July 8

Today's Bible Reading
     Joshua 10
     Psalms 142-143
     Jeremiah 4
     Matthew 18
''...Refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry." (Psalms 142:4b-5)
            The caption before David's Psalm 142 tells us it was contemplation when he was in the cave. It is obvious from this Psalm that David, who was fleeing from Saulat the time, was in deep discouragement. David's muffled spirit is a picture ofdisorientation. He tells us in verse 3 that his spirit is overwhelmed. He is pursued by two armies - one made of soldiers, the other made of sufferers. His life is entangled in a lot of problems and he really seemed to have nowhere to turn I can picture David slumped within the silence of the cave, his head hid in his hands, reflecting on the place to which his life had brought him. He feels disoriented and lost. He also must have felt deserted. Verse 4 is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. David felt that no one was there for him. After all he had done, he now felt friendless. There could have been a crowd around, but David felt totally alone. Have you ever visited such a cave?
            I believe the Psalm indicated that David may have also been depressed. He tells us in verse 6 that he is brought very low. Isn't that what depression is all about. There are some who teach that being in depression is very unspiritual. Maybe it is, but we need to understand that Elijah, Moses, Jonah, and now we discover, David, faced depression. David's depression may have approached even a zone of desperation.
            Did this mean David was no longer a Child of God? Of course not! He was, indeed, deep into the dark cave of depression at times, and this is particularly true of Godly leaders. These are men and women who dwell in the world of momentous expectations and great responsibility. They wear the mantle of greatness with unease and, quite naturally, great expectations can lead to great depression.
            David is in a place where he can see nothing but grim prospects. He is wearing dark glasses that tint the entire world in shades from gray to black. He does what most of us do when we are feeling low. He sits within his cave and proceeds to take inventory of his life. He comes to the conclusion that the assets are zero, and the liabilities are endless. Is there any hope of escape? Then, suddenly, David realized his provision in God. (vs 5) David has remembered that he is praying to the Creator of Heaven and earth, and now he begins to rejoice in the provision that God has made for him. 
            An old, African American preacher once commented, unforgettably, on this verse, “There is no living in the land of the living like living in the living God”The “land of the living”is not a reference to eternity or Heaven. It is a reference to living right now. We have much more than “pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye”. You may be in the cave, but the Bible is written for the rough realities of life, the nitty-gritty of the here and now. It is intended to help those of us who rise every morning, drive to work, and punch the clock to face genuine challenges. You have a song to sing today.
            One of the world's wealthiest and most efficient trading and financial centers is the Republic of Singaporein Asia. Only 14% of this country, however, claims to be Christian with Buddhists being the largest segment of the religious population boasting 43%. As you focus your prayers on Singaporetoday, pray especially that God's people will be able to cope with affluence and still maintain a spiritual sharpness. May they use their wealth for Kingdom building instead of selfishly building personal kingdoms? Many young people become inactive once they become independent and get involved in the materialistic rat race. The HaggaiInstituteis doing a great job in Singaporeproviding stimulating courses for pastors and Christian workers from all over the world.  Pray for their work and the impact upon the culture.

There has to be a song: To make our burdens bearable, To make our hopes believable, To transform our successes into praise!
Robert Benson