Psalms Reading – 1.13.2022
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 is identified as one of the classic examples of a lament in Scripture. Laments mourn the way things are. They are songs of sorrow. About one third of the psalms, that’s around 50, are in this category. It may surprise us that a huge chunk of the prayer and songbook of God’s people is the honest expression of sorrow for what was happening in their lives and world.
Lamenting prayers ask God, “Why?” because their previous prayers haven’t received a quick answer. Such heart-wrenching prayers often end in the light of trust and offer a fresh sense of God’s presence and hope. God doesn’t answer the why, but the Spirit enters and laments deep within us so we can experience the healing love of God. And out of his abiding, loving, presence can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new wisdom, and a new hope. Laments often have four parts.
- Turn to God. David keeps going back to God. He does not just talk to other people about his problems, but he goes to God because he believes, ultimately, that God has the answer and will offer him the help he needs.
- Offer your complaint. We honestly tell God our thoughts and feelings. David asked four times in different ways, How long? In other words, When will you answer? When will you intervene? God can handle our raw honesty in the midst of our hurt.
- Ask boldly for help. We tell God what we need. David said it this way, “Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.”
- Choose to trust. This is the destination for our laments. David said it this way, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.” Even before God’s answer came, he was declaring his trust, his heart was rejoicing, and he was singing praise.
Psalm 9:1, I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Question(s) to Consider:
Are you lamenting something? Could you write a lamenting prayer to express your need to God? Would you share it with us?