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Psalm 13:1

Forgotten or Blessed?

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

Here we have a song to be sung, a tune to bring comfort to any believer, a melody that perhaps would begin in a minor key. It is the beginning of the blues, written by a king whose first love seemed to have forgotten him, but ending in the sixth verse with a joyful chorus. It originates from that lonely place, which every believer has visited at one time or another... that place in life where troubles keep mounting and God does not answer. Yet it ends with the assurance of hope, joy and victory.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, "This is a very short Psalm, there are only six verses in it, but what a change there is between the beginning and the end of it! The first two verses are dolorous to the deepest degree, but the last verse is joyful to the highest degree. David begins many of his Psalms sighing and ends them singing, so that I do not wonder that Peter Moulin says, 'One would think that those Psalms had been composed by two men of a contrary humor.' If I were asked, 'Are there two men here, or is there only one?' My answer would be that there is only one, but that one is two, for every man is two men, especially every spiritual man. He will find within himself an old man and a new man, an old nature and a new nature—and even the new nature, itself, is subject to strange changes—" (Spurgeon, Charles H. - Sermons, No. 2310 Howling Changed to Singing; theWord Bible Study Software)

"How long?" It is a question frequently asked by the writers of scripture. In fact, it is repeated four times in just the first two verses of this psalm and is a theme in several other psalms. Habakkuk cried out, "O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!" (Habakkuk 1:2) And, in the Apocalypse, the saints call out, "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10)

How should we respond when life delivers her pains, fears and sorrows to our doorstep? How should we reply when we bow our knees, shed our tears, humble our souls and beg for relief, but there is no answer. "For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed." (Lamentations 1:16)

It is no sin to wonder where God is or why He has forgotten us when troubles seem to swamp us. Even our Savior cried out on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) We inhabit bodies that are susceptible to pain, and even the smallest of pains can seem to be unbearable. Who has not taken a pain reliever for a headache and then wondered, "How long?"

Although it may be difficult to think of them as such, our times of suffering are blessings in disguise. First, they should drive us to that point where we are willing to honestly evaluate our lives and recognize the great effect that our sins have had on our relationship with the Lord. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2) For the sinner who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, the apparent absence of God is more unbearable than all the agonies of the flesh. God understands our suffering and our fears and He uses them to draw us closer and to make us stronger. "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." (Hosea 5:15)

What a blessing it is to know that God has been there all the time, waiting for us to draw closer to Him. This comforting thought assures us that He will not abandon us. He will not turn His face from us forever but will once again allow His countenance to shine upon us.

Secondly, our times of despair serve as blessings in that they provide us with an experience that we can share with others. Having gone through the experience and having witnessed the wonderful power and love of God to bring us safely through our troubles, we have a testimony with which to comfort others who experience similar sufferings. Paul wrote, "And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it isfor your consolation and salvation." (2 Corinthians 1:6) By His suffering for Christ, He was able to comfort and encourage the other Christians at Corinth.

We must also remember that we have a Savior who suffered in the flesh for our sins and who understands our pain. "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:18) When we cry, "How long wilt thou hide thy face from me," Jesus understands. As we fall to our knees, we can be assured that He is there to comfort us and we can take that assurance and share it with others. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who is always with us. We may call upon Him to assist us in our efforts to comfort others in His name.

Before The Throne:

Ask God to show you that He is with you even in your most painful moments. Ask Him to help you understand His purpose for your troubles and to show you how he wants you to respond. Pray that He will help you see the blessings that will result and will enable you to use the experience to comfort others. Ask Him to use this time to build and strengthen your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank Him for what He is doing in your life.

For Further Study:

) ** How. Psa 6:3; 35:17; 74:1; 80:4; 85:5; 89:46; 90:14; 94:3-4; ** forget. Psa 10:12; Lam 5:20; ** wilt thou hide. Psa 22:1-2; Deut 31:17; Job 13:24; Isa 59:2;


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