The Saddest Verse in the Bible
“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.” — Psalm 142:4
A few weeks back I mentioned that Brother Andrew once asked while preaching in Sri Lanka, “What’s the saddest verse in the Bible?”
He answered his own question: “Psalm 142:4, ‘… no one cares for my soul.’” And he shared that when he first read the verse in his Bible, he wrote in the margin, “I don’t want to be no one.”
There are few greater ambitions for a Christian than to live so compassionately that the people in your life say, “That person really cares for my soul.”
This verse applies to all of us in two ways.
First, some of us right now, and all of us at some point in our lives, wonder: “Who cares for me?” The pain of loneliness and isolation will be more acute for some than for others; but I think you can scarcely live a fully human life without experiencing loneliness.
Second, all of us know someone who at this very moment is feeling like “no one cares.” I think Brother Andrew’s resolve is admirable: “I don’t want to be no one.” I want to live in such a way that those who know me feel that I care for them. I want our church to be a community that deeply cares for one another — a place of refuge for brokenhearted people who finally find at New Covenant someone who cares for their soul.
David writes these words from a cave. He has conquered Goliath, enjoyed the warm friendship of Jonathan, the marital love of Michal, and experienced great success in all he did. People loved and admired him. But now he is forced to flee from King Saul. He’s had to bid farewell to Jonathan. Michal is left behind, and the love she felt for David will soon sour into disdain.
He is alone in the cave of Adullam — not literally alone, of course, because 1 Sam. 22:2 tells us, “And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them.” With friends like these, who needs enemies!
What will David do here in this miserable cave, surrounded by these unsavory companions?
Answer: He will pray.
Someone has said, “There can be no situation so distressing, perilous, or disgraceful, in which faithful will not derive comfort from God by fervent prayer.”
It’s easier to talk about praying than it is to actually do it.
David cries out to God with urgency and earnestness. He pleads for mercy to the Lord. He pours out his complaint and tells God all about His troubles. His spirit is fainting within Him, and He is nearly sinking in the quicksand of despair. He is out of energy. But still there is hope!
He tells the Lord, “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!”
He is beset by dangers: “In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.”
We have no idea what kinds of snares our Enemy has spread for our feet. But our Lord knows all mysteries, fathoms all depths, knows all hearts, and controls all situations. He sees every snare and pitfall.
David is painfully alone. His right hand man is missing: “Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me.” It’s not that they didn’t know David; it’s that they ignored David.
Spurgeon poignantly comments, “He had known many, but none would know him… It is better to be opposed by foes than to be forsaken by friends.”
Bereft of all comfort, he laments: “No one cares for my soul.”
Looking out, it’s hopeless. Yet looking up, David is full of hope.
“I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’ Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me! 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.” Psalm 142:6-7
Loved ones, human help often fails when it is most needed. Divine help is at its strongest when it is most needed. You may be looking around and finding no one who cares for your soul. Have you looked upward lately? Have you lifted your gaze to Jesus? Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.
Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior;
One Who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.
Tenderly cared-for and caring for you,
Pastor David Sunday