Psalms 142:0 ¶ Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave.

Maschil is the term for a didactic or teaching poem.  David was inspired to write this poem by thoughts of a prayer he made when hiding from Saul in a cave.

Spurgeon: “Had David prayed as much in his palace as he did in his cave, he might never have fallen into the act which brought such misery upon his later days.”

Psalms 142:1 ¶ I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.

Psalms 142:2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

David opens by sharing that the subject prayer was one that he prayed aloud to God; it wasn’t a silent cry from the heart.  He wanted to make sure that the LORD heard the tone of passion in his cry for help.  He describes his words as gushing out like water being poured from a pitcher.  He fully explained the trouble he was experiencing—as if  God didn’t know.  I think it just helps us to be able to verbalize what is in our heart in trying to gain a spiritual perspective, even though we realize that God knows us better than we know ourselves.  I know that in times of my deepest distress, I have poured out my heart to the LORD with great tears and experienced a great cleansing of the spirit and sense of peace afterwards.

Spurgeon: “Pour out your thoughts and you will see what they are; show your trouble and the extent of it will be known to you: let all be done before the Lord, for in comparison with his great majesty of love the trouble will seem to be as nothing.”

Psalms 142:3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

This verse affirms the thoughts I expressed above.  When we get overwhelmed, the LORD knows it before we share with Him and has already prepared to instruct us in the way we should go.  David notes that his enemies have laid many traps, hoping to capture him.

Psalms 142:4 ¶ 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.

Though we know that David usually traveled with a band of men that were loyal to him, at the time being referenced he felt abandoned.  He could find no safe refuge.  He felt that there was no one that truly cared whether he lived or died.

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

Psalms 142:6 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.

Psalms 142:7 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.

In his depression, David called out to the LORD and claimed Him as his hope (from the Hebrew for “refuge”) and inheritance (from the Hebrew for “portion”) in this life.  He pleads with the LORD to hear his cry for help because he is very oppressed at the injustice he is experiencing.  He admits that his persecutors are stronger than he.  He prays for the LORD to set him free and give him reason to once again praise His name.  He is confident that when the LORD delivers him, he will be surrounded by those that are righteous, that want to join him in serving the LORD in obedience.  He knows that God will reward him for maintaining his faith (belief) and trust (confident expectation) in Him.

Spurgeon: “Anything which leads us to cry unto God is a blessing to us. “

Thomas Scott: “There can be no situation so distressing, perilous, or disgraceful, in which faith will not derive comfort from God by fervent prayer….In our greatest perplexities, when our spirits are overwhelmed by distress, and filled with confusion and discouragement, and all our own wisdom and resources exhausted and swallowed up; and when we see snares laid for us on every side, we may reflect with comfort, 'that ‘ the LORD knoweth our path : “'and if we aim to walk in his way, he will protect and guide us, and extricate us from every danger and difficulty.’”