Opening to God

The raw emotion of David’s prayer in Psalm 142 comes through clearly in his choice of words. In his Cave of Adullam, the beleaguered future king struggled with depression and shrieked heavenward.

I used to wonder why we ever needed to utter words in prayer since God already knows all our thoughts (Psalm 139:4). Then one day I stumbled across Hosea 14:1–2.

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Crying Aloud from the Darkness

The four hundred were an unorganized, inefficient, depressed mob without a leader, so they attached themselves to David. Picture the scene in your mind. With a little imagination you could see how depressed he must have been. Surely he sighed as he thought, What now? or Why me? In the depth of distress, having reached the end of his rope, David talked with his Lord about his desperate situation.

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An Abysmal Cave

Who hasn’t struggled with those demoralizing seasons of dark sadness? Everyone suffers from grief and sorrow from time to time. But depression is a different matter. Like a disease, it’s very common, but it’s not “normal.” Depression is an extended state of mind characterized by acute sadness that most likely will not go away by itself. It needs attention.

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Nothing Escapes God’s Care

On six separate occasions David refers to the enemies of God in the strongest of terms. These were not moderate, passive foes of the Lord; they were unashamed, hateful, open, and blatant despisers of God and God’s people. To associate with them would pollute the testimony of any saint—and David declares his independence of them, especially when he states, “They have become my enemies” (139:22b).

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Important to God

Most folks struggle with feelings of insignificance from time to time. Larger-than-life athletes, greatly gifted film and television stars, brilliant students, accomplished singers, skillful writers, even capable ministers can leave us feeling intimidated, overlooked, and underqualified. For some, feeling insignificant is not simply a periodic battle; it is a daily grind! We know deep down inside we’re valuable; but when we compare ourselves, we often come out on the short end.

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From the Depths to the Heights

In just a few verses, the songwriter of Psalm 116 has climbed from the utter depths of grief and sorrow to the heights of praising God. His journey undoubtedly took many months, however. The song merely recounts his ordeal.

While his praising God marks the pinnacle of his climb, it also appears to be his means of getting there. He didn’t wait until he felt better before giving the Lord praise.

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A Public Response

Psalm 116, a lament of grief and sorrow, takes a positive turn with the composer deciding how he will respond to the Lord’s deliverance (116:12). He promised to tell the story of God’s rescue; now he determines to take his public announcement to the next level.

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A Song of Deliverance

What does “I shall lift up the cup of salvation” mean? In the Old Testament the word “cup” is frequently used to denote plenty and abundance. You may remember that in Psalm 23:5 David claims that his “cup overflows.” The term “salvation” actually appears in the Hebrew Bible in the plural—salvations. We would grasp the meaning better if we’d render it “deliverances.” The psalmist is expressing praise to God for His abundant and numerous deliverances. So, literally, he says . . .

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A Song of Sadness

Psalm 116 is the lament of a man surrounded by grief and sorrow, most likely because death has touched his life. Let’s take a few moments to probe a little deeper into a song of sadness.

The first line of the psalmist’s song is surprising. He writes, “I love the LORD, because . . . ” (116:1). In the nineteenth century, a young English girl, Elizabeth Barrett, suffered a spinal injury at age . . .

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