The God who Delivers
The God who Delivers.
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?”
It is one thing to praise God in the blessings of life, but how do you praise God in the pains of life? Psalm 13 is known as one of the Psalms of lament. The Psalms of lament were written as a prayer when an individual or the nation faced severe trials. It was a time when heaven seemed silent and God seemed to have forsaken the people. We can handle many circumstances in life, but the one overwhelming situation is when we lose hope, and heaven seems silent and indifferent to our plight. The Scriptures seem more like a mockery than a promise during these times.
Such is the case of David in this Psalm. David was in deep despair. What the circumstances were that surrounded this cry, we can only surmise. A close examination of David’s life reveals several times when his affairs must have seemed overwhelming, and David felt abandoned and alone. This Psalm may well have been written when Saul was seeking his life. Or it may have been written when his son, Absalom, forced David to flee from the throne as Absalom sought to orchestrate a coop. Whatever the circumstances were, David felt forsaken and forgotten by God. He begins with a hopeless cry, “How long.” Time is standing still, and there seems to be no end to his plight. In Psalm 9:12, David affirmed that God “does not forget the cry of the afflicted.” But now he fears that the unthinkable has happened: God has forgotten him! We can easily forget God (Duet 8:11, but how can the omniscient God forget us?
Just when it seems as if David’s life is on the brink of complete collapse, his faith and trust in God take hold, and he affirms his confidence that God will be faithful. The word “lovingkindness” is critical in the Old Testament. The term is rich in significance in the Old Testament, for it expresses God’s faithfulness to the covenants he has made with the patriarchs. It is a word used to speak of his fidelity and unwavering commitment to the promises he has made. Not just that God will not renege on his promises; it is that he cannot fail, for his covenantal faithfulness is bound to his character and nature. To fail to maintain his covenantal promises would require that God cease to be God! Because of this assurance, David is confident that God will bring salvation. While the Psalm began with a lament of “how long” it ends will the confidence that he will rejoice and sing to the Lord. Even though the deliverance has not yet come, his faith in the character of God assures him that it will come. Even as he faces adversity in the present, the promises of God give him the confidence that, in the end, he will proclaim that God has dealt bountifully with him. So confident is he of the future salvation that he speaks of it already in the past. The Psalm that begins with a cry of despair ends with a calm assurance that God will deliver.
Being a follower of God does not exempt us from life's trials, but it provides us hope amid the trials. We will all face difficulty, tragedy, and overwhelming adversity, for we live in a broken and fallen world. But in Christ, we have hope, for he has given us a promise of deliverance, salvation, and his providential care. Consequently, we can rest amid the storm, knowing that he will calm the storm.