Summary: Is it possible that our lives have become so self-centered, so complicated, so full of things, that we no longer care? (Powerpoint Available - #215)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoint slides are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #215.)
(This is a sermon adapted from one I read years ago. I would be happy to credit the original author if I knew who. Can anyone help me?)
Listen as I read Psalm 142, a psalm that was written by David 3000 years ago.
"I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.
"When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Look to my right & see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my soul.
"I cry to you, O 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."
It was cold & damp in the cave. Moisture was collecting on the roof & dropping to the hard, cold floor with a "splat." David pulled his cloak tightly about his shoulders & shivered. He had not come prepared for the dampness.
"I could stand the dampness, though," he thought, "if I just had some food." Hunger pangs were gnawing at his stomach.
In today’s slang, David was "on the run." Jonathan’s signal with the arrows had told him what he had feared - that King Saul was trying to kill him. Then had followed his mad dash to find a place of safety.
And now he was hiding in a cave. "Splat, splat," fell the drops. There was no way to start a fire. He had no food. He was cold, wet, & hungry.
But the greatest cold was not in his body; it was in his soul. And the greatest hunger gnawing at him was not hunger for food; it was hunger for understanding, for companionship, for love.
David could stand the dampness, the cold, the discomfort. Others had & he could, too. He had been uncomfortable & in danger before on the field of battle. But then he had been surrounded by others who were fighting for the same cause.
But now he was alone. He could stand the discomfort. He could not stand the loneliness.
Those of us who have never had to flee for our lives don’t really understand how David felt. He had done nothing to King Saul. His only crime was doing his best & trusting in God.
The people had shouted: "Saul has killed his thousands, & David his tens of thousands" [1 Samuel 18:7]. And Saul’s jealousy became a murderous rage!
A hunted animal. That’s what he was. Not even Jonathan could come to him for that would betray his hiding place. He was alone - without family, without friends - all alone.
And no one seemed to care. No one but God.
Then, in that cold, dark, damp cave, David began to sing. He did not have his harp with him, but his voice, soft as the wind & charged with emotion, filled the cave.
He had often sung to his sheep - or to King Saul. Now he sang of his loneliness, & of his faith. He sang of his feeling of being forsaken, & how only God was with him.