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person trapped April 22 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Samuel 26; Psalm 31

Trapped

What do we do when we feel trapped, when we seem surrounded by problems with seemingly no way of escape? Do we give in to despair? Do we get panicky and take desperate actions? Do we rely on our own wits? Will we make deals with anyone, even God, to get us out of it? Where is God when we are trapped?

The answer to the last question is that God is always present, but he wants to be our refuge (more...). Where or to whom do we go to when we are in trouble? If it is God, then he will help us find the right way out of our ensnarement. If we depend on anything or anybody else, it is an offense to him and might be even considered idolatry. God will let a person come to the end of his own sufficiency, his dependency on other people or other means. He will do this so that a man will learn to lay the fate of his soul at God’s feet. God hates pride but exalts the humble and needy.

David, in the days of King Saul, was still fleeing the hot pursuit of his jealous king. He had relied on his own wits before, and to some extent was still doing so, but through his desert experiences he was learning to rely upon the LORD.

The Ziphites (people from the town of Ziph in the Israelite tribe of Judah) betrayed his whereabouts. What was their motivation? Perhaps they were trying to curry favor or riches from Saul. Saul may have put a price on David’s head, so perhaps they were trying to collect the reward money. Saul’s men, knowing jealousy was his weakness, may have incited him to pursue David for their own personal profits (1Samuel 26:19). Meanwhile, David was hiding in and around large rocks and caves in the desert of Ziph, being hunted by Saul’s army.

Before we berate David too much for hiding from Saul and living by his own wits, we should remember that faith and trust in God is something that we all must learn to do. What David the psalmist wrote will be of some profit to us when we feel trapped. David said in Psalm 31:1-5

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth. (NIV)

Many times it is not just the physical attacks we face but our fears that disable our spirit and make us depressed, anxious and even panicky. We need to commit, not just threatening situations, but also our spirits to the LORD, (i.e., place our emotions in his hands).

David’s psalm ends with the admonition: “Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD,” (Psalm 31:23-24, NIV). We need this encouragement; our fears can make us weak, but we can find our strength in God.

Feeling trapped can make people very afraid, yet David made a commitment to trust God and his word. We must do the same. A child who does not know how to swim is also afraid, even terrified. She does not want to be trapped under the water and drown. When she stands on the edge of a swimming pool or other body of water, she sees her daddy in the water saying, jump into my arms; I will catch you. At that point, his child must make a choice, to jump or to cry and walk away. Our father in heaven wants us to jump into his arms. His arms are safe; his arms are strong. He will not let us be trapped under the water of our situations and drown.

Lessons to live by:

  • God is always present, but he wants to be our refuge (more...).
  • God hates pride but exalts the humble and needy.
  • Faith and trust in God is something that we all must learn to do.
  • We need to commit, not just a threatening situation, but also our spirits to the LORD (i.e., place our emotions in his hands).
  • Feeling trapped can make us very afraid, yet David made a commitment to trust God and his word. We must do the same.

Today’s Bible memory verses:

Psalm 31:3-5 “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.” (NIV)

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