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How Long Oh Lord?

In Psalm 13 the psalmist demonstrates raw honesty with God in prayer that many Christians feel uncomfortable with. He doesn’t act as if everything is ok when it’s not ok. He teaches us how to be realists concerning the brokenness of this world and the brokenness that touches our lives. Many seek to cope with the brokenness, sickness, suffering, and evil in the world by escapism, ignoring the reality of the world in which they live. Many do this by entertaining themselves numb with movies, games & social media. Some even do this in the name of faith, thinking it is pious to ignore the feelings of painful abandonment, loneliness, fear, discouragement, and despair. The Psalms teach us not to ignore these emotional heart struggles within us caused by the brokenness of this world, but rather they teach us to face them by acknowledging the pain, disappointment, discouragement, and fear, and then pouring our hearts out to God and trusting Him with these struggles (Psalm 62:8).

Psalm 13 is a prayer song of lament that teaches us several lessons about our prayer lives.

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalms‬ ‭13:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Express Your Grief to God in Prayer (v1-4) The psalmist gives the people of God permission to be real with God by communicating to him feelings of abandonment, discouragement, pain, sorrow and grief. God knows how we feel and what we really think, so it doesn’t surprise Him when we communicate honestly with Him because He already knows everything. However, He desires for us to have an intimate relationship with Him and this requires honest communication. Any married couple who doesn’t have the freedom to communicate honestly, even if it’s painful truth, will miss out on deep relational intimacy. And so it is with our relationship with God. We need to feel the freedom to communicate how we really feel and what we really think, otherwise, our relationship will remain at the surface level. God calls us to deep intimacy with Him through honest communication.

Trust In God’s Steadfast Love (V5a) When we know the One True God of the Bible we will cling to, trust in, and delight in His glorious, unchanging character. He is rich in love which is constant, steady, never-failing, and never-changing. He is 100% for us! He is not against us! He delights in doing good to us! He knows everything about us including every shameful secret sin, weakness and failure, yet He loves us more profoundly and fervently than any other being in the entire universe. And there is nothing we can do to make our God love us more. His love for us is perfect and full. So let us trust in His steadfast love. Let us trust that He will continue to show us His love daily and eternally!

Rejoice In His Salvation The psalmist has moved from anguish to assurance in God’s steadfast love and salvation. He delighted and rejoiced greatly in the salvation that God so graciously gave him. Jesus instructed his disciples to do this in Luke 10:20. The disciples were rejoicing because demon spirits were subjected to them. They were doing what Jesus did, casting demons out of people. That’s pretty cool! But Jesus redirected their joy towards something less subjective and towards something more steady, heavenly and eternal, namely their salvation. Their names were written in Heaven and that wasn’t going to be taken away from them. When you and I allow Heavenly realities be the basis for our joy and rejoicing then we won’t be so subject to having our joy taken from us when earthy possessions and comforts are taken from us. God’s people are called to rejoice in all circumstances (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16) because our Good Heavenly Father continues to remain the same (James 1:17) and our identity as His children remains secure (1 John 5:18).

Sing to The Lord (V6a) Throughout the psalms, the psalmists resolved themselves to sing to the Lord regardless of what difficulties came their way in life. This is how the psalmists fought their spiritual, emotional, and mental battles. And this is how we are to fight our battles. Praise is one of our weapons against the onslaught of the enemy. In our praise, we respond to the revelation of who God is as He has been revealed in Scripture and we respond to what He has done historically and in our own lives.

Reflect On How God Has Dealt Bountifully with You (6b) The Lord has been so good to each of us. Even if He were to take us home today, God has been good to us. Every day of life we have had with our families and friends has been a gracious gift from the Almighty’s hand. And though our days here on earth are numbered, He has promised life everlasting with Him in the resurrection. God has been good to us by daily providing breath to our lungs, food for our stomachs, clothes, and shelter for our bodies, music for our ears, beauty for our eyes, and loving relationships to enjoy. God has been good to us by delivering us from near deaths experiences where we seemed to be one moment away from death. God has ultimately displayed His goodness by sending His Son Jesus into this world to rescue us from sin and death. He has dealt bountifully with us who are in Christ. He has lavished grace upon grace on our lives (Ephesians 1:3-14). As we look back to reflect on the numerous ways our God has been good to us we are filled with confidence that He will continue to be good to us throughout all eternity.

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32

We have and will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13), and we are confident that because the Father sent Jesus to rescue us He will graciously give us all things, chase us down with His goodness and mercy and grant us to dwell in His house forever (Psalm 23:6).

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