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Psalm 13

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David’s Psalm (Psalm 13) begins with a plea to the Lord:

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
And every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me? (vv. 1-2)1

David’s 4-fold plea begins on a note of strong feeling of being forgotten by God and being cut off from His presence. He then turns to wondering why he feels encased by the anxiety of his thoughts, which worry him so and bring sorrow in his heart. He also wonders whether his adversaries will continue to exercise victory over him. He feels so helpless that he implores the Lord for His support.

He goes on to plead with God for His help:

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. (v. 3a)

He strongly desires God to give him understanding so as to see things from a divine perspective. He then expresses his great fear.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death. (v. 3b)

As Van Gemeren remarks, “The psalmist’s prayer contains an urgent appeal for God’s covenantal favor.”2 Accordingly, the psalmist expresses his concern that if God would not come to his aid, his adversaries will have reason to “rejoice when I fall” (v. 4b). So firm is David’s faith, however, that he can and will continue to praise the Lord. He remains assured that God will so act on his behalf that he can and will rejoice in Him. Indeed, the Lord so loves his followers that he intercedes for those whose faith in him is strong. (v. 5a) Moreover, because of God’s love and salvation, he can not only personally rejoice, but will sing praise to the Lord for his goodness to him (vs. 6). Indeed, when one has such great confidence in the Lord, his heart will overflow with praise to God.

May we follow David’s example. When troubles seem to overwhelm us, let us freely take our concerns to the Lord and look to him for his help and leading. This is especially true as we approach life’s final hours. As Henry Lyte expresses it:

Abide with me – fast falls the even-tide!
The darkness deepens – Lord with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.3

May we cast our cares on the Lord and find God’s unfailing love. In so doing, we then can sing following David’s remark: “For he has been good to me” (v. 6b). As the old hymn points out “I need Thee every hour.”4 As another hymn writer expresses it:

Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand –
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn:
Thro’ the storm, thro’ the night, lead me on to the light –
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.
When my way grows drear, precious Lord linger near –
When my life is almost gone;
Hear my cry, hear my call, hold my hand lest I fall –
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.5


1 All scripture references are from the NIV.

2 Williem A. Van Gemeren, “Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 5, 172.

3 Henry F. Lyte, “Abide With Me”.

4 Annie S. Fox, “I  Need Thee Every Hour”.

5 Thomas A. Dorsey, “Precious Lord Take My Hand”.

Related Topics: Devotionals

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