Summary: Psalm 13 helps us to learn how to communicate with God on the deepest level. God is big enough to handle our tough questions. And He loves it when we talk to Him honestly.
Communication between people takes place at three levels: the frivolous level,
the factual level, and the feeling level.
Frivolous communication takes place on the surface with the use of innocuous questions and casual clichés. How are you doing? Looks like it going to rain today? What do you do for a living? That's communication on the frivolous level, the kind of communication we have with strangers.
Factual communication goes a little deeper with the discussion of things in which two parties are vitally interested. We are still $10,000 short of our goal. What is your strategy for getting people to vote? How about them Cowboys!
That's communication on the factual level, the kind of communication we have with acquaintances.
Feeling communication takes place at the deepest level with the expression of our feelings about what is happening around us. I don't believe you are doing your part. Why do you always gripe and about everything I do? I really love you.
That's communication at the feeling level, the kind of communication we have with our closest friends.
Of course it's not that simple.
We communicate with our friends at the frivolous level at times sometimes we communicate with strangers at the feeling level. But the principle still stands:
the more intimate the relationship, the deeper the level of our communication.
That is true of our human relationships; it is equally true of our relationship with God. At the beginning of our relationship with God, we are like a teenager with a new car. Full of excitement. Thrilled. Totally clueless about the dangers involved in operating that vehicle.
That's the way we are as new Christians. Someone suggested we need to lock up new Christians for about six months before we let them out. Full of excitement.
Thankful to God for the new life we have in Christ. We have God and life is good. We might call this the "honeymoon" period of our relationship with God.
However, as we move to a deeper level in our relationship with God we begin to be confronted by some paradoxes.
God assured us He would never leave us; yet at times we cannot sense His presence in our lives. God rules over all creation; yet evil often seems to have the upper hand.
God promised to guide us; yet there are moments when He seems to have left us in the lurch. God offered abundant life; yet this life is frequently filled with pain. How do we respond to these paradoxes of life?
Some cover them up with pasted on smiles and hollow hallelujahs. Others blame them on their lack of faith and try harder. Some silently slip away and become alumnus of the church. There is a better way and that is to lay these paradoxes before God in the language of complaint. We learn about this language of complaint in Psalm 13.
Traditionally, psalms like this one we are considering today are referred to as the lament psalms. They are found throughout the book of Psalms. In fact, more lament psalms appear in the book of Psalms than any other type. One scholar identifies 50 individual laments and 17 community laments.