Psalm 13 - For the director of music. A psalm of David. - NIV
1. How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2. How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3. Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4. and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
Devotional comment from Adrian McCartney
I first came across this Psalm when I was in one of those crisis times as a student. The crisis was going to take a bit of a process to resolve and we were going to need some time. So, the psalm was very relevant, but this wasn’t a ten-minute exercise that was going to get me out of bed and into another day at school. This psalm is about long-term change, identity, purpose, hope, resilience…this would set patterns for life. Over forty years later and this Psalm is as real today and as necessary.
First two verses:
Imagine lying face down in the middle of a hockey pitch at Queen’s playing files in Upper Malone – it wasn’t imaginary the first time. You could lie down now on the floor.
First two verses are a good old moan about how awful God is. I mean, it is bad enough to be facing difficult circumstances or horrible people but when God just ignores you and lets you stew in it…ridiculous! What about all of those promises and all of those sermons and all of those other people who seem to drift along happily when they make no effort at all. Come on, God, are you listening to me at all. Have you any idea how hard it is to live here on planet earth with real people all round me? For goodness sake, how long?
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Verses 3 and 4: Ok, I realise I was out of line, Lord, in that last bit, but at least I admitted how angry and irritated and frustrated I actually am. But now I realise that you are here and with me and listening and watching. Sorry for ranting. I really need your help. I really, really, really need your help. OK I will get up from lying on the floor and kneel at my bed. I am calm enough to pray seriously now.
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
Verse 5 and 6: I am going to get up on my feet. I have told you my need. You know the situation. You know I can’t change it nor manipulate it, so what else can I do but trust you and wait. I may as well stand. I may as well start to thank you for the answer. It is in your hands. Now I need to get to school/work/gym/back into bed (delete as appropriate). We are now on a different level – you have helped me find that confidence and faith that was absent when we started.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
Lord, would you help me to go round and round and round this Psalm for the rest of my life.
Rev Adrian McCarthey is the Rector of Belvoir Parish in Belfast. He has pioneered many fresh expressions of church and discipleship models in the past three decades and has carried out almost every role and job at Summer Madness, from mainstage speaker to cook! He was the founder of StreetReach and continues to explore new ways of engaging with community need to share the love and power of Jesus.