Sermons

Summary: Psalm 13:1-6 shows us how a believer moves from despair to delight in the Lord.

Scripture

Shortly after the statewide “Stay At Home” directive was implemented, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco invited local pastors to attend a weekly telephone conference call. These calls focus on security information and concerns about our current situation. Sheriff Nocco caught my attention when he said, “During the current pandemic there is an increase in attempted and completed suicides.” Clearly, an increased number of people struggling with depression and despair.

Our current series of meditations, “Hope in Troubled Times,” is from the Psalms. The reason is that the psalmists capture the emotions of our own hearts. They express sorrow and joy, despair and delight. We find ourselves in the psalms.

Today’s psalm, Psalm 13, shows us how a believer moves from despair to delight in the Lord in a message titled, “How Long, O Lord?”

Please follow along as I read Psalm 13:1-6:

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

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

How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;

light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”

lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I have 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. (Psalm 13:1-6)

Introduction

Psalm 13 was written by David. In the previous psalm, Psalm 12, David found himself abandoned by faithful friends and surrounded by many foes. But here in Psalm 13 David felt abandoned by God himself and opposed by a single foe. Because David did not pray for the destruction of this enemy, it seems that he wrote Psalm 13 when he was on the run from Saul (1 Samuel 26:9ff.) or his son Absalom (2 Samuel 18:5).

So, the setting for Psalm 13 is a time when David was running to save his life. He was being pursued by either Saul or Absalom. He was in danger of death. He was doing whatever he could to keep himself alive. And what made all of this so disheartening is that David felt that God had abandoned him. He felt a sense of despair.

The question is: How does one get rid of despair? How does one recover the joy of the Lord?

Lesson

Psalm 13:1-6 shows us how a believer moves from despair to delight in the Lord.

Let’s use the following outline:

1. A Believer May Feel Despair (13:1-2)

2. A Believer Must Offer Prayer (13:3-4)

3. A Believer Will Experience Delight (13:5-6)

I. A Believer May Feel Despair (13:1-2)

First, a believer may feel despair.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “despair” as follows: “to lose all hope or confidence.” All of us lose hope or confidence at different times in our lives. I think this is common. But, despair is an intensification of lost hope or confidence because it is “to lose all hope or confidence.” We hear that clear note of despair in David, as he wrote in verses 1-2:

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

How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Notice that David cries out four times, “How long?” Charles Spurgeon calls Psalm 13 the “How Long Psalm.” Commenting on the cry “How long?” he goes on to ask, “Does not the oft-repeated cry become a very HOWLING?”

There may be several dimensions of despair. Let me suggest three to you that come from verses 1-2.

A. The Despair May Be Spiritual (13:1)

First, the despair may be spiritual.

In verse 1, David cried out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” David felt abandoned by God. He had no sense of God’s presence in his life. His soul had no connection to God.

One of the most remarkable biographies of a Christian that I have ever read is that of David Brainerd. Born in 1718, he died at the age of 29 in 1747. He was a missionary to the Native Americans, and had a very fruitful ministry. He died at the home of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards published a book titled, The Life of David Brainerd, which was basically David Brainerd’s dairy. I remember reading this book as a young Christian, and I was astonished at the sense of God’s presence—or lack of it—in his dairy. For example, one entry reads as follows: “Lord’s Day, January 23…. None knows, but those that feel it, what the soul endures that is sensibly shut out from the presence of God: Alas, ’tis more bitter than death!” This kind of comment is repeated over and over throughout his dairy.

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