Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The Depths of Despair


Psalms 142:4 

Look on my right hand and see,

For there is no one who acknowledges me;

Refuge has failed me;

No one cares for my soul.




This is a prayer of David, the man who had been anointed by Samuel to be king.  He had slain the giant;  but now he was fleeing from Saul, the man whose place he had taken when he fought Goliath.  Saul should have been leading his army in the battle against the giant, but David the shepherd boy did it instead.  Now, when Saul realizes that God is going to give the throne to David, he tries to destroy David in order to keep God’s will from being done.  Obviously, Saul wants to keep the kingdom in his family.  But thwarting the known will of God is sin and always causes confusion.  So David has to flee from Saul and ends up at the cave of Adullam.


According to the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, “David was twice in great peril in caves: on one occasion, in the cave of Adullam, when he fled from Achish king of Gath; and on another, in the cave of Engedi, where he had taken refuge from the pursuit of Saul. It is not certain to which of these events this Psalm refers; though probably to the former.”  I believe that this Psalm is more likely associated with the Cave of Adullam.  In 1 Samuel 22:1-2 we read, “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.  He then protected his father and mother by sending them to Moab while he was fleeing from Saul.


But Did No One Care for His Soul?

Either David figured that the 400 men came to him in order to further their own careers and to be important people in the coming kingdom of David, or he had to assume that they came to him because they loved him and wanted to defend him.  It is true that they had messed up their lives and coming to David would give them a fresh start, but didn’t they care for his soul?  They were risking their lives to defend him. 


I know that there were three of them that definitely cared for David’s soul.  We read about them in 2 Samuel 23: 13-17.  David didn’t have access to Red Roof Inn’s, McDonald’s or better yet, Bob Evan’s.  He didn’t have dry cleaners or even automatic washing machines. He didn’t even have access to shower and bathroom facilities.  He did not have refrigerators but had to live off the land.  This was the situation with a man whom God had anointed King?  No wonder he could wonder if anyone cared for his soul.  But there were were at least three that loved him.  We aren’t told their names but we are told what they did.  These three risked their lives to get David a refreshing drink from the well in Bethlehem.  This was a well David had likely enjoyed while growing up.  These three men broke through the ranks of the Philistine army to get David that drink.  His wish for this refreshing drink was their command.  Yes, they cared!


There was another man who cared for David.  His name was Jonathan, and he would normally have succeeded his father Saul as the next king.  But he loved David and even warned him to flee when Saul lost his mind and began trying to slay David. 


I Wonder

I wonder how these men who loved and defended David would have felt reading this Psalm.  NO ONE CARES FOR MY SOUL!  I suppose that there could be something about the language that I am missing.  Perhaps David was only talking about the nation and those who were defending Saul.  But I suspect, that when David was fleeing from Saul, when he was totally discouraged and depressed, he said things that he likely didn’t really mean.  He may have felt that even his friends were turning against him.  But good friends would understand.  I friend “loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17).”  What a blessing it is to have a few friends like that.  That kind of friend reflects the love of God who loved us when we didn’t love Him. 



The Lord is a friend who loves at all times.  No matter how many times we fail Him, He will not fail his friends.  And His friends are those who trust Him.  He has laid down His life for friends.   But while it is nice to know that the Lord loves us even when we do things we shouldn’t and when we speak unadvisedly, it is nice to have real friends that also reflect that Christ-like character.  If we have at least one friend like that, we need to thank the Lord for that friend.  And then we need to try to be that kind of friend to someone.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of August 30, 2015

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