In the last Listening on the Journey…blog post, I talked about my moments of personal reflection while visiting En Gedi. The lovely oasis has for centuries been the gathering place for animals such as the Ibex, a wild goat.
It was in some of the caves nestled in the hills surrounding En Gedi that David hid from King Saul and his army. In one of those caves David chose to spare King Saul’s life. (Read the story in 1 Samuel 23 and 24.) David penned some potent psalms from the oasis of En Gedi.
When we returned home from Israel, I re-read Psalms 57 and 142, two psalms David wrote from En Gedi. I know some people reading this blog post are experiencing their own bleak life season, and as I share some newfound insights from Psalms 142 (NLT), I’m praying they encourage you.
1 I cry out to the Lord;
I plead for the Lord’s mercy.
2 I pour out my complaints before him
and tell him all my troubles.
David wasn’t afraid to “cry out,” complain and admit he was overwhelmed. How often I forget God’s character is merciful. When I remember God can handle my honesty, my whining and hearing about “all my troubles,” then I know I’m trusting God truly.
David is a great example of one who truly trusted God!
3 When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go,
my enemies have set traps for me.
Part of my journey of trust is growing in the assurance God is God and knows what I don’t know and sees what I can’t see. I’ve always believed this intellectually, but when it seems the road ahead is full of booby-traps, it’s easy to allow doubts to trump trust.
David understood God was his ultimate solution.
4 I look for someone to come and help me,
but no one gives me a passing thought!
No one will help me;
no one cares a bit what happens to me.
Sounds like David may have been having a little pity party. I understand! Even if we’re blessed with supportive people, there are times when we feel like no one understands or cares. Some of this may be self-pity, but some is true. Human beings are incapable of knowing fully the hearts of even those they love most deeply.
Somehow, David’s vulnerable expressions of ‘woe-is-me’ self-pity seem strangely freeing.
5 Then I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.
You are all I really want in life. (emphasis mine)
6Hear my cry,
for I am very low.
Rescue me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.
When I desire and seek intimate relationship with God above all others, enormous security and confidence are the outcome. Like many biblical principles, this seems counter intuitive. For example, if an over-doting mother makes her child the center of the universe, other vital relationships suffer. The more, however, the LORD is “all I really want in life,” the more areas of my life, including relationships with others, are enhanced.
This is another “God thing” I don’t comprehend, but David seemed to grasp its truth.
7 Bring me out of prison
so I can thank you.
The godly will crowd around me,
for you are good to me.”
Missio Dei is a Latin Christian term meaning the “sending of God.” Recently, I attended an event at which Dr. John Ortberg was the keynote speaker. Dr. Ortberg said, “You are blessed to be a blessing—blessed to will and work for the good of others.”
David understood Missio Dei. He realized when God blessed him, those whose lives intersected with his would be influenced. Others would see and be drawn to God’s goodness.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these insights, which came about as a result of our Israel visit to En Gedi Nature Reserve, a site filled with historical, ecological and spiritual richness.
Listening on YOUR Journey
Note: I will be sharing additional posts about our impactful trip to Israel. For more information about your own trip to Israel, we recommend highly Dan and Sharon Stolbarger, our group leaders. If this is a trip you’d love to make, check them out at http://holygroundexplorations.com/