Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me. Psalm 142:7

The psalm’s title tells us that David wrote it “when he was in the cave.” Presumably when he was in hiding from Saul (1 Samuel 24). The cave must have seemed like a prison to David because he wasn’t free to travel where he liked. For eight years he wasn’t able to gather with God’s people at the Tabernacle—not for the Sabbath and not for any of the festivals. It was stated in the Law that, “Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord” (Exodus 23:17). It was hard on David not to be able to attend these festivals.

In another psalm he wrote, “These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng” (Psalm 42:4).

God didn’t answer David’s prayer for immediate release. Yet it was David’s expectation that God would bless him and his desire was to praise God’s name so that others would be drawn to God. We aren’t blessed just for our own benefit, but rather that the blessings will flow through us to others.

When we praise God in conversation with others or when we sing in a corporate setting, we also listen to their praise and the truth they share resonates with us. We “gather about” such people because we’re encouraged when we hear of God’s goodness.

In our setting, we are generally free to meet with other believers whenever we choose, so let’s not deny ourselves opportunities to be encouraged.