Calvary Road Baptist Church


Psalm 142.4

 It is most typically referred to as life, though in reality it is death. For sure, there is metabolism and animation, your heart beats and your lungs fills with air, your stomach aches with hunger and your tongue is dry from thirst, there is thought and consciousness and self-awareness, but that is not life. That is only existence. You eat, you sleep, you play, you argue and fight, you find yourself growing and maturing, and yet if you are any more than an animal roaming for the next meal or drink you have some awareness of the emptiness of your existence. What does that which to many passes for life mean, after all? What are you good for? Would anyone notice that you are missing if you failed to show up one day? To be sure, some people would shed a few tears. However, would you really and truly be missed? Why would you be missed? How would you be missed?

In Psalm 142.4, it was revealed to a young man named David that, “no man cared for my soul.” David, you see, was in trouble. He had been a faithful shepherd for his father while living at home. He had been a courageous warrior against God’s enemies, killing the giant named Goliath and seeing many Philistines fall before him in battle. He even had a band of loyal followers. However, hiding from King Saul, who had grown jealous of David and was seeking to kill him, David had to face up to the fact that “no man cared for my soul.” Hangers on, certainly. A posse, without doubt. Loyal to David even to death, we can be sure. Admirers numbered in the thousands. However, that was all related to the aura that surrounded David. That was all connected to his fame and the publicity that followed him. When his moment of clarity arrived while he was hiding from Saul that night in the cave, David recognized a truth that he had not known, or perhaps had refused to admit, before. This truth is just as true of you as it was of David three thousand years ago. What is this truth? When it boils down to the essentials, no one cares about you, the real you, your soul.

I am not disputing that people have sentimental feelings for you, that they have grown used to you being around, and that they are affectionate toward you and very much appreciate the affection you show toward them. However, I am not willing to discount David’s inspired acknowledgment of the baseline reality concerning other people’s care for your soul. Not the things you can do for them, mind you, but the concern others have for your soul. In case we are not clear about this matter, your soul is that which came into existence when God breathed into the nostrils of the clay He had formed from the dust of the earth and Adam became a living soul. Your soul, you understand, is the immortal part of you, the part that does not die when your body finally and fully fails and then decays after its disposal. Your soul is the real you, that which cannot be seen, that which is not material, but which is an everlasting spiritual conscious existence. David said that no man cared for his soul. I maintain that is true of you. Do all you want to have as much fun as you can, and pretend to your heart’s content, but the reality is that no one cares for your soul. You may be a handsome hunk or a curvaceous beauty, but that speaks more to what others want from you than their concern for your soul. Perhaps you are talented or smart, which also speaks more to what you can do for others than for any concern they may have for your soul.

No one cares for your soul. Certainly not your unsaved mom or dad. I can prove it. How frequently has your unsaved dad sat you down and talked to you about the things of God and the importance of preparing for eternity, how crucial it is for your sins to be forgiven? Want to know why he does not discuss such things with you? He does not care for your soul. He talks about the things that interest him, the things that truly concern him. However, he seems to find no place for any discussions with you about your eternal soul. Is it any different with your mom? Consider your unsaved husband or wife. You may like the person you are married to. You may even love the person you are married to, after a fashion. I would bet you are physically attracted to your spouse and enjoy each other’s company. That said, I promise you that your lost spouse does not care for your soul, as evidenced by the fact that there has been no concern expressed and no encouragement from your spouse urging you to tend to the safekeeping of your eternal and undying soul. The person you are married to is letting you proceed through your existence on your way to Hell without comment or concern. The same is true of your unsaved son or daughter, your lost brother or sister, and even your lost boy friend or girl friend. “Oh, baby, baby, I love you.” Is that so? Consider how studiously the boy friend who claims he loves you avoids any discussion of spiritual matters, directs your conversations away from the Savior, and always seems to put off any consideration of sins and salvation for the future. Would you like to know why he does that? Want to know why he does not urge you to talk to the pastor about your soul’s salvation? It is because he has his own agenda, and any concern for your soul is relegated to a position of secondary importance, and will not be dealt with until after his desires and goals are achieved. Oh, he may love your body, and even find your mind of interest. However, he does not care for your soul.

