Psalm 13

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,

and have sorrow in my heart all day long?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

4 and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;

my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Does God forget his people? It sure seems like it to many believers when they get into circumstances that they feel are too big for them to handle. Does this Psalm verify such feelings? And if it does what do we do with lots of other biblical texts that affirm that God never leaves us? Note a few things about this Psalm:

1) While David asks God if God has forgotten him and hidden His face from him, he does so by prayer. In other words, David is talking to God about God being far away. If David really believed that God was far off and forgetting him, would he be talking to God about it? No. David knows that God is there. He knows that God has not forgotten. He knows that God hears what he is saying. His question is about the circumstances and God’s response to them. He is poetically asking why God does not intervene in ways that would make his troubles go away. The poetry does it more powerfully than simply asking “Why does it feel like you have forgotten me?”

v. 1How long will you hide your face from me?

2) The second line of verse 1 helps explain. The “forgetfulness” of God is this: that He does not shine on us with benevolence all the time. God is still at work in and for us. He still loves us. But He does not always show it in giving us only pleasant circumstances and easy travels.

3) We may see the purpose of God a little bit in verse 2. In the absence of getting what he wanted from God, David has been forced to look inward and find counsel from his own wisdom and experiences. This has proven to him to be a most useless endeavour. Mission accomplished. This reminds us of Jesus when He questioned the twelve about whether they wanted to dessert and leave Him like all the other so called disciples. “Where would we go?” Peter asked in response. Say all we like about how dependent we are upon God for everything, it does us good now and then for God to close up heaven and leave us to our own resources and experience the despair that such a thing causes. It will help us live truly dependently and not just be mouthing pious sounding words.

verse 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

4) Look at verse 3. Despite the fact that David feels like God is not there for him, he still asks Him to be. David knows that in the absence of God doing what needs to be done, there is no substitute. There is no Plan “B”. If God does not help us we are completely helpless.

5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me.

5) Finally, David expresses hope in future grace. See verses 5-6. The fact that God seems absent and is not responding in the way that we think He should does not mean that He will never help us again. David knows that God is doing something that he does not know about. David knows he will rejoice because he truly knows that God has not abandoned him and that even now, in His silence, God is doing something for his good. “I will rejoice” he says, even though he was not rejoicing at that moment. And that confidence in the future blessing of God turned into a present blessing because with God, just the promise of good is a tonic to the soul, for our God cannot lie and what He says He will do, He will do.

Hope this helps when it feels like God is not listening.

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