Psalms 140-145 I cry to you, O LORD I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living’

From Psalms 140-145

19 Psalms thumbNo one comes to help the Psalmist when he is in trouble. Instead he calls out to the LORD for help. The Psalmist is confident the LORD will answer his prayer and surround him with the righteous.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

The Psalmist begins in prayer to the LORD.

1 With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.

2 I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. (Ps 142.1-2)

The Psalmist cries out to the LORD for mercy. He goes so far as complaining, sharing with the LORD his trouble.

The LORD is always ready to hear our prayers for help. The Psalm reminds us we depend on him.

The Psalmist describes the trouble he is in.

3 When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.

4 Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. (Ps 142.3-4)

‘They have hidden a trap for him’. There are people who oppose and persecute him. It is because of them he cries out for mercy.

His situation seems dire because ‘no one takes notice of him’ and he has ‘no refuge’ where he will be taken care of.

When everyone else has abandoned him, he knows he can still cry out to the LORD.

5 I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

6 Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!

7 Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me. (Ps 142.5-7)

The LORD is his refuge and portion. What is your refuge? What do you value most in life?

He calls out to the LORD for deliverance from his enemies. He feels he is in prison, such is his situation. So he calls out to be brought out. Released out of the trap others have laid for him.

The Psalm ends with a note of confidence. ‘The righteous will surround me’. Whereas now he is surrounded by his enemies. He believes the LORD will rescue him and afterward surround him with the righteous, the people of God.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

“To call God “my portion” or “my ground of support” is a metaphorical description of God that in the Psalms appears on the lips of individuals in all three of life’s phases: orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. It is found

  • (a) in an affirmation of confidence that is grateful for life’s stability, in Ps 16:5;
  • (b) in laments, here and (in a wisdom setting) in Ps 119:57, and also outside the book of Psalms in Lam 3:24; and
  • (c) in a wisdom-related thanksgiving song, in Ps 73:26.

In each of these diverse places in human life God is celebrated as “my portion.” Originally a member of the tribe of Levi could say with reason,

“God is my portion; in our case God takes the place the land has for the other tribes.”

This saying passed into the devotional language of ordinary believers from other, landed tribes. They too could speak of God as their portion.” (Allen, L.C., 2002. Psalms 101–150 (Revised), Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)

Story of Jesus

God is our refuge, he is our Portion. We go to Jesus for refuge, that we may hide ourselves in him, to cast ourselves on his mercy, to rest in his loving care.

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt 11.25-30)

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.