Sad to say, this is all too often the case with someone who professes to be a Christian. You know a Christian. He or she is very nice at church (hopefully). Every time you cross paths on the church property, a kind word is exchanged. Every time you see each other at the grocery store, there is a pleasant greeting. However, does this professing Christian really have any concern whatsoever for your soul, for the eternal and undying part of you that will experience unending torment unless you are saved from God’s wrath by His Son, Jesus? Have you ever been invited to his home? Have you ever been sought out for fellowship, for meaningful interaction, or for any discernible reason whatsoever? Or does this professing Christian maintain a very arm’s distance relationship, making sure no personal interaction takes place? In other words, does this professing Christian engage you in any other way than a purely superficial and shallow exchange of essentially meaningless pleasantries? Think of it. There is no real investment of time, is there? Care for the soul is primarily shown by huge investments of personal, sometimes intimate, time. There is just no getting around it. I refer not to the time spent watching a fight or a game or a match, but to the time spent interacting in a personal way with conversation that is centered on the things of God.

What about the children? You know, children can be like Chinese food, sweet and sour. You like the sweet ones, the ones who are nice, the ones who know how to butter you up, the ones who can be socially adept and very manipulative. However, what about the troubled ones, the sour ones, the difficult ones? What about the ones who are hungry for love, who crave attention, and who scream in their own way for someone to love them no matter how they misbehave? I switch the perspective to ask if you are capable of looking past the difficulties, the confusion, the hurt, the rage, the distress, and the obnoxious attention getting behavior, to actually caring for the soul of a child? Of course, you do not, which is partly why the child has so much difficulty. He so desperately wants someone to care, but is constantly disappointed by those who profess to be Christians, and who are supposed to be better than that.

It is so hard to admit that no one cares for my soul. No one wants that to be true. Some will for the longest time deny that it is true, and will cast about in their search for someone to care for their soul, sometimes allowing the cheap and tawdry substitutes of guys at the bar, guys at the gym, guys on the range, or girls getting alone with their boyfriends, to distract from the harsh reality that no one cares for their soul. Over time and after many heartbreaking disappointments and disillusionments while growing up, even the most buoyant optimist is eventually turned into the cynic. What is the use? Why even try? If no one really cares for my soul, why should I care for my soul? Maybe I don’t even have a soul. Perhaps it would not hurt as much to admit that no one cared for my soul if I did not really have a soul. That is what I will do. I will deny that I have a soul and act like an animal. To be sure, not everyone carries on these kinds of discussions in his mind. As well, some carry the issue to its logical conclusion, while most do not. However, I am persuaded that everyone has a yearning, a hunger, a desire, a longing to be cared for, to be loved, for concern to be felt as that someone who cares for your soul expresses concern.

David was onto to something when he realized that no man cared for his soul. However, he was not despondent about it. Not to say that he was never discouraged by the selfish self-centeredness of his fellow man, but that David had a source of deep and satisfying consolation that I want to bring to your attention this morning.

Turn to Psalm 142. When you find that passage, please stand and read along with me silently:

 1      <<Maschil[1] of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave.>> I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.

2      I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

3      When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

4      I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

5      I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

6      Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.

7      Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

 We know that no one cares for your soul. David was very explicit about that. However, we read evidence that he was not without hope or consolation even in his darkest hour. Despite the fact that no man cared for his soul, David knew the same was not true of his God. While he is on the run to spare his life from Saul and soldiers that seek to kill him, David hides in a cold and lonely cave one night, in which circumstances he realizes what has always been true.

