Summary: Despite feeling alone, the child of God is never deserted. David enables us to explore the comfort of God’s presence with His people, even in the day of battle.
“Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, ‘Seek my face.’
My heart says to you,
‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’
Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
“Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!”
Hank Williams, Sr., keened:
I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by.
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry.
Did you ever see a robin weep,
When leaves began to die?
That means he’s lost the will to live;
I’m so lonesome I could cry
What does it mean to be lonesome? What are the causes of loneliness? How should a Christian answer the challenge of loneliness? Loneliness is one of those emotions that cannot be strictly correlated with the presence or absence of people. It is not uncommon for people to seek solitude in the midst of hurried lives; alone with their thoughts, those who deliberately seek such blessed quietness cannot be said to be lonely. On the other hand, we can be in a crowd and yet be lonely; we can be surrounded by noisy throngs and yet be desolate. To be forlorn and friendless is to be lonely. Undoubtedly, the greatest sense of aloneness comes when we believe we are rejected by kith and kin. Loneliness, then, is not related to the number of people in our vicinity; rather, loneliness is a condition resulting from a lack of connectedness.
Prisoners, isolated from family, perhaps even deserted because of embarrassment, feel alone. In fact, our current correctional system uses isolation as punishment because we know that being alone can induce real pain. The elderly are often ignored by family, and because of removal to nursing homes and the passage of time their circle of friends is diminished. Those suffering from extended illness commonly feel lonely because of their isolation. Time weighs heavy on the heart of those who are isolated as result of the vicissitudes of life.
While there is no “cure” for loneliness, there are responses that will soothe the lonely heart. There are responses outlined in the Word of God that will make those who look to God less susceptible to the prolonged weariness and debilitation that attends the periods of loneliness that come to each of us. A review of the Psalm that is now before us will prove beneficial in providing encouragement for the one who looks to God as a refuge and a help.
*God’s Gracious Invitation* — This Psalm divides naturally into two parts. In the first six verses, David exults in God’s goodness and deliverance. Listen to those early verses.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
“When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
“Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
“For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
“And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.”
It should not be surprising that a number of scholars have argued that there are actually two Psalms, joined in a rather clumsy fashion. In addition to the differing moods of the two sections of the Psalm, there are differences in the construction of the Hebrew in the two portions. The first part of the Psalm is confident, the Psalmist exultant; the second half of the Psalm—our text for the message this day—consist of a moving prayer. In the first half, God is referred to in the third person; whereas in the second portion of the Psalm David addresses the Lord directly.