Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 20, 2011

“I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy! I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. 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. 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. I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.”    Psalms 142

Some of your know that this Summer I am doing a sermon series entitled “Summer In the Psalms”. This week I am focusing on Psalm 142. Some have called this chapter “the cry from the cave” because that is where the Psalmist found himself as he fled from King Saul.

As I studied this portion of Scripture I saw something that I didn’t find in any of the commentaries I have referenced. The obvious theme is that of loneliness and isolation of being trapped in a cave. Certainly that is the case but I asked myself, “Why is he in the cave? Is he a trapped there as a helpless victim? What was he doing in that cave?”

That is when I realized that this Psalm is not primarily a lesson on loneliness but it is an illustration of what it means to be committed.

How so?

David found himself in that cave because of his commitment to God. His commitment to God made him a giant-killer and a hero among his people. That popularity didn’t sit well with King Saul who became jealous of David and insecure about his throne. This apostate King saw the godly David as a threat who had to be eliminated. As a result, David had to run for his life.

If David had not been committed to the Lord he could have surrendered to Saul and saved himself a lot of trouble.
Commitment can put you in a cave at times. When you stand for what is right and true in a fallen, immoral, and godless world you can face ridicule, rejection and vicious attacks on your reputation. It can be lonely standing for what you believe in a politically correct culture.

The fact is, commitment is a trap. I say that because making a commitment means that you have eliminated every other option. You are a prisoner to your choice. But commitment is the only trap that leads to freedom! So David was trapped in the cave because of his commitment to obey and honor his God. He had no “plan B”.

A contemporary example of a good man who has been trapped by his commitment to honor God is Judge Roy Moore from Alabama. Some of you may remember him and may have wondered what Judge Roy Moore has been doing since he was removed from the bench for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall. Judge Moore was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom foyer. He has been stripped of his judgeship and now they are trying to strip his right to practice law in Alabama! But Roy Moore remains unbowed and not intimidated.

If you are totally committed in your Christian faith there will be times when you feel trapped. When you are totally committed in your marriage there will be moments when you feel trapped. Any important commitment will be the same – because you are by your own choice! In fact, if you never feel trapped you are probably not committed.

Over the next few days I will share some stuff from this Psalm that will help you understand what to do when you feel trapped.

Stay tuned!