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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 142



Verses 1-7

Maschil of David. A prayer when he was in the cave. This “Maschil of David” is instructive to us, for the experience of one believer is very edifying to another. We are so much alike that, as in water face answereth to face, so the heart of men answereth to man, and what one believer has felt awakens sympathy in the rest of God’s people.

Psalms 142:1-2. I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

David mentions that he prayed with his voice. This is an unimportant matter compared with praying with the heart; but when the heart is full of prayer, it is often very helpful to be able to use the voice to give expression to the emotions of the soul. To have a room in which, without disturbing others, and without ostentatiously revealing your private experiences to others, you can speak aloud unto the Lord, will be found to be a great advantage in prayer. Some men’s thoughts become more concentrated, and how more freely, and their hearts are better able to pour out their deepest and fullest expressions, when they can pray aloud. So David says that, in the cave, where he would not be likely to disturb anybody, he cried with his voice unto the Lord: “With my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication.” You can see from verse 2 what was the style of his prayer. “I poured out my complaint.” The figure is a very simple one. Just as you pour out water from a bottle, so David let his heart’s complaint flow out before the Lord. In pouring out water, it sometimes comes slowly gurgling, and sometimes fast; at times with a rush, followed by a pause. There is no prayer better than that which naturally flows from the renewed heart, without any strain or effort, it was so with David: “I poured out my complaint before him, I shewed before him my trouble.” Just as a patient shows his wounds to the surgeon, so take away the covering from your broken heart and wounded spirit, and set your trouble before the Lord, who already sees it. It will be no novelty or cause of surprise to him, but he desires you to manifest such trustfulness in him as will lead you to lay before him your complaint and your trouble.

Psalms 142:3. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.

“My spirit was so overwhelmed within me, that I did not know where I was, or what I was. I could not make head or tail of myself. I seemed to be like a skein of silk or wool in a tangle. My thoughts, as George Herbert would have said, were all a case of knives, sharp to cut and wound. I could not make myself out; I was a puzzle even to myself, but thou knewest my path even then.”

Psalms 142:3-4. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

This is a terrible condition for anyone to be in, — to have every friend forsake you, — to find that those who used to know you best, do not want to know you any longer, but turn their heads away as if it would be a disgrace to them to be known to have been your friends. This is a grand opportunity for testing the reality of your faith. Can you believe God now? Can you take him to be your Friend now that you have not another friend in the world? Fine weather faith is very cheap, and easily to be obtained; but the faith that can stand fast in the time of the storm and tempest, —that hardy mountaineering faith which hides in God in the coldest winter, and finds its summertime in him alone, — that is the faith that is worth having and worth keeping.

Psalms 142:5. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

“I left the broken reeds alone, and leaned upon my God. I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.”

Psalms 142:6-7. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

This is a beautiful metaphor, suggesting that, when the saints heard that God brought him out of prison, they would round about him, gaze upon him as a miracle of mercy, and ask him to tell them his wonderful tale. He would be the center of their delighted observation, and their own faith and hope in the Lord would be greatly increased. As a little imprisoned bird might long for emancipation, David says, “O Lord, open my cage-door, and let me fly; and I will sing, as I mount, to the praise of him who gave me my liberty. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about, for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.’”

This exposition consisted of readings from PSALMS 51. and 142.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 142:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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