There will be times of deep distress when we are standing alone. For those times of loneliness and frustration there is a wonderful Psalm of David, Psalm 142.

David was in a “lonesome valley” when he wrote this Psalm. Only, his “lonesome valley” was actually a cave where he was evidently very alone.

We are given some interesting information about the Psalm from the heading.

A Maschil was perhaps a Psalm of instruction. This Psalm gives instruction to all Christians who feel like they are “up against it” or having an extremely difficult time.

The author is David. You know who David was.

· He was the young teenager who stood up to the Giant Goliath when the whole army of Israel was fleeing from him. 1 Samuel 17:45-46

· Because of this victory David became a national hero. He was then a public figure that didn’t let his popularity go to his head. 1 Samuel 18:14

· There was a problem, however. The current king, Saul, had disqualified himself as king, and God told him that he and his family would be replaced. When David emerged it became obvious to Saul who that next king would be. Saul eventually became David’s enemy.

· Saul tried to kill David on several occasions.

· David had an enemy that he didn’t want. David did not try to hurt Saul in return. He waited for God to deal with Saul in God’s time.

· David did eventually become king.

Now back to our heading. This Psalm is a prayer written in a cave.

David had to flee from Saul. He became a refugee and often hid in caves. Saul was out to get him, so he hid.

I think it most likely that the cave referred to in this Psalm is the cave Adullam. 1 Samuel 22:1-2

It seems that David was alone when he wrote this Psalm.

I believe it was written before his family and friends showed up.

This prayer is one that might encourage you when you feel like you are in a “lonesome valley”.


David knew who to approach in that lonesome valley. He sets the example for us. He comes to God. Let us remember that this is exactly where God wants us when we hurt. He wants us before His throne. It is a throne of grace! Hebrews 4:15-16

Vs. 1 – David was not silent in his lonesome valley. His prayer was a prayer that was made out loud. It was a burdened prayer that unloaded everything on God. Psalm 55:22

Vs. 2 – David poured out his complaint. He was not complaining about God. He was expressing to God his concerns. He spelled out his trouble to God.

If God is all knowing, omniscient, why should David or us tell God what the problem is?

Bringing the problem to God is an act of faith. God wants us to trust Him.

Another reason for pouring out your complaint before God is that He cares. 1 Peter 5:7

DAVID’S AGONY – Vss. 3-4

Vs. 3 – David’s spirit was overwhelmed. His problems and sorrow were so great that he almost didn’t know where to turn. You’ve probably been in that position.

David’s enemies, particularly Saul, were setting secret traps for him.

Satan works this way as well. That is why we sometimes get broadsided with problems and sin. Satan sets a trap when we least expect it.

Vs. 4 – If you are right handed, you want your tools at your right hand. You want your friends handy to help you as well. Perhaps this is why we have the phrase “Right hand man”.

David looked for help, and at that moment in time there was nobody there. There was no help available.

Eventually the help would come, but for the moment he was on his own.

But was he really alone?

The answer, of course, is no!

Even in this agony, David was not alone!

when my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path…


Vs. 5 – There are two good reasons why David cried out to God here.

God was David’s refuge. He could always come to God for protection and help. God is always available to His children in times of deepest distress.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

God is also our refuge from our biggest problem, punishment for sin.

It is God the Son who died on the cross, was buried and rose again.

It is God the Son who is our refuge from judgment when we put our trust in Him.

Have you taken your refuge in Christ? John 3:36

God was David’s most prized position. God was more important than anything and anybody. Is that true of you? Lamentations 3:24

Notice in this verse that the Lord is our refuge and portion in the “Land of the living.” Christianity is not just for when I die. God is our refuge and portion for all eternity.

But God is to be my refuge now while I’m living.

God is to be my portion, my prized possession now while I’m living.

Vs. 6 – I love David’s honesty. He needed God’s help, God’s assistance, and he admitted it. He generally wasn’t one of these people who tried to solve His own problems. He relied on God.

He was “brought very low” by his persecutors.

He sought God’s assistance because he realized that his persecutors were stronger than he was.

You will find very often that your persecutors are stronger than you are. Your ultimate persecutor, Satan is. That’s why you need God’s help. 1 Peter 5:8-9


Vs. 7 – I wouldn’t take the word “prison” literally here.

We have all sorts of problems that are “prisons”.

Usually when we want to be delivered by God from our prisons we are looking for an easier life for ourselves. However David had a different motive.

If God delivered David from prison, David would be able to give God the glory for it! He would be able to give the praise to God for it. God would be glorified.

Instead of asking God to deliver us from prison so we’d have an easier time of it, let us ask God to deliver us from prison so that he would be glorified!

And when we are delivered from prison it will be the righteous who are there for us.

I love the last phrase of this Psalm, for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

David was confident that God would deal bountifully with Him.

When someone does something bountifully, it is generous, it is gracious, and it is more than we need.

When God deals bountifully with us, He is generous, He is gracious, and He gives us more than we need. Psalm 73:23-26

Are you in a “lonesome valley”?

Learn from David and be comforted.

If you are not in a lonesome valley, you will be.

Learn from David so you will be prepared when that valley comes!