a mess of things and I can’t do it without you……

David has an understanding of God’s holiness and the principles set in place to approach God – yet without the tabernacle (since it and the priests are obviously NOT in the caves with him) – David goes boldly and directly to God. This is one of the reasons David is known as a man after God’s heart.  However, David still applies the tabernacle design when approaching God in prayer:
Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

After approaching God in love and reverence to the design God has shared with us – out of his moment of pain, in the darkness of the caves – in honesty and realness – we watch David quickly become undone.  I know this experience well.  Here I am hurting and needing God and as I approach Him – I forget those woes as I realize I am a sinful mess even at my best. I need God to help me! Help me with my mouth! It needs to be shut when it needs to be shut and open when He says to speak! An ongoing lesson as long as we live.

My heart inclines naturally to evil – we are all sinners with this compulsion towards sin. And we need God in order to even need God – we are just that frail and undone! So of course this initial realization of God’s holiness in His presence (because He did respond when we cried) exposes us as filthy sinners in juxtaposition to His holiness.

Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it.”
We are sinners worthy of reproach, discipline, correction – and moreover death – because the wages of sin are death!  Yet in verse 5 we also see grace and redemption! Forgiveness and the ability to be cleansed. If not, would David have been able to complete the Psalm?

So David repents and finds forgiveness – and is able to become righteous, through faith as a gift from God, enough to remain in God’s presence in order to circle back to his original petitions as he completes verse 5 with:
“For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.”

I love David! One of my favorite people in the Bible. He is zealous for God – runs in headlong with no thought of consequences! God said it and that is enough! (Unfortunately he gets swept up in sin the same way – I too run clumsily and zealously into whatever God says and lack the reserve that comes with caution for consequences and unfortunately I too get swept up in sin the same way.)

So David’s prayer here is specifically against those who are coming against him – so David prays that God will throw them off the cliff?! Other Psalms today ask for rain of burning coals on them!  Wow David has some very creative vengeance… And God knows that David is venting and doesn’t count it as sin – but David also doesn’t plan to actually try to seek vengeance on his own. I have prayed that certain liars would have their mouths burn on fire when they lied – and that David’s Psalms against his enemies would be true against my enemies!!! Oh how I relate to David and his flair for poetic drama! Like verse 7 – we are so dead we are scattered bones at the mouth of our own graves! Oh poor me! He can throw a pity party like no one else (except maybe me)!!!

Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.”
This is a great prayer! I don’t know about you but I have seen a pattern. Something entices me and then my flesh engages and that is temptation. Then something whispers in my ear keeping my mind going back to it – this pattern is of course how we are trapped and ensnared by sin.  We definitely NEVER own up to our portion of sin enough (as a population in general and not you or me specifically). It is just so easy to say the enemy tempted me when many times we have tempted ourselves. (So much so that we did a whole study on it last year!)  But this prayer is against the actual traps. 

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, While I escape safely.” Amen!

Now let us circle back to verse 8 – because I saved the best for last!

But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; In You I take refuge; Do not leave my soul destitute.”
The most important thing for us to learn here today is that David kept his eyes on God! God was his refuge and never left his soul destitute.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 NKJV

Seek, like keep your eyes on the prize, like put God first in all things, like take it all to God and be real about it (He knows anyway, but we need to confess it).  David understood this. So, even though David was a mess – God loved Him and made David king.

If we respond to God the same way as David – God will make us into princesses and princes of His kingdom and fulfill all of His promises to us.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Psalms chapters 56, 120, & 140-142 NKJV

Psalm 56

Prayer for Relief from Tormentors

To the Chief Musician. Set to [a]“The Silent Dove in Distant Lands.” A Michtam of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.

56 Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
My enemies would hound me all day,
For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.

Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?

All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
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?

12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
13 For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 56:1 Heb. Jonath Elem Rechokim

Psalm 120

Plea for Relief from Bitter Foes

A Song of Ascents.

120 In my distress I cried to the Lord,
And He heard me.
Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips
And from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given to you,
Or what shall be done to you,
You false tongue?
Sharp arrows of the [a]warrior,
With coals of the broom tree!

Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech,
That I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
My soul has dwelt too long
With one who hates peace.
am for peace;
But when I speak, they are for war.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 120:4 mighty one

Psalm 140 – 142

Prayer for Deliverance from Evil Men

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

140 Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who plan evil things in their hearts;
They continually gather together for war.
They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;
The poison of asps is under their lips. Selah

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who have purposed to make my steps stumble.
The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set traps for me. Selah

I said to the Lord: “You are my God;
Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.
O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have [a]covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
Do not further his wicked scheme,
Lest they be exalted. Selah

As for the head of those who surround me,
Let the evil of their lips cover them;
10 Let burning coals fall upon them;
Let them be cast into the fire,
Into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
11 Let not a slanderer be established in the earth;
Let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him.

12 I know that the Lord will maintain
The cause of the afflicted,
And justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name;
The upright shall dwell in Your presence.

Prayer for Safekeeping from Wickedness

A Psalm of David.

141 Lord, I cry out to You;
Make haste to me!
Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.
Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.

For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.
Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the [b]cliff,
And they hear my words, for they are sweet.
Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave,
As when one plows and breaks up the earth.

But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
[c]Do not leave my soul destitute.
Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I escape safely.

A Plea for Relief from Persecutors

A Contemplation[d] of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.

142 I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.

When my spirit [e]was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.
Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
[f]Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 140:7 sheltered
  2. Psalm 141:6 rock
  3. Psalm 141:8 Lit. Do not make my soul bare
  4. Psalm 142:1 Heb. Maschil
  5. Psalm 142:3 Lit. fainted
  6. Psalm 142:6 Give heed

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