1 For the director of music. A psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 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 to the LORD, for he has been good to me.
Psalm 13 – When tough trials persist
(Verses 1-2) Four times David asks God ‘How long?’ The cry ‘O LORD’ shows this really does come from his heart. David obviously feels he has been under great pressure for too long. What causes his ongoing stress?
First, rather as in Psalm 10, he feels as if God has forgotten him and hides His face from him. His first two exclamations of ‘How long?’ respond to God’s seeming remoteness. He should know better than that, and so should anyone who knows Jesus as his Saviour and believes His firm promises. God promises to be always with us and never to leave us.
Second, David asks how long need he wrestle with some troubling thoughts and his sorrowful heart. He surely knows that life is often a battle: fears and sorrows are always near. But it is ‘in all these things’ that ‘we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’. (Romans 8:37)
Third, he looks back to problems with his foe. He feels he is losing the battle now. That is to be expected at times in the battle a Christian has with ‘the world, the flesh and the devil.’ But God will see us through, if we keep looking to Him, hard as it is at times. We have all been there. We will have victory finally and eternally, if we know Jesus. He has dealt with the only thing able to stop us knowing God – that is our sins. He paid for them in His death when punished in our place on the cross for us. The risen Lord of glory and victory is always on our side!
(Verses 3-4) David rightly prays. And we can learn from how he prays. He calls the LORD ‘my God.’ He asks his God to look on him and answer him. He asks for God’s light to help him see things clearly and to keep him alive. He rightly hates the thought that his enemy should gloat that God could not stop him defeating David. Then all David’s and God’s foes would gloat. His concern is both for his own life for the Lord and for God’s glory.
(Verses 5-6) See what happens, in this situation. It starts in dismay and despair. What happens when a man prays who knows and follows the LORD and reminds himself of God’s ‘unfailing love’, despite his feelings and weaknesses? As David trusts in God’s ‘unfailing love’, God begins to reassure him. His heart rejoices in God’s ‘salvation’ – which means God is saving him. ‘Salvation’ requires a ‘Saviour’ who has saved, does save, and will save. Today, when you trust and remember the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, you have very real cause to rejoice and sing to Him for saving you spiritually and forever. He ‘has been good’ to you. He still is and will be ‘good’ to you in this life and forever in Heaven.