Friday, 4 December 2020
Title: In the Pits
By: Ps. Cheng Cheung

Psalm 142:2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.

The heading before the first verse reads: ”A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.”

It is arguable that David could have penned the same words had he been elsewhere. But the cave sets the scene for the depth of emotion David expresses in this psalm much more aptly than possibly any other location. Adullam cave is said to be the cave and if so, fits the circumstances surrounding David’s life in 1 Samuel 22.

Next, a contemplation or maskil is also instructive. The latter Hebrew word has a root which means to be prudent, wise, to give insight and instruction, leading to the desired result. In other words, David’s intent is that readers of this psalm should learn something significant from it.

Putting the above two together, this cave made a good closet for prayer because David was on the run; its gloom and solitude were helpful to the exercise of devotion and focus on God and Him alone. Yes, David was in dire straits: He was fleeing madman Saul who sought his life, persecuted by his own countrymen, not yet joined by his own relations, nor any other close attendants. He took refuge in the cave. He was utterly destitute, and alone. Or so he thought.

1 Samuel 22:1&2
“1 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam …”
“2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.”

Isn’t this a familiar story? Often when we are contending with deep issues of our own, others come flooding to us with their tales of woe. It is not clear from the translation whether David took it upon himself, or whether they appointed him, but he became their commander. How could he say, ‘No’? In his eyes, they were like sheep without a shepherd. With a bit of imagination, one could picture how much more depressed David must have felt. There was a reason why he sought solace in a cave in the first place. He was already in deep distress. Surely he sighed as he thought, “What now? … Why me, Lord??”

Having reached the end of his rope, David prayed and called out to God about his desperate situation instead of giving in to despair. We can see the depth and weight of sincerity in his words in v1&2.

I cry out to the LORD
with my voice;
I make my supplication to the LORD
With my voice
I pour out my complaint
before Him;
I declare my trouble
before Him

To cry out is to literally cry aloud, to scream or shriek. Brother and sister, have you called out your heartrending groans to the Lord before? To make supplication is to “implore favour” because David’s self-image had been torn to shreds. He felt stripped, worthless, useless, he had lost his dignity before his countrymen and family. So he needed evidence of God’s favour. He needed to feel needed, honoured and respected. He needed to know this because his confidence and self-esteem were shot. He hit rock bottom, he was in the pits.

Do you know God longs to hear your words? To hear your voice? Do not just think thoughts of prayers. Verbalise them. Come before Him. And as for complaint, a commentary has this to say:

“‘My complaint’ is not as petulant a word as in English, but might be rendered ‘my troubled thoughts’ … it is not meant to tell Jehovah what He does not know. It is for the complainer’s relief, not for God’s information.”¹ So tell God your ‘complaints’. He wants to hear from you.”

A final assurance for the distressed in this first section can be seen from v3a:

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk

Take heart! Our Heavenly Father knows! Even before a heavy thought is formed in our minds, or a sigh is breathed from our innermost parts, our Jehovah knows it. This is so reassuring. How wonderful that David recorded all this, in this manner, so that we may know what steps to take should we be in similar circumstances.

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, it is comforting to know before I was born, or took my first steps on this path with its ups and downs, You knew it. You must have known that it was not too hard, and that there were resources of strength in You sufficient for my day.

Teach me to pray like David, my Heavenly Father. Help me not to deny my emotions, to put up a good front. Help me seek help and cry aloud from the bottom of my heart whenever I am in the pits. Thank You that You long to hear from me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


¹ Enduring Word Commentary on Psalm 142

每日灵修
星期五,2020年12月4日
标题:陷入困境
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:陈月妃姐妹

诗篇142;2我在他面前吐露我的苦情.陈说我的患难。

第一节的标题写着“大卫在洞里作的训诲诗、乃是祈祷。”