Consider four trains of thought before I make application of this psalm to your life:


 Scattered through this brief poem are three aspects of his crying to God during his time of trouble:

First, he cries out to God. How loudly David cried out to God can be debated. He is a hunted man, and it would not be wise for him to howl in the wilderness to express his anguish and heartache. However, there is no shyness whatsoever about expressing himself to his God:

 1      I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.

2      I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

Notice how expressive he was in praying. “I cried.” “With my voice.” “With my voice.” “I poured out my complaint.” “I showed him my trouble.”

Next, there is the content of his complaint to God. David was extremely distraught. In verse 3, he indicates that his “spirit was overwhelmed within” him. That is, David was completely covered by his discouragement. Despite that, however, he recognizes that God knows. He writes, “then thou knewest my path.” He admits in his darkest hour that God is aware of his circumstances and the direction of his life. However, even though God knows and God sees the situation of his life, he forcefully lays all out before the LORD in prayer his accusation against those who did him wrongly: “In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me,” verse 3. Notice verse 6, where we see David’s humble admission that he is not up to the task of dealing with his troubles by himself: “Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.”

Do you think he draws any comfort from his companions, those who follow him and who are surrounding him? Think again, verse 4: “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.” With David, this realization took place when he was a fugitive on the run. He looked to those surrounding him and realized that his refuge failed him, and his companions cared nothing for his soul. Soldiers in battle fight for their buddies because they think their buddies care for them so much that they will die for them. And they will die for their comrades in arms. However, God’s Word has the final say on whether the guy in the foxhole cares for your soul, or is simply fooling himself to stay alive and to keep from going crazy. It is a useful charade. As well, this realization does not always occur in conflict. Sometimes you are at a gathering of friends and you realize that they do not really care for your soul. That happened to me prior to my conversion. I remember it as if it happened only moments ago. Do your friends disappoint you? Are you astonished by their coldness and indifference at crucial times in your life? If you are, you do not believe the Bible, which describes all men as self-centered sinners. It is no surprise at all to the Bible believer that men are so concerned about themselves that they have no care for the souls of others. However, that does not mean we do not complain about it.


 What a comfort God is, the God of all comfort, to those few who are His own. Notice what provided comfort for David:

In verse 3, David is comforted that God knew his situation.

 “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.”

 Was David’s spirit overwhelmed? It happens to each of us. However, not everyone is a child of God, as David most certainly was, and took comfort by realizing, “then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.” Ever watch a little boy who gets in a predicament under the watchful eye of his father? As long as he knows that dad is watching he is okay. If dad sees and allows the situation to progress, then everything must be safe, even if not always comfortable. That was David’s comfort.

In verse 5, David is comforted that God was his refuge and portion.

 “I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.”

 Do painful things happen? Yes. Are there disappointments? Of course. Will people betray you? Certainly. Are there times when you are simply overwhelmed by circumstances and the realization that in this life you are absolutely alone? Absolutely. You came into this life alone. You will leave this life alone. Do not fool yourself into thinking you do not live this life alone. You are alone. Therefore, God had better be your refuge, since you will have no other refuge. As well, He had better be your portion, because in this economy you are about to see firsthand how unreliable material assets and soon to be worthless money are. Hiding in a cave, with soldiers walking around looking high and low for him. Recognizing that no one cared for his soul. Yet he is comforted by his God.


 Who is your God and what is He like? Is He mean and arbitrary, just waiting for an excuse to punish you? To many people God is just like that. David, however, recognized that His God was a covenant making and covenant keeping God of mercy, grace and kindness, most especially to His own.

Therefore, he expected his God to hear his cries for deliverance, verse 6: “Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.” Verse 7 begins, “Bring my soul out of prison.”

As well, he anticipated his response to God answering his prayers, verse 7: “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” Notice David’s strong assertions, even in his darkest hour: “the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” How this echoes the Apostle Paul’s confidence a thousand years later, in Second Timothy 1.12: “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Though no man cared for his soul, he knew his God would surround him with the righteous. He would be surrounded by God’s people just as surely as he was at that hour alone.

