PROTEST, PRAYER, PRAISE
Lord Jesus, I choose you. Be the first goal, the main reason, the primary agenda I have in my life.
Read Psalm 13
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
- Psalm 13:1 In Hebrew texts 13:1-6 is numbered 13:2-6.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
As you turn to God’s Word today, take a moment to pause and ask God to shine his light into your present situation.
I wonder how much comfort you draw from the raw honesty of the psalms. Four times in this short psalm David asks God a question that begins ‘How long… ?’ However, it is more of a complaint than a question. When my young daughter asks, ‘How long until dinner?’ it is usually more about her hunger than a timetabling consideration! In the opening third of this psalm (vs 1,2) David presents his anxiety from the depths with shocking honesty. We should not resist this ourselves. The Lord knows our distress even before we verbalize it.
Having protested, David’s petition in prayer shifts to the source of his hope (vs 3,4). While speaking to God, he simultaneously addresses his own thoughts, shining light into his dark situation and declaring victory into his previously defeatist mindset. It’s in the second third of the psalm that David, in prayer, begins to climb upwards from the depths.
We’re given no indication that David’s circumstances have changed, yet he’s moved from a place of desperation to one of rejoicing. In the concluding third of the psalm (vs 5,6) David expresses a song of faith as he places his trust in his God by recalling his goodness in the past. This is a consistent pattern throughout the psalms and one we’d do well to imitate. As you read this you may be asking, ‘How long?’ in differing contexts. Be assured that it is not wrong to sense abandonment from God at times. As Gerald Wilson reflects, ‘Often when one is most firmly in the center of God’s purpose and will are attacks most severe and God seems most distant.’1 May we be courageous in expressing ourselves with honesty to our Lord, while confident in his desire to shine light into dark places and peace into the chaos.
‘A hidden face is no sign of a forgetful heart.’2 Lord, grant that I may know the comfort of your heart inclined toward me today.
Loving Lord, when the center of my life collapses, may the assurance of your embracing love hold me firm and true.
1 G Wilson, Psalms, Vol 1, The NIV Application Commentary, Zondervan, 2002, p281 2 Charles Spurgeon, https://archive.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps013.php
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