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Psalm 13

April 23, 2014 Were going to stray away from our Godhead study for this week, but instead of going back to Genesis I want to look at the thirteenth Psalm: How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? 2How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? 3Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. 5But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. 6I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. For some reason theres this odd belief that Christians are never depressed; we never get down because weve got the joy of the Lord. But here we see this man after Gods own heart, and hes in deep sorrow. We dont know whats causing him to feel this way, but he feels like God has abandoned him. He feels like God is never coming back, but then he prays and hes upheld by his faith in Gods mercy. Tonight I want to work through these verses with you and see if we cant find some comfort for ourselves. Lets start with the first two verses and see the cry of: How long?A cry from sorrow How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? 2How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Notice that how long appears four time. How long will you forget me? How long will you hide your face? How long will I have to sink into my depressed thoughts? How long will I be on the losing side of this war? Now we know that God never forgets us, but there are times when He hides His face. There are times when we feel as though Hes forgotten all about us and Hes not coming back. I can think of a New Testament example when the disciples were out on the boat in the midst of the windstorm. It says He came unto them at the fourth watch (Mk. 6:48) which was just before dawn. Sorrow may last for the night, it says (Ps. 30:5). Another time He lie sleeping while the disciples feared for their lives during a terrible storm (Mk. 4:38). He let them reach a point where they actually asked, Dont you care that were dying?

And for us there are similar circumstances. Maybe were in great danger or very sick. Maybe theres something causing us to feel troubled. Maybe were just depressed for no reason or full of doubts. These are the times when we sense that God is hiding His face and Hes forgotten all about us. It often feels unendurable and I suppose it might well be if not for grace. Its the time when life feels more like a burden than its worth everything seems futile and empty; its painful just to be alive. But these times are normal. These are times of being refined: Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction (Is. 48:10). These are the times of spiritual warfare against the prowling lion; these are the times which force us to be strong in the strength of the Lord (Eph. 6:10). And so, David suffers until he prays: Consider and hearA prayer for salvation
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Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. His prayer is that God will consider him and hear his request. The Hebrew actually means to look which is fitting because he feels like Gods face is turned away. Just look at me and hear me. Answer me. His request is lighten my eyes. You think about the sparkle thats in a mans eyes when hes happy and well and how that disappears in great sorrow or death. Hes saying, Revive me before I die; bring me away from all this sorrow! Hes so overwhelmed that he thinks it may end in death. His enemies seem to prevail over him. They rejoice because he isn t so steady and because his foundation doesnt seem so sure. You can almost hear them asking, Where is your God now? Its like the opposite of when Elijah taunted the priests of Baal: Maybe its your Gods turn to be on vacation or asleep. (I Kings 18:27). And so he makes this prayer for salvation, and look what happens; he says: But I have trusted A declaration of faith
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But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. 6I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

His trust is in Gods mercy, and thats very interesting to me. Why doesnt he say he trusts in Gods sovereignty? Why not in His strength? When your heart is broken and your soul is troubled and your enemy seems to overwhelm it seems more natural to trust in Gods ability to rescue. But David, I think, realizes that this sorrow is from the Lord and that it s Gods will that he should feel so overwhelmed, but also that God wont allow him to continue in it forever. All of his doubt and fear and pain are for a reason and God will not leave David to fall. I have trusted in thy mercy. I have trusted that you wont hold my sins against me. I have trusted that you wont forget about me even when I forget about you. You wont leave me even when I leave you. You want turn me over to the enemy even though I dont deserve to be saved. He trusts in mercy. And the result is that his heart rejoices and he breaks out in song. He thought he was going to die, but now hes aware of his salvation. He acknowledges that God has dealt bountifully with him. Some translations say Hes been good to me, but the idea behind the Hebrew word is something thats ripe or full. In other words, God hasnt left anything undone. He sings because God has given him everything that He wants him to have. If he struggles with doubt today it s because God has put him in this fire to set his faith into action and purge away the dross. And the result is that he has confidence in God which is the point. He starts out saying, how long? but ends up saying I have trusted! But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 15Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me (Is. 49:14-16) It makes me think of the old hymn by John Newton called I Asked the Lord: These inward trials I employ, From self, and pride, to set thee free; And break thy schemes of earthly joy, That thou mayst find thy all in Me. May we learn to find our all in Him, and may we there find comfort in our sorrows.

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