Today: [Psalms Thirteen / Fourteen] How Long Oh, Lord? Do you ever despair of waiting on God? Are you experiencing difficult circumstances and wondering where is God in all of this? In Psalm 13 David cries out to God as the martyrs do in Rev. 6:10. He is not murmuring against the Father but expressing in all honesty his frustration. God always hears us when we cry to Him in transparency and openness. David’s prayer life is characterized by his candid approach to God. We are enriched in our own prayer life when we follow his example.
[Psa 13:1-6 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, [having] sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider [and] hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the [sleep of] death; 4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; [and] those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. 5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. 6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
Again in this psalm we see an example of David’s prayer life. He expresses his complain and concludes with a declaration of his confidence in God. David’s prayer life is of interest to us because in Acts 13:22 we see that God considered David a man after His own heart. God looks at David and says “that’s a man of like spirit after Me…” On that basis we take David as an example of godliness and intimacy with the Father. Predominantly including the writings of David, Psalms is the longest book of the bible and constitutes a general audit of his prayer life. There is something in David’s prayer life that God wants us to understand and relate to.
David begins this psalm feeling isolated and forgotten by God. He cries out in his frustration “how long O Lord…” This phrase “how long” appears 60 times in the bible usual when God is speaking to His people about their disobedience and obstinate neglect of His commandments. In Rev. 6:10 we see the martyrs crying out from God’s throne “how long oh Lord…” This is the cry echoed in the lips of David. He was the very first person recorded in scripture to ask this question and not to be rebuffed by God for doing so.
There will be times that you will feel forsaken by God. There will be experiences you will go through that you will not be able to find the fingerprint of God in the circumstance. Like David did, we can be transparent with the Father. He is not going to become angry with us because we are honestly expressing ourselves. This is the one singular characteristic of David’s prayer life that distinguishes him from others in the scripture. David was honest, intimate and transparent in his prayers.
David reflects a messianic portent when he feels that God has turned His face from him. Jesus came very close to quoting David on the cross in Matt. 27:46 when He cries “my God, my God, why have you forsaken Me…” David sees his enemies lording over him and in his vexation looks to God for relief. You will in your lifetime experience enmity from those around you.
What is an enemy? This can be a hard question to answer because many times they are those that are close to you and feign themselves to be your friends. In scripture Satan is identified as the adversary. If you want to find the seat of Satan in your life identify that which is adverse in your life. An enemy however subtle is the person who see you and judges you through a filter other than the one that God looked through when He sent Jesus to die for you. An enemy sees you differently that God sees you. What is to be your response? Not to respond in kind but to cry out to God for relief.
David asks the Father to consider him and deliver him in light of the rejoicing that takes place when his detractors see him in his weakness. When your friends see your weakness they will rally around you and hold you up in your frailty. When your enemy sees you in your weakness he will rejoice and commend himself for his wisdom in identifying your vulnerabilities. How does God respond in this type of adversity? Your enemy can very often be someone who considers themselves devout before God. When two believers are at odds with one another how are we to proceed? David is our example. We cry out to God believing for deliverance and leaving the details to Him.
Finally in verse 5 David turns from expressing his complaint to voicing his confidence. He declares that he will trust in God’s mercy. Notice he isn’t calling for judgment or wrath. The most powerful prayer you can pray is a prayer for mercy. David knew his own shortcomings. He was capable of self-disclosure and being honest with himself when he looked in the mirror. He isn’t saying “I’ve paid my dues – you owe me!” He realizes that all men fall short and simply appeals to the clemency of God and trusts that in the end of the matter he will have reason as v. 6 says to “sing unto the Lord, for He hath dealt bountifully with me…”
[Psa 14:1-7 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David.]] The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one. 4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people [as] they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. 5 There were they in great fear: for God [is] in the generation of the righteous. 6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD [is] his refuge. 7 Oh that the salvation of Israel [were come] out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, [and] Israel shall be glad.
In this psalm David is crying out for “salvation to come out of Zion…” He looks around at the influence of the enemy on men’s lives and concludes there is “none that doeth good…” Paul quotes extensively from David’s sentiments here in Romans 3:10-20. Some theologians term these verses to declare the “total depravity of man”. Many times we may feel we are in the right or of upstanding character but we must remember the words of Jeremiah:
[Jer 17:9 KJV] 9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
David goes on to describe God looking down to inquire if there was any that understood or sought after His kingdom and unfortunately found none. In the Old Covenant this was cause for judgment. In Gen. 6 we see God taking this measurement of man with disastrous results:
[Gen 6:5-7 KJV] 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Is this the way God looks now? In Gen. 9:11 God makes a covenant with Noah to never again destroy the earth by a flood. What does this tell us? That God was revealing His heart that He doesn’t seek the destruction of man even in His disobedience. This is why He sent Jesus. Isa. 53:10 tells us that God looked on the sins of the world and was pleased to bruise Jesus upon the cross in order to satisfy divine justice in our behalf. When we struggle with our own sin or the sinfulness of the world around us we have to make a decision – will we look to the law or to the cross?
David’s cry is for salvation to come out of Zion. Zion is the figurative seat of the government of God upon the earth. When he speaks of God bringing back the captivity of the people of the earth David isn’t speaking of an immediate crises in his circumstance but rather looking back to the garden and the fall. He is declaring that one day God will turn man’s captivity to sin – in sending Jesus to die for sin that we might be free to obey!
David concludes with the declaration that Jacob will rejoice and Israel will be glad. Jacob means “heel grabber”. Mentions of Jacob in scripture speak of unredeemed humanity and the unsanctified will of man. David is saying that Jacob will be glad because he will be delivered from his own rebellion and disobedience and transformed into Israel – a prince with God who prevails! That is not just Jacob’s portion but it is our portion as well as we embrace and yield to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.
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