 Let me now make a modern application to this three thousand year old psalm written by David a thousand years before Christ. My application is derived from the tri-unity of God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Though no man cares for your soul, because man is a sinful and therefore essentially selfish creature, the same cannot be said about God. Your girl friend, your spouse, your brother or sister, and even your mom and dad may have with respect to you something akin to love. However, if they are not actively engaged in witnessing to you and praying for the salvation of your eternal and undying soul, it cannot be said that they care for your soul.

God the Father, on the other hand, has put on display for all to see the care He has for your soul. In eternity past He purposed to send His only begotten Son, who would be born of a virgin named Mary, to suffer, bleed, and die on a cruel Roman cross so that you might be saved from what your sins deserve. John 3.16 is properly the most well known verse in the Bible, showing that God the Father has the greatest of concerns for your soul: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Though no man cares for your soul, Jesus cares for your soul. The eternal Son of the living God condescended to step away from the manifestations of His great majesty to become for a time a little lower than the angels, demonstrating in an undeniable way His care for your soul. He suffered the death of the cross, the Just for the unjust, in clear demonstration of His care. However, that is not all. Not only did He die and rise from the dead, after which He ascended to His Father’s right hand on high, but He did two things further to show His care for your soul: First, He dispatched the Holy Spirit of God to indwell believers, His ascension gift to those of us who know the Savior, a token of His care for my soul. As well, though no man cares for your soul, and not even a Christian of himself cares for anyone’s soul, yet has Jesus Christ performed a truly great deed. In Second Corinthians 5.14, the Apostle Paul remarks, “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” This is not the believer’s love for Christ that constrains a Christian to engage in purposeful and determined evangelism. Rather, this is Christ’s love for the lost that is expressed through the life of the Christian! Therefore, while the child of God’s motives are not always pure, and while the Christian does not always prayerfully, spiritually, humbly, tenderly, and carefully minister to the spiritual needs of others, from the weirdly acting man, to the woman with the difficult personality, to the obnoxious and irritating little boy, Jesus Christ’s love for that one difficult to love continues to work, continues to exhibit itself, continues to reach out and go the extra mile and do the extra deed to bring the sinner to Christ. Should we confess that we do not care for the souls of others? Yes, but Jesus cares, and He shows His concern through those who are truly His to those He wants to become truly His.

Then there is the Holy Spirit of God. Does He care for your soul, my friend? He cares enough to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment to come, does He not?[2] He cares enough to indwell Christians and in so doing to produce in them a more appealing personality that you might be drawn to Christ.[3] He cares enough to perform the great miracle of the new birth in conjunction with the sinner’s reception of the gospel and response to the truth.[4]

My friend, I know what it is like to wince in pain at the thought of the disappointment and discouragement that comes from realizing, having to face the fact, that no one cares for your soul. It hurts. Sometimes you cry. However, more often you build up a shield to protect your mind and heart from the hurt. You hold it against your wife that she does not care for your soul, and the two of you grow apart. However, you are just as unconcerned for her soul. When did you ever plead with her to come to Christ? You need to understand that you are just as guilty of this as anyone you know.

So, what is the solution? Pushing people away? Holding it against them that they do not care for your soul? Giving back to them as much neglect as they have given to you? Not at all. God has not allowed this lack of unconcern for your soul to create despondency in you, a sense of hopelessness, but to take from you any pretense of relief. The solution is to turn from your sins to Christ. Should you come to Christ you will then experience the full and free benefit of Almighty God’s care for your soul, from the forgiveness of all your sins to the creation in you of a new heart. Once that happens, Christ’s love will be channeled through you to care for the souls of others, as perhaps that Christian was used by the Savior to invest so much time over the years to see you come to Christ. Come to Christ today. He will not refuse you. He will not reject you. He will receive you to Himself, the Savior who alone of all men cares for your soul. Then, as David was confident about in his day, you will praise His name, the righteous shall compass you about, and He will in all ways deal bountifully with you.

[1] Meaning a contemplative poem, Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), page 968.

[2] John 16.7-10

[3] Galatians 5.22-23

[4] John 1.12-13; 3.5-8; James 1.18

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