其实大卫在其他地方写下这诗篇是蛮具争议性的。但是洞穴比其他任何地方都更适当的表达了大卫在这诗篇所流露的情感深处。据说该洞穴就是亚杜兰洞,如果是这样的话,那么它符合大卫在撒母耳记上第22章中的生活环境。

其次,训诲诗乃是具有启发性的。希伯来语的最后一个字有一个字根,意思是要谨慎,明智地提供见解和指导,以取得预期的结果。换句话说,大卫的目的是使该诗篇的读者从中学到一些重要的东西。

把上述两者结合起来,这个洞为祷告提供了一个很好的密室空间,因为大卫正在逃难。它的阴暗和隐蔽有助于敬拜,并单单专注于神自己。是的,大卫陷入了两难之间:他正逃离疯狂寻索他性命的扫罗,他被自己的同胞逼迫,他的亲属还没有与他会合,他也没有其他亲密的随从。他躲在山洞里。他一无所有,无依无靠。大概他是这样想的。

撒母耳记上22:1-2
1 大卫就离开那里、逃到亚杜兰洞。他的弟兄和他父亲的全家听见了、就都下到他那里。
2凡受窘迫的、欠债的、心里苦恼的、都聚集到大卫那里。大卫就作他们的头目。跟随他的约有四百人。

这不是一个耳熟能详的故事吗?通常,当我们在与自己的内心深处进行斗争时,其他人就会向我们倾诉他们的不幸故事。从译文中,我们不清楚大卫是自己愿意承担,或是他们任命他的,但他成了他们的头目。他怎么能说“不”呢?在他眼里,他们就像没有牧人的羊。再加上一点想象力,我们就能想象出大卫一定感到多么沮丧。他一开始在山洞里寻求慰藉是有原因的。他已经陷入深深的痛苦之中。当然,他边想边叹气,“现在怎么办?为什么是我,上帝??“。

到了绳子的尽头,大卫祈祷并向上帝呼求他的绝望处境,而不是屈服于绝望。我们可以从他在第一节和第二节的话语中看到真诚的深度和分量。

我发声哀告耶和华。发声恳求耶和华。我在他面前吐露我的苦情。陈说我的患难。

哀告就是大声地喊叫,叫嚷或呐喊。弟兄姐妹们,你曾否向上帝发出过你那悲痛的叹息?恳求就是“祈求恩惠”,因为大卫的自我形象已经支离破碎。他觉得自己一无所有,一文不值,一无是处,在同胞和家人面前失去了尊严。所以他需要上帝恩惠的证据。他需要感到被需要、被尊重和被尊敬。他需要知道这一点,因为他的自信心和自尊心遭到了打击。他跌入谷底,陷入困境。

你知道上帝渴望听到你的话语?听到你的声音吗?不要只想着祈祷。把它们说出来。到祂面前来。至于投诉,有评论这样说:

“‘我的抱怨’并不像英语中那样是个赌气的词汇,但可能会被翻译成‘我的烦恼思绪’。这并不是要告诉耶和华祂所不知道的。这是为了减轻抱怨者的痛苦。“所以告诉上帝你的‘抱怨’。祂想听你说话。”

第一部分中的苦恼的最终确据可从第三节上看出:

我的灵在我里面发昏的时候、你知道我的道路。在我行的路上。

振作起来!我们的天父都知道!甚至在我们心里还没有形成一个沉重的思想,或是从我们内心发出叹息之前,我们的耶和华都已知道了。这太让人如释重负了。大卫以这种方式记录了这一切,好让我们知道在类似的情况下,我们应该采取什么步骤。

今天的祈祷

天父,在我出生之前,或者我在这崎岖道路上迈出第一步之前,你都知道了,这是多么令人欣慰。你一定知道这并不难,而且你的能力够我每天所需。

我的天父,教我像大卫一样的祷告。让我不要否定我的情绪。当我身处困境时,请帮助我寻求帮助,并从心底大声呼喊。谢谢你因为你渴望听我说话。奉耶稣的名,阿门。

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¹ Enduring Word Commentary on Psalm 142

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