Saturday, December 17, 2016



"I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord;
I make supplication with my voice to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
When my spirit was overwhelmed (fainted) within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see;
there is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul."
(verses 1-4)

Baby it's cold outside!

Okay, this is cave man talk.  This is cave man talk from way back in the coldest, bone chilling, blackest, dampest, most bat infested innards of a cave, almost like Jonah in the belly of the whale.  This is cave man talk when the only way out is blocked by the king and all his army host standing there looking around, listening, seeking to kill you.  This crying aloud is really a silent scream.  This Psalm is David's from one of the times he was hiding in a cave.  He was feeling a little overwhelmed, faint with fear, with a mere hodge-podge, mish-mash of soldiers with him, mostly outlaws who probably would evaporate at the first sign of an attack and run to save their own skins.  He's in a trap that will snap shut on him if he so much as wiggles his little toe.  Even their heavy breathing of fear and pounding hearts could give them away. 

Besides, "When he durst not stretch forth his hands against his prince, he lifted them up to his God.  There is no cave so deep, so dark, but we may out of it send up our souls in prayer, to God."  (Matthew Henry)  There were no moments wondering if he had coverage, no asking, "Can you hear me know?" while holding up his phone in that cave he found himself holed up in. 

Some think that the stable where Jesus was born was actually a cave, which was common around Bethlehem at that time.  Here too, as a defenseless.  A baby who a king was searching for to kill.  There in that cave-shelter, a baby's cry would echo in those stone walls.  Some even think that "Herein he was a type of Christ, who was forsaken of all men, even of his own disciples, and trod the wine-press alone." (Matthew Henry)  What could carry more pathos than a cry of "No one cares for my soul." "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)

The Psalmist cried to God, "like children to their parents when anything frightens them.  He cried unto the Lord with his voice, with the voice of his mind (so some think), for, being hidden in the cave, he durst not speak with an audible voice, lest that should betray him; but mental prayer is vocal to God, and He hears the groanings which cannot, or dare not, be uttered. (Romans 8:26)
(Matthew Henry: "durst" is my new word of the day, durst you think otherwise.)  It is like being in the high mountains after a deep snow when even the sound of a foot crunching through the snow sounds loud enough to trigger an avalanche.  There is a wary hush that nothing should disturb, not even stepping forth with one foot to mar the sanctity of the snowfall.  However if it is heard, it would send the prey crashing away to escape from the hunter.

"I cried out to You, O Lord;
I said, 'You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are too strong for me.
Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name;
The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me.'"
(verses 5-7)

"He was disowned and deserted by his friends.  When he was made an outlaw, then  no man would know him, but everybody was shy of him.  He looked on his right hand for an advocate, but since Jonathan's appearing for him had like to have cost him his life, nobody was willing to venture in defense of His innocency."  And yet barely keeping a foot in the land of the living, feeling his soul was in prison and he was brought low, David still could say, "You are my refuge." 

I get this mental image of David playing air guitar or air harp, bobbing his head with a rhythm deep down in his soul no one else could hear, strumming with his eyes closed (which he didn't need to do since it was probably darker than the inside of a mule back there in the cave) composing this Psalm-song for the time when God would give heed to his cry.  He was probably already getting ready to give thanks to His name when instead of being surrounded by Saul and his army, he would be surrounded by righteous men who would stand by him.  He was ready to give thanks to God who in the future would not only come to his rescue, helpless as he was, but would pour out bountiful blessings.  Yep.  That's what God did.  He rescued him and gave him the kingdom. 
But sometimes it's hard in those not-yet moments that are the darkest.  Strum away Pilgrim, even if the song is only in your heart for no one else to hear.

There was a dark time in the earliest days of our Lord when "an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up!  Take the Child and His mother to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.'  So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.  He remained there until the death of Herod.  This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 'Out of Egypt I called My Son.'" (Matthew 2:13-15)  It must have been like going further and further back to the place the Hebrew children had once escaped from slavery, until their back was up against the wall.  Finally the time came when God called, "It's okay to come out now, Son."   After all, Christ came "To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death."  (Luke 1:79)

Now back to the Old Psalter...
 "Lede my saule oute of corrupcion of my body;
that corrupcion is bodily pyne,
in whilk my saule is anguyst;
after that in Godes house,
sal al be louyng (praising) of the."


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