Friday, August 5, 2011

Psalm 13 & 17 - "How Long, O Lord?"

LINK: Psalm 13 & 17

BACKGROUND

Even though there is no attribution as to the time frame of these psalms, they fit well with the time David fled from Saul in the Desert of Ziph. If you are just doing the Psalms, read the background here: 1 Samuel 23.

REFLECTION

From my pastor:

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.” (Psalm 13:1-4)
Sometimes life can be so unfair. Sometimes it seems like the Lord has forgotten us and ignores our cries for help. 
Sometimes it is about what we see in our own lives that we do not like. David said he wrestled with his thoughts. His thoughts were not ones that he liked. He wanted to see them change, but change didn’t seem to come. He cried and prayed, but God didn’t come to his rescue. 
Sometimes it is about what others do to us – our enemies. David had enemies who were more clearly enemies than most of us have. His enemies brought armies against him in an attempt to take over his kingdom. His enemies brought real weapons with the intent of killing him. Most of us don’t have enemies of that sort. In fact, most of us would hesitate to call anyone our enemy. But there are those in our lives who trouble us: a friend we are not getting along with, a boss who seems to be against us, a co-worker who snubs us or makes our work harder, a spouse who is unreasonable, and parents who don’t understand. We pray about these situations and seek God’s help, but we don’t see anything that God does to help. The situation remains the same and no change comes. 
Where is God and why doesn’t He do something in response to our prayers? That was David’s question. It’s been my question and your question from time to time, too. 
And David’s answer: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6).  
David’s answer was to say, “I don’t understand, but I’ll trust You, Lord.” And the reason David was willing to trust the Lord when He seemed silent was because of what God had already done for him. There was no doubt about his salvation and if God had come to his ultimate rescue, then he would choose to trust Him with the smaller problems of this life, even when God’s answers or God’s timing weren’t what he wanted them to be.
2011 Update: I was in tears this afternoon as I read Pastor Steve's reflection. He wrote this in 2008. Since that time, I am sure that Steve and his wife, Claudia, have had to say, "I don't understand, but I'll trust You Lord" as they have grieved the loss of their 32 year old daughter who was killed in an automobile accident in December of 2010.   What a testimony of trust they have been for so many through this grieving time.

APPLICATION


I will sing to the LORD,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me. 
(Psalm 13:6)


Steve said, "And the reason David was willing to trust the Lord when He seemed silent was because of what God had already done for him." 

What has God already done for you? Try to do this! Often, when I have trouble trusting God, I will share my testimony out loud to the LORD so that I can recall all the many ways He has worked in my life. It reminds me that God has been faithful before, and He will be faithful again! It also leads me into a time of thanksgiving. If you journal, get out past journals and look at God's "bountiful dealings" with you through your journey of faith. Then, make a list entitled "The Ways God has Been Good to Me." 

Another way to recall God's goodness and faithfulness is by sharing your testimony with another person. Then, you bless someone else. Maybe they can share their testimony with you, and you will be doubly blessed. It could go on and on!

PRAYER

LORD, sometimes it seems like we cannot see Your face, but help us to trust in Your lovingkindness even in the difficult days. LORD, remind us of all the ways that You have blessed us. Help us to seek You. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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