Text: Psalms 13:1-6
(Psalms 13:1-2) “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? (2) How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?”
David begins this Psalm by complaining to God, asking five questions to God in verses 1-2: “How Long…”
- “…How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD?”
- “…for ever?”
- “…how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?”
- “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?”
- “…how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?”
God had evidently hidden His face (which means God had withheld His fellowship and communion) from David. God had promised in (Heb. 13:5) “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God cannot lie; therefore, God had not left David; but, had only withdrawn His fellowship from David. David could not feel, or experience, God’s presence at that time.
Not only did David feel all alone because he could not sense God’s presence with him; but he also asked, ‘God, how shall I rely upon my own soul for wisdom and understanding?’ Why?
First, David was aware of the deception of his own flesh. He knew that in his own soul dwelleth no good thing. David knew all too well that the flesh has as its guide, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:15-16). Therefore, he knew he could not rely on his own soul for counsel. Believer, the flesh is the great deceiver living in the soul of the believer (Rom. 7:14-24). The flesh cannot ever be trusted, or relied upon, to know any truth; for the flesh is a liar, and gets its orders from the father of all lies, the devil.
Second, David’s spirit was full of sorrow. David does not tell us the reason of his sorrow. The truth of the matter is, sorrow comes in two forms: (1) Godly sorrow, because of sin in one’s life; that is, sin that has been revealed to be sin, and sin that has not been confessed to God; (2) But this sin is known by the believer to be the reason of the separation of God’s fellowship (Isa. 59:2). The problem is not whether God will honor the believer’s confession; but, what the result will be because of the believer’s sin. Only God knows what is best to conform His children to His image.
In David’s case in this Psalm; God’s withdrawing His Presence from David caused David to leave his position of complaining to one of praying.
David Shifts from Complaining to Praying
David begins his prayer with two requests;
First, (Psalm 13:3) “Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” It appears that David is requesting God to intervene soon, or he would come to the end of physical life. The burden that David was carrying at this time, was more than he could physically deal with. David was contemplating that God may be through with David; and that his appointed time had come to die. God was in full control of David’s life, and God used this in David’s life to bring him to earnest prayer to God. Many times, God brings His children to the door of death (as they see it), to bring them to the degree of maturity that God has designed for the believer. God uses all types of events in the believer’s life to bring the believer from complaining to true prayer.
Second, (Psalm 13:4) “Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.” God, if I die, the enemy will say, ‘His profession that he was a believer was a joke; for God did not help him in his hour of need.’ Also, God they will rejoice that they had the victory over my defeat. So, David petitioned God saying, ‘Don’t let me be ashamed; and don’t let the enemy rejoice over my defeat.’
David Announces his Trust in God
David started this Psalm complaining; then he shifted to prayer; and now David announces to God, his Trust in God. (Psalm 13:5) “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” David made two great announcements in verse 5.
First, “But I have trusted in thy mercy…” David said, ‘God, I have trusted (or believed; or rested upon; or depended upon; or is my hope) “…in thy mercy.” The mercy of God is the channel through which the Grace of God is supplied. In David’s case; he trusted in the Promises of God; he trusted in God, Who he knew by experience. In our case we trust in Christ; Who is the Mercy of God; in Whom is the Fulfillment of all the Promises of God; in Whom God’s children are supplied the Grace of God (Eph.1:7; 2:8-9). This is the only pathway of Victory; that is, to trust in the Son of God.
Second, the result of trusting in the Mercy of God will be, “…my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” True trust in God always results in the rejoicing of the heart of the believer, for Victory is always sure for the believer who completely trusts in God, even though the situation around the believer causes his flesh to try to deceive and lead the believer to doubt God, and to lean on the flesh. Believers in Christ at times judge death to be a defeat; when in reality, death of the believer is really Victory. For when the believer closes his eye in death, he awakens in the very presence of Jesus Christ in heaven.
David gives way to Singing
(Psalm 13:6) “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”
The beautiful thing about coming to trust in the Mercy of God is that no matter if the situation, and events taking place, look to the human eye as if defeat is close – the believer is given a peace that passes all understanding; as they are, by the power of God, led to Rest in the Promises of God, in the midst of the storm. The Peace of God in the Storm cannot be bought, or cannot come by any scheme of man; but, comes only by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. When the believer is given this kind of Peace; he can face death, or anything else that the enemy can bring his way, knowing that the end will issue in total victory. The result of this Peace of God in the believer brings forth a song of praise to God, “… because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”
What a glorious change came to David from complaining to singing. Reader, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you too can go from the ashes of complaint to the oil of gladness, as you shift from complaining, to prayer, to trusting God; and then you will sing the praises of the abundant supply found in Christ; either way, in life, or in the face of death.