Reading through the Bible together
In 2012, over 44 million people in North America were suffering from loneliness. Statistics show that the number of people suffering from loneliness on a world-wide scale has increased over the decades. Loneliness has been defined as “a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation”. Loneliness can be complex because its causes are complex – you can be in a room full of people and still experience loneliness, i.e. the isolation is not always geographical or physical.
In this psalm, David is lonely. He is being persecuted by Saul and he’s hiding in a cave, possibly at Adullam (1 Samuel 22: 1, 4) or En Gedi (1 Samuel 24: 1 – 22). He is exhausted, discouraged, depressed (vs. 3, 4, 6) and in one sense imprisoned (vs. 7). And he feels so desperately alone – “no one cares for my life” (vs. 4). This is the man after God’s own heart at a real low point in his life. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – we all have times in our lives when we feel hopeless, discouraged, lonely, even depressed.
What does David do in this seemingly dark and hopeless time in his life? He turns to God? Yes, he does. But there is more to it. He turns to God with assurance. Even though he may doubt all else in his life, David knows that God knows his way (vs. 3) and is in control of his life.
He turns to God, confessing that He is the only place of refuge (vs. 5) – the only place David is safe. We, too, can only be safe from the enemy in God’s presence.
He turns to God with his priorities straight. David knows that God is his portion (vs. 5). The word portion refers to the land allotted to the tribes of Israel. The Levites received no portion – the Lord was their portion (Numbers 18:20). In the same way, David turns to God admitting that worldly possessions are not a priority - God’s love and presence are his greatest possession.