I look for verbs when I am reading scripture – you know those action words that you learned about in school.
I also take note when I see the word ‘but’. This little word signals change or contrast, and it can alert me a change of heart or action.
I found both grammatical interests in Psalm 13.
In the six short verses of this psalm David pours out the questions plaguing his heart. He wasn’t afraid to bring his questions to God, and we should not be either.
David, having survived the assaults of King Saul and life in the wilderness, presented four questions.
- How long will You forget me, O Lord? I know that God doesn’t forget, and David did, too. There are times, though, when we feel forgotten, when this world knocks us around and we feel far from God’s presence. These are times when faith is tested.
- How long will You hide Your face from me? David felt abandoned as he hid from King Saul in the wilderness. The wilderness of this modern-day world can challenge our sense of God’s presence as well.
- How long will I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart? David knew the sorrow of betrayal and physical need. He felt like God just expected him to work it out on his own.
- How long will my enemy win? Can you hear the cries of Christians today in that question? “How long will You let this go on, God.” “How long will You wait to stop the wickedness in the world?” “How long do I have to put up with a world view that has erased You?”
I find it interesting that God did not answer David’s questions. Instead, we see David aligning his heart with God in the rest of this psalm.
He asks for God to hear him.
He know his enemy will think he has won and will rejoice over his defeat. He asks God to prevent this.
It is almost like David realizes that these are not the things that will shape or destroy his life, though. This is where we see that word “BUT”.
But I have trusted Your mercy.
My heart will rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing unto the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Despite what the world was throwing at him, David chose God. He proved this by taking three actions.
Simple actions (remember I said I look for verbs) showing that David chose God’s way, even in his questioning, over the way of the world. I can almost see David getting up from his knees, brushing himself off, and lifting his head. That “BUT” signaled David’s victory over his despair. Three simple actions allowed him to go on in faith.
Those are good actions for me to take today. I may not understand what is going on in our world, and I may not know God’s timeline, but I can follow David’s example.
- I will trust (lay my whole weight upon) God’s mercy. I know He will see me through.
- I will rejoice in His deliverance of my soul from the darkness of the enemy. He has saved me.
- I will praise Him in song, displaying my gratitude for His goodness.
We all have them, and I am not sure we would understand the answers if God shouted them from Heaven.
BUT I can trust Him. I can rejoice in Him. I can praise Him.
That will change my day. It can change yours, too.
Psalm 13:5 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.
Photo – Check it Out, Eddy Mims
Today I read a great quote to dove tail with your lesson. “God is not asking us to figure things out, He is asking us to have faith that He already has”.
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David always returned to God. He didn’t allow circumstances to keep him from God. In effect, the circumstances drove him to God, because he needed help. When it seemed God was silent, he persisted and pleaded all the more, because God was the only One Who could help him. What a lesson for me!
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I know. I love David’s heart.
I love David’s honesty. He just poured his heart out. Asaph had the same kind of honesty, especially in Ps. 73. These men weren’t afraid to write how they felt. They were honest with God, and I believe God values that, because a relationship has to start with a respectful honesty and trust.
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It is funny that we sometimes think we can hide our deepest feelings from God, Who knows everything about us. How much better to lay them at His feet and allow Him to help us through them. David had learned that lesson well. I think I am still learning.
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Two more verbs come to mind that can direct our prayers according to David’s pattern: admit and admire. David admitted his despair, then turned his attention to admire (and trust) in God’s unfailing love, salvation, and goodness. You are so right, Beth. Such prayers are sure to relieve our anxieties and refocus our faith!
I’m afraid I often do more admitting than admiring. Great lesson for me!
Love your humility, Beth!