"He wants not friends that hath Thy love” —Richard Baxter
According to the superscription, David wrote Psalm 142 "in the cave" (of Adullum), making it a companion piece to Psalm 52 (Cf., 1 Samuel 22:1,2). David had fled the Philistine camp in which he mistakenly thought he would find a home. Forced out, he found himself on the run again, friendless and alone.
Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who wants to know me;
No place of refuge;
No one asks about me (142:4).
I think of those that have reached "length of days" and are unloved and uncared for. Friends and family have forgotten them.
I see them everywhere—in retirement communities, in homeless shelters, on buses and park benches—"silent sentinels of neglect," as someone has said. My heart goes out to them in their loneliness and despair. Three Dog Night was right: "One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do."
Here in this poem, David turns from his loneliness to one who cares for him like no other. One who listens; one to whom he can pour out his soul.
"I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You (and you alone) are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living" (142:5). He finds that God is all he needs for as long as he lives. He is there for you as well.
"What a friend we have in Jesus..."