Summary: C. H. Spurgeon says, "The gloom of the cave is over the psalm, and yet, as if standing at the mouth of the cave itself, the prophet poet David sees a bright light a little beyond." If you are in trouble, in the cave – In the darkness of trial – remember t
Intro: Each one of us sooner or later (if not presently) experiences trouble. Here in this 142nd psalm we find David in great trouble. The whole Psalm teaches us how to be victorious in trouble – not how to escape trouble – but rather how to glorify God in the midst of trouble.
I. WHAT WE ARE TOLD ABOUT DAVID’S TROUBLE (vv. 3, 6)
David was at this time a fugitive. His reputation was unjustly destroyed and he was an outcast. We do not know exactly what the trouble he referred to. However, we are told three things about it:
(A) David tells us that his trouble was severe. In v.3 he tells us that he was "overwhelmed" (to be wrapped or engulfed with something.) Notice how David says in v.6 that when his trouble came upon him he was "brought very low." This indicates a process. He went lower and lower until he felt that he had reached bottom. Friend, perhaps you are in a similar experience at this time?
(B) David tells us that other people contributed to his trouble. In v.3 he says that his enemies had set a "snare" for him. In v.6, he refers to them as “persecutors.” It is bad enough to be overwhelmed with trouble but worse to have trouble brought upon us through the betrayal and malice of so called friends. This was the kind of situation David was in. Is something similar happening with you?
(C) David tells us that no one seemed to understand or care (v.4). This must have been the hardest part of all. It is a tremendous encouragement if while in the midst of trouble we have friends and loved ones who understand and sympathize with our situation. David felt that no man really cared for him, but the Lord did so!
It is important for us to notice what David did and did not do when he was in great trouble and how he reacted when difficulties arose.
II. WHAT DAVID DID NOT DO WHEN IN TROUBLE
Our proper reaction to any trouble is essential. Observe that while David triumphed over his difficulty, there were some notable things that David did not do when he was overwhelmed with trouble:
(A) He did not brood over his trouble and remained idle.
(B) He did not wallow in bitterness and self pity.
(C) He did not become angry and rebellious against God.
(D) He did not question God’s great love and wisdom.
(E) He did not overburden others with his trouble.
II. WHAT DAVID DID WHEN IN TROUBLE (vv. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7)
After observing what David did not do, how then did he effectively react when his trouble overwhelmed him? What exactly did he do? He did three simple but very important solutions:
(A) David brought his trouble before the Lord in prayer (vv. 1-2). As we study these verses we see the intensity and urgency of David’s prayer. In v.1, we see the definiteness of his prayer. In v.2, we see the fact that his prayer was so practical for David says, "I shewed before Him my trouble." We recall King Hezekiah when he received a threatening letter from his kingdom’s enemy (Isa. 37:14). We also remember Mary when the wine ran short (John 2:3). We think of the Christians in the early Church who were so burdened and troubled because Peter was imprisoned (Acts 12:5). This is how to react in a time of trouble – take the matter before God and ask for His gracious help. What happened when David did this?
(B) David’s faith and trust in God were deepened. In v.3 he tells us that he was confident that God knew his "path" (cf. Matt. 6:32; Job 23:10). It seems that David, while in the midst of suffering, looked up into heaven and said, "It’s all right, because the Lord knows all about me!" See also what he said in v.5. This is a demonstration of faith triumphing over trouble (see Psa. 23:4)!
(C) David was filled with hope in God (v.7). He was filled with confidence about the future; that everything would ultimately turn out right. It is one thing to trust God for the present moment, but what about the uncertain future? What about tomorrow, and next week, and next month and next year? We ask, shall we be delivered out of our troubles? If we lose hope we become filled with despair (see Acts 27:20). When hope is gone we become discouraged and easily give up. Here then is the way to be victorious in the midst of trouble –
(1) Engage in fervent prayer. Why worry when you can pray?
(2) Exercise faith and trust in the goodness and mercy of God.
(3) Expect God’s sovereignty to hold and control the future.