The Secret to Discouragement
by Noah Hefley
February 08, 2020
Sometime in your life you’re probably going to battle discouragement so you had better learn how to deal with it. For that reason it’s good to know about Psalm 142.
The introductory notes to the psalm tell us it was “A maskil of David.” This means it is a psalm of instruction. Maskil is from a Hebrew root word meaning teaching. It is a song written for the instruction of all who hear it or sing it. David went through a time of discouragement and he writes here what he discovered about it. Further, this psalm is designed to help you find your way through it. It is written to be helpful and not simply worshipful.
Also, the notes say it was written in a cave. David had been hiding in a cave enshrouded by discouragement. We are not told which cave he was hiding in at the time. But probably it was the cave of Adullam mentioned in 1 Samuel 22 where David took refuge and hid after escaping from King Saul who was trying to kill him. It was there that he cried out to the Lord from a sense of loneliness and discouragement. David began, “I cry aloud to the Lord” (v.1). This reveals his deep sense of pain and despondency. But after he sought the Lord in the cave of Adullam, the Lord answered and surrounded him with support when “All those who were in distress, or in debt or discontented gathered around him” (1 Samuel 22:2). David found encouragement and strength from God and from David’s family and friends who were sent by the Lord to him. David discovered something we must learn and it’s this: The Secret to Discouragement is His Encouragement!
It is interesting that today you can visit this same cave, Adullam, a few miles from Bethlehem. There are even new and improved roads for tourists to see this sight rather easily. However, to find your way through discouragement, you don’t have to go over to a cave in Israel, but you do need to find your way to a place alone with the Lord and spend some time to be encouraged by Him.
You must Look Up to God and tell Him how you feel. David said, “I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble” (v.2). David laid before God everything that was in His heart and life. In so doing, in time his cries turned into praise. He reached a point where he joyfully proclaimed, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (v.5). Then finally, he concluded by affirming “(The Lord’s) goodness to me” (v.7).
This is the pattern you may follow when you get a little down. Learn this: Look up for the Lord to lift you up!
Remember the words of the old hymn:
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Indeed—What a Friend we have in Jesus! Amen and Amen!
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