Sunday, February 12, 2017

Honesty and Hope

(A reoccurring post--a favorite to our readers; see comments on 12/21/08, 2/12/09 and 8/11/13)
Today’s Bible Reading:  Leviticus 18-19, Psalm 13, Acts 19
Topic: Overcoming Despair

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm 13

1 How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
         How long will You hide Your face from me?
 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
         Having sorrow in my heart daily?
         How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
 3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God;
         Enlighten my eyes,
         Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
 4 Lest my enemy say,
         “I have prevailed against him”;
         Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
 5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
         My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
 6 I will sing to the LORD,
         Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
 (Psalm 13 NKJV)

This Psalm of David divides into three sections. 

In verses 1-2 David questions the Lord.  Everything is written in the form of a question, but the questions express his lament, his doubts, his impatience, and his despair.

In verses 3-4 David appeals to the Lord, but his appeal is a continuation of his lament.  David seems depressed.  He feels defeated, or nearly so.  His cry for enlightenment sounds like the last ditch wish of a hopeless man who is at the end of his rope.          

In verses 5-6 the tone shifts so abruptly it’s like observing the mood swing of a manic depressive.  Is this the same guy?  David’s expressions of trust, joy and worshipful singing are a sharp change from the rest of the psalm.    


In this short psalm, what seems like a dichotomy of expression, is really a picture honest human beings can relate to.  How often do we come to situations in life that seem to bring us to our wits end?  The pattern given to us in this psalm is one of honesty and hope.  David is honest before the Lord about how he feels and what he is going through.  We can learn here that it is alright—indeed it is needful and desirable—to be perfectly honest with ourselves and the Lord.  He knows how you’re feeling anyway, so why not just spill out exactly and expressively what’s going on inside of you. 

But anxiety and woefulness cannot be wallowed in with no hope.  As healthy as it is to honestly spill your guts, living in that quagmire will not be.  Thank God for verses 5-6!  David’s cry for enlightenment in verse 3 is answered in verses 5 & 6.  Our loving and merciful God will never leave us without hope!  There is no situation in life that you can go through, as dark and evil and painful as it may be, that is beyond the reach of God to restore joy, peace and meaning.  You, as David, can trust in Him through it all.


Lord, thank You for this encouragement from Your Word.  May I always and in every situation be able to say, “I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.  I know that You have dealt bountifully with me; therefore my heart is not deprived of my song of worship and praise to You.”
Through the presence of Christ always within me.  Amen.  -AP

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