Today: [Psalms Eleven/Twelve] When all is Lost – What Then? In Psalm Eleven and Twelve we see David writing about very difficult circumstances. Much of what we read in Psalms is an audit of David’s prayer life and how he responds in the midst of difficulty. It is a unique feature of David’s psalms that he expresses his frustration and fear in the midst of trouble and then speaks his faith. When no one else encouraged David – he always encouraged himself. This is a strategy in prayer that will help you in times of trouble.
[Psa 11:1-7 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David.]] In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee [as] a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend [their] bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? 4 The LORD [is] in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne [is] in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: [this shall be] the portion of their cup. 7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.
In this Psalm David asserts his trust in God. Throughout David’s life there were many times he was prevailed upon by his counselors to make rash decisions that didn’t take into account the faithfulness of God. In the first verse of this psalm David rebukes the tendencies of fear saying “my trust is in the Lord I will not listen to my soul when it falls into panic…”
This is a common problem for all of us. When you suddenly find yourself threatened or in a serious problem we don’t always have time to think. When you lose perspective and want to push the panic button where do you run for help? Young people often turn to their parents. As we get older we rely on various natural instrumentalities in times of stress. Where do you turn first when you have a problem? David in his lifetime learned the valuable lesson and discipline of taking a breath and consciously putting his trust in the Lord in the midst of difficulty.
David’s experience at Ziklag is an example. In 1 Sam. 30 we find David and his mighty men have sheltered their families at Ziklag and went out to battle. Upon their return they find the city burned with fire and their wives and children taken captive:
[1Sa 30:6 KJV] 6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
There will be those moments when you lose favor with those around you. David had fought battles with these men and trusted his life to them but now that was all changed. In the midst of great difficulty and loss David struggles to maintain his composure being greatly distressed. Finally he gathers his senses and takes stock of the situation. God is still God. Nothing has changed in the heavens. God isn’t wringing his hands wondering what to do next. David encourages himself in the Lord.
I am a big believer in doing for yourself what we customarily expect others to do. David could have pined away for Samuel or some other leader to tell him what to do or to give him courage. Instead he provided for himself what otherwise he would have looked to others for. You must live this Christian life on your own recognizance. You must become your own accountability partner. When no one else encourages you – encourage yourself. In David’s case this is what made all the difference.
[Psa 12:1-8 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.]] Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. 2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: [with] flattering lips [and] with a double heart do they speak. 3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, [and] the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips [are] our own: who [is] lord over us?
In Psalm 12 David pens a song of intercession to God over the sad state of affairs in Israel. There were times during David’s ascent to power that everyone turned against him. There were times he looked for friends and could find none. In this psalm David looks for a godly ally in the midst of difficulty and can find none. As Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10 David feels like he is the only one left who seeks after God. What do you do in times like this? David’s example tells us it is time to intercede.
Sometimes we don’t pray until we feel like we have a direction in prayer. We want to make a suggestion to God as to how to proceed. In this case David doesn’t have any answers. He is looking around and reporting back to God the sad state of affairs. You are not going to offend God when you cry out to him in times of frustration or despair. He isn’t going to reject your prayer because you don’t frame it with the proper words or tenor. David is upset. He is grieved and he takes his grief to the only one ultimately who can do anything about what is going on around him.
The first thing David prays is what he sees going on around him. None seek after God. All around him speak with lying lips and vanity. The godly man ceases and David struggles to find a faithful man in all of those that are around him. It may have been a time when he was on the run from Saul. It may have been when he wintered on Nabal’s land and was rebuffed even though he protected the man’s herds and flocks.
Whatever the case may be David turns it around and now speaks his faith. The godly man ceases in the earth and all around him are manipulators and liars – but his expectation in verse 3 is that God is going to correct the situation. Throughout the psalms we are going to see this pattern in David’s writings. He states the problem and expresses his emotion concerning what he is experiencing. He doesn’t end there however but goes on to express his confidence in God knowing that all things change and ultimately he expects the faithfulness of God to rule the day. This is a great example for us in our prayer life.
5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set [him] in safety [from him that] puffeth at him. 6 The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. 8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
Everything changes. The poor may be oppressed and neglected by God sees. The Lord will arise and defend us when we are come against by those who seek to take unfair advantage in a time of want. God will set us in safety. There is an old saying about much of the difficulties we may experience:
“I’ve been through a lot of troubles in my life – most of them never did happen….”
Things may look bad. You might not see how a positive outcome will result in your situation. You might not have any idea about how God is going to come through for you but at the end of the day you will not be ashamed if you put your trust in Him. Many times trials linger and situations become hopeless because we haven’t taken our hands off the situation and trusted in the Lord. My father says “do what you can do and let the rest go …” When we keep trying to vainly solve a problem we often make things worse. Put your trust in God. This is the difference between men and women of faith and the rest of the population. You rest your case with God. You exercise responsibility to deal with challenges and then you take it to your prayer closet.
Hymnist Charles Tindley wrote this refrain about trust in God in 1916 at the beginning of the dark days of WWI:
“Leave it there, leave it there,Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out—Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”
This is the sentiment we see in both of the psalms we have studied today. God is faithful. Things may look bleak and ungodly men may seem to get the upper hand for awhile but as v. 6 tells us “the words of the Lord are pure words as silver purified seven times…” No matter how hot the circumstance around you when you go into the situation with the word of God in your heart it will only shine brighter as the resource of your deliverance.
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