David was hiding from King Saul in a cave and wrote: "I cry out
to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path.
In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me.
Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges
me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul" (Ps. 142:1-4).
I have heard preachers use this Scripture when preaching about
world evangelism and soliciting contributions. The preacher's appeal
usually involves an attempt to make his hearers feel sorry because
there are many people in the world who do not have anyone caring
for their soul; therefore, they need to evangelize the world.
The Hebrew word translated care here appears a little over twenty
times in the exact same participle form as in Ps. 142, but it is
only translated cares in one other passage. The meaning here is:
to follow (for pursuit or search); by implication to seek or ask;
care for. In other words it means: diligently seeking and searching
to care for one's soul.
This meaning of care is not foreign to the English language. It
is similar to a parent with an extremely sick baby. The parents
care for the baby, but they are unable to care for the baby so they
take him to a hospital. You see that there are two types of care
under consideration here. Likewise, with the souls of men: We care
for their soul, but we are unable to care for their souls - the
first is an emotional intention, the second is competent ability.
In Psalms 142, David is not complaining that no one cares about
his soul. He is stating a fact that no one cares for his soul because
it is impossible for any man to care for another man's soul - only
God can care for the souls of men (Ps. 142:5-7).
Now think about this: If a man could care for my soul, Jesus would
not have had to die for my sins. But a man cannot care for the soul
Deuteronomy 11:12 is the second Old Testament Scripture in which
this word is translated cares. Here Moses is instructing Israel
concerning the reward of obedience - the land for which God cares.
This land is Canaan which is a shadow of the kingdom of Christ,
the church (Heb. 11:13-16; 39-40; 12:22-24).
Now the point I want to make here is that the land of milk and
honey for which God cares is the kingdom of Christ, the church.
And since this is the spiritual land of the faithful, that which
God cares for is the people comprising the church. This does not
mean that God does not care for the people outside the church, but
it means that God's special care is upon His special people, royal
priesthood, holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9).
Now pause and think about the church which God has established,
in part, to care for His children. The people, in and of themselves,
are unable to care for anyone. But God uses His children to minister
to one another. Therefore we are a family (Eph. 5:22-33); assemble
to stir up love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25); love one another
(1 Jn. 3:16-18); bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2); admonish
one another (Rom. 15:14); reprove, correct, instruct, convince,
rebuke, and exhort one another (2 Tim. 3:14-ff); we chasten and
disciple one another (1 Cor. 5:1-ff; 2 Th. 3:14); we restore one
another in a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1); and we worship the
Lord together in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:23-24).
The Lord is the only One who can care for the souls of men. Thanks
be to God who has given us a wonderful family to aid in the care
of His children whereby we receive blessings from His hand as Christians
serve one another.