I have had a difficult week, emotionally. I have cried out to God to save me from myself, from my grief....from the pain of missing my children every moment of every day...for some small amount of relief from the terrible pain of their deaths. On Wednesday night at church I read Psalm 142 while waiting for the service to start and it made me think of myself.
Being a mom to children who are dead is hard, really hard. It's especially hard when those closest to you have no concept of your grief. It is even harder still when people you meet, or come into contact with would rather you not talk about your children. I want to scream, why can other mother's speak of their babes, but mine are taboo? I will continue to talk about my children...just as every other mother speaks of hers. They define me, and touch every part of every moment of my life. It isn't always somber and really sad when I mention them, but they are my children and I will not stop talking about them.
Now then, on to The WORD that I believe God shared with me.
Psalm 142 : a maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.1 I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out my complaint before him;
before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is You who knows my way.
In the path where I walk
men have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look to my right and see;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living."
6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
7 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.
This psalm is a "maskil". There are 13 psalms called maskils. They are 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89 and 142. Bible students think that "maskil" means:
· either a psalm with something special to teach, like 32 and 78, or
· a psalm that the *psalmist wrote in a very clever way. (The *psalmist is the person who wrote the psalms.)
David wrote this maskil in a cave. It is a *prayer to the *LORD. We say *prayers when we talk to God. David was in trouble (or "had trouble".) His enemies were trying to catch him. He does not say who these enemies were. There are two stories about David hiding in a cave. A cave is a hole in the side of a hill. One story is in 1 Samuel 22, the other is in 1 Samuel 24. David feels safe in the cave, but he does not want to stay in it. It seems as if the cave is a prison. But there are no friends to give him help. He writes "Nobody cares about me". This means "Nobody loves me enough to give me help". But the *LORD God can send him help. This psalm prays for that help.
What Psalm 142 means
Verse 1: *LORD is a special name for God. It is the *covenant name. A *covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. God agrees to love and send his people help. His people agree to love and obey God.
Verse 3: David wrote this psalm in Hebrew. That is because David spoke Hebrew. The words translated "when I do not feel brave" are "when my spirit feels weak" in the Hebrew Bible. Sometimes we all feel like this. There is so much trouble that we do not want to fight it. We want to run away from it! Our spirits feel weak. We do not feel brave. Our spirit is that part of us that lives after our body dies. But David knows that God will tell him what to do. His path here means what he does. David thinks that his enemies have put traps in the path for him. A *trap is what people catch animals and birds in. David’s enemies wanted to catch him. He did not know where the *trap was. But God knew!
Verses 4 and 5: No human friend cares about David, but God does! This was true for David, and it is true for us. We only have to pray to God and ask for his help.
Verse 7: "*Praise" means "tell somebody that they are very great". Here it means "*Praise God". David says "your name" but he means God. But he means more than the name God. He also means everything that God is. This includes these facts:
· he loves us;
· he is very powerful;
· he will always be alive;
· and many other things.
But who are "the *righteous"? The word means "very, very good". Only God is really *righteous. But he says that his people are *righteous too. They are *righteous if they love him and obey him. Some Bible students think that here "the *righteous" means people who are *praising God with David in the *temple in Jerusalem. The *temple was God’s house. They made it from animal skins when David was alive. Other Bible students think "the *righteous" are people who joined David’s friends. This was while David was running away from his enemies.