Scripture reading – Psalm 13; Psalm 28
The titles of today’s Scripture reading ascribe David as the author. Psalm 13 was titled “To the Chief Musician, A Psalm of David,” and Psalm 28 was titled “A Psalm of David.” Both psalms deserve our focus; however, I will limit the Bible study to Psalm 13. (Words in brackets are the amplifications of the author to give a deeper insight into the text.)
Psalm 13 – An Impassioned Plea for Help
The setting of Psalm 13 was not given, but it was certainly at a time when David faced an enemy and circumstances that left him shaken and sorrowing daily. I have observed in prior studies that Absalom’s insurrection left the king in an emotional valley fraught with loneliness. Psalm 13 may be from that season of sorrow and humiliation.
David’s Protest (Psalm 13:1-2)
Psalm 13:1-2 – “How long wilt thou forget [ignore; leave] me, O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]? for ever? how long wilt thou hide [conceal] thy face [countenance; presence] from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel [plan; purpose; determine] in my soul [mind; heart], having sorrow [grief; anguish]in my heart [mind; understanding] daily? how long shall mine enemy [foe; adversary] be exalted [lifted up; become proud] over me?”
David understood that the LORD had not forsaken him; nevertheless, his thoughts, feelings, and emotions contradicted his faith. Four times he asked the LORD, “How long…How long…How long…How long?” (Psalm 13:1-2) It seemed that the LORD had forgotten him and refused to look favorably on the man He chose to be king of Israel (Psalm 13:1).
Perhaps the king had plotted and planned an escape from his sorrows (Psalm 13:2a). Yet, he was daily haunted by disappointment until he felt there was no way forward (Psalm 13:2a). Adding to his distress was the knowledge that his enemies delighted in his humiliation (Psalm 13:2b).
David’s Prayer (Psalm 13:3-4)
Turning from protesting his loneliness and feelings of abandonment, David called on the LORD and appealed to Him to hear and answer his prayer (Psalm 13:3-4).
Psalm 13:3-4 – “Consider [look; behold] and hear [respond] me, O LORD my God: lighten [illuminate; brighten; give light to] mine eyes, lest I sleep [grow old or stale] the sleep of death [ruin];
4 Lest mine enemy [foe; adversary] say [declare], I have prevailed [overcome] against him; and those that trouble [distress; afflict] me rejoice [glad; delight] when I am moved [shaken; strength decay].”
We find in those verses what many would label depression (described as melancholy in the 19th century). In his spiritual and emotional state, the king felt the light (and life) was gone out of his eyes. David prayed, “lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep of death” (Psalm 13:3).
The king longed for the LORD to lift the darkness that engulfed his soul. He yearned to return to a season of joy and fellowship. The knowledge that his enemies rejoiced in his troubles and sorrows only added to his despair (Psalm 13:4).
David’s Promise – To trust the LORD and Sing His Praises (Psalm 13:5-6)
What did David do next? He had already protested his loneliness and feelings of abandonment. He had prayed for the LORD to lift him out of the darkness that bound his soul. What more could he do?
Psalm 13:5-6 – “But I have trusted [confident; secure; hope; put trust] in thy mercy [loving-kindness; favor; grace]; my heart [mind; understanding] shall rejoice [be glad; delight] in thy salvation [help; deliverance].
6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully [reward with good] with me.”
As we come to the final verses of Psalm 13, we find that David’s circumstances have not changed. He was physically weary and emotionally drained. Yet, the king decided to get up from his spiritual stupor. He declared his faith in the LORD, in word and deeds, and said: “I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. 6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:5-6).
Closing thoughts –
What an inspiration we have in David’s testimony and example! His trials and troubles were not over, nor were emotions elated by a season of prayer. Nevertheless, his focus shifted from his circumstances to reflecting on the character of God. With that, he determined to trust the LORD and face his enemies.
Believer, perhaps you struggle with disappointments, loneliness, and depression. You are not alone. We all face seasons when we are tempted to wallow in sorrows and indulge in “victimhood.” In fact, 21st-century culture encourages it. Lacking a spiritual foundation, the best medical science can do is suggest a diagnosis and prescribe a prescription that might temporarily mask the sorrow and loneliness of a deep struggle.
What is the answer?
Be honest about where you are and how you got there (Psalm 13:1-2). Pray earnestly (Psalm 13:3-4), knowing the LORD hears and answers prayer. Trust the LORD by turning your thoughts to Him (Psalm 13:5; Romans 8:28-29). Finally, vow to the LORD, “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:6).
Sing Unto the LORD!
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.
The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of www.HeartofAShepherd.com.