Looking to God
(16) Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I (am) lonely and afflicted. (17) The troubles of my heart have grown large. Bring me out of my distresses. (18) Consider my afflictions and my pain, and forgive all my sins. (19) Consider my enemies, for they are many and they hate me with a violent hatred. (20) Guard my soul and deliver me. Do not let me be put to shame, for I seek refuge in you. (21) Let integrity and uprightness protect me, for I wait for you. (22) Redeem Israel, O God, out of all her troubles.
This third and closing segment of the psalm contains several word repetitions and synonyms that reveal David’s struggles: loneliness (vs. 16), affliction (vss. 16 & 18), troubles (vss. 17 & 22), distresses (vs. 17), pain (vs. 18), and hatred expressed by others (vs. 19). Some of these problems may have been the result of his own sinfulness (vs. 18) while others were due to the malice of his enemies (vs. 19).
In all that he has endured, the psalmist seeks Yahweh’s gracious attention (vss. 16, 18, & 19). Note that “consider” is repeated in consecutive verses (vss. 18 & 19). David was asking for God’s protection (vss. 20 & 21), his deliverance (vss. 17 & 20), and the redemption of his people from all their troubles (vs. 22). No matter what difficulties life brought his way, David consistently looked to God to enable him to live victoriously.
How David prayed in the midst of difficulties:
- for God’s consolation (16-18)
- for God’s protection (19-21)
- for God’s redeeming Israel (22)
Deliverance from our struggles is found in looking to God for his consolation and protection.
Although he ruled over the nation, King David was not exempt from the problems life brings everyone’s way. He was constantly faced with personal loneliness, pain, and the consequences of his sin, especially after his great moral failure with Bathsheba. Additionally he had to deal with the constant pressure of opposition from his enemies. More than that his heart was burdened with the needs of the people whom he led. If we are ever tempted to think that our momentary problems are overwhelming, just try to imagine the pressures which a leader like David had to face throughout his life.
Sometimes, in moments of stress, we offer the excuse, “I do not have the time or I do not feel like praying.” Instead, our thought should be, “I’m really too busy, too pressured, NOT to pray!” It is especially when we are distracted by the crunch of life’s problems, the opposition of our enemies, and the frustrations of life building up within us that we need to carve out time to enter into God’s presence. No matter how packed our schedules or how preoccupied we feel, we need to stop, quiet our anxious thoughts, and focus our hearts on God, seeking the consolation, the protection, and the enablement which the Father has promised to those who take time to commune with him. Martin Luther was reputed to have said, “I have so much to do today that I must spend the first three hours in prayer.” How much time are we devoting today to that which should have the highest priority in our daily routines?