David's Prayer in the Cave
Psalm 142:1-7
I cried to the LORD with my voice; with my voice to the LORD did I make my supplication.…

"A prayer when he was in the cave." The caves have heard the best prayers. Some birds sing best in cages. I have heard that some of God's people shine brightest in the dark. There is many an heir of heaven who never prays so well as when he is driven by necessity to pray.

I. THE CONDITION OF A SOUL UNDER A DEEP SENSE OF SIN. A little while ago you were out in the open field of the world, sinning with a high hand, plucking the flowers which grow in those poisoned vales, and enjoying their deadly perfume. To-night you feel like one who has come out of the bright sunshine and balmy air into a dark, noisome cavern, where you can see but little, where there is no comfort, and where there appears to you to be no hope of escape.

1. Well, now, your first business should be to appeal unto God. Get to your knees, you who feel yourselves guilty; get to your knees, if your hearts are sighing on account of sin.

2. Make a full confession unto the Lord.

3. Acknowledge to God that there is no hope for you but in His mercy. In the cave of your doubts and fears, with the clinging damp of your despair about you, chilled and numbed by the dread of the wrath to come, yet venture to make God in Christ your sole confidence, and you shall yet have perfect peace.

4. Then, further, if you are still in the cave of doubt and sin, venture to plead with God to set you free. You cannot present a better prayer than this one of David's (ver. 7). My old friend, Dr. Alexander Fletcher, seems to rise before me now, for I remember hearing him say to the children that, when men came out of prison, they did praise him who had set them free. He said that he was going down the Old Bailey one day, and he saw a boy standing on his head, turning Catherine wheels, dancing hornpipes, and jumping about in all manner of ways, and he said to him, "What are you at? You seem to be tremendously happy"; and the boy replied, "Ah, old gentlemen, if you had been locked up six months, and had just got out, you would be happy, tool" I have no doubt that is very true. When a soul gets out of a far worse prison than there ever was at Newgate, then he must praise "free grace and dying love," and "ring those charming bells" again, and again, and again, and make his whole life musical with the praise of the emancipating Christ.

II. THE CONDITION OF A PERSECUTED BELIEVER. Here is a godly man who works in a factory, or a Christian girl who is occupied in book-folding, or-some other work where there is a large number employed; such persons will have a sad tale to tell of now they have been hunted about, ridiculed, and scoffed at by ungodly companions. Now you are in the cave.

1. It may be that you are in the condition described here; you hardly know what to do. You are as David was when he wrote ver.

3. You are like a lamb in the midst of wolves; you know not which way to turn. Well, then, say to the Lord, as David did, "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path." Have confidence that, when you know not what to do, He can and will direct your way if you trust Him.

2. In addition to that, it may be that you are greatly tempted. David said, "They privily laid a snare for me." It is often so with young men in a warehouse, or with a number of clerks in an establishment. Young Christian soldiers often have a very rough time of it in the barracks; but I hope that they will prove themselves true soldiers, and not yield an inch to those who would lead them astray.

3. It will be very painful if, in addition to that, your friends turn against you. David said, "There was no man that would know me." Is it so with you? Are your father and mother against you? Cultivate great love to those who, having come into the army of Christ, are much beset by adversaries. They are in the cave. Do not disown them; they are trying to do their best; stand side by Side with them.

4. It may be that the worst point about you is that you feel very feeble. You say, "I should not mind the persecution if I felt strong; but I am so feeble." Well, now, always distinguish between feeling strong and being strong. The man who feels strong is weak; the man who feels weak is the man who is strong.

III. THE CONDITION OF A BELIEVER WHO IS BEING PREPARED FOR GREATER HONOUR AND WIDER SERVICE. Is it not a curious thing that, whenever God means to make a man great, He always breaks him in pieces first? David was to be king over all Israel. What was the way to Jerusalem for David? What was the way to the throne? Well, it was round by the cave of Adullam, He must go there and be an outlaw and an outcast, for that was the way by which he would be made king. Have none of you ever noticed, in your own lives, that whenever God is going to give you an enlargement, and bring you out to a larger sphere of service, or a higher platform of spiritual life, you always get thrown down? Why is that?

1. If God would make you greatly useful, He must teach you how to pray.

2. The man whom God would greatly honour must always believe in God when he is at his wit's end (ver. 3). Oh, it is easy to trust when you can trust yourself; but when you cannot trust yourself, when you are dead beat, when your spirit sinks below zero in the chili of utter despair, then is the time to trust in God. If that is your case, you have the marks of a man who can lead God's people, and be a comforter of others.

3. In order to greater usefulness many a man of God must be taught to stand quite alone (ver. 4).

4. The man whom God will bless must be the man who delights in God alone (ver. 5). Oh, to have God as our refuge, and to make God our portion!

5. He whom God would use must be taught sympathy with God's poor people (ver. 6). If the Lord means to bless you, and to make you very useful in His Church, depend upon it He will try you.

6. If God means to use you, you must get to be full of praise (ver. 7). If thou art of a cheerful spirit, glad in the Lord, and joyous after all thy trials and afflictions, and if thou dost but rejoice the more because thou hast been brought so low, then God is making something of thee, and He will yet use thee to lead His people to greater works of grace.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave.} I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.

WEB: I cry with my voice to Yahweh. With my voice, I ask Yahweh for mercy.

A Cry for Deliverance
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