Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday (Psalm) 13

Today is the 13th, so this morning found me in Psalm 13. I love this Psalm! It starts with a question... a phrase that I think I've uttered or at least thought many, many times. "How long, O Lord?" In other words, it begins with a lament. It's okay to do that, but I must make sure I'm not grumbling! I was reminded of words spoken by a very wise pastor: The difference between lamenting and grumbling is that grumbling calls God's character into question while a lament calls God's character into action. So, as with any lament in the Psalms, I read this one anticipating the Psalmist (in this case, David) calling God into action. It's not a grumble to ask God "How long?" as long as I keep my focus on his sovereignty, His mercy, His goodness.

John MacArthur's notes on this Psalm are excellent:
"Psalm 13 launches with an explosion of 4 "How longs?" indicating another lament is about to begin. But David will shift radically from turmoil to tranquility in the space of 6 short verses through 3 levels of attitude:

I. Below "Sea Level" Expressions of Despair (13:1,2)
II. "Sea Level" Expressions of Desires (13:3,4)
III. "Mountaintop" Level Expressions of Delight(13:5,6)"

As I read the above, I thought of it as "Below 'See' Level." There are levels of despair that we hold deep inside, and we rarely bring them out to be seen. Hidden stresses and fears the enemy (our own flesh!) keeps bringing against us. It's been years. Maybe we even secretly wonder if God even knows about it, even though we know He knows everything... I heard recently, "If you can share it, you can bear it." Share it with Him! He will help you bear it!

"How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever:
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long wil my enemy be exalted over me?"

Then we bring our deepest desires and struggles to "See Level:"

"Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest my enemy say,
'I have prevailed against him,'
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved."

We know our struggle is not with flesh and blood, we have a very real "unseen enemy" prowling like a lion, so there is a constant battle there. But so many times I need not look any further than the struggle I am having with my own sin nature. The enemy can take many forms. We must bring these battles above "see level" so they can be dealt with.

And finally, the "mountaintop." A place far above "see level." The place of victory. More than that- a place to thank Him in advance for future grace because you can celebrate His past faithfulness. On the mountaintop, all can be seen, most of all God's faithfulness can be put on glorious display.

"But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord
Because He has dealt bountifully with me."

I want to share with you one of the songs that shuffled into my "not-so-quiet time" this morning. This song really gets me going and puts it all into perspective. It's ALL His. Everything I brought to Him in prayer this morning and will bring before Him all throughout the day already belongs to Him. Praise You, Lord.


Deidre said...

Cyndi, I love this post. I really need that today. I've already 'marked it up' in my bible. Oh, how many times I've asked "How long, Lord?", but have asked it in a grumble. Guilty! Thank you so much for sharing this. I can't get the video at the end. What song is it?

Cyndi said...

I fixed the video (I think!)

In case I didn't, you can copy and paste this address into your browser:

It's Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Yours."

Love it, love it, love it.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

This is truly amazing. I love the explanation on the difference between lamenting and grumbling.

I am amazed that God speaks through blog posts personally, directly, to my heart.

I have been questioning so many things, but I think I have been grumbling to myself too much, instead of lamenting. I think I will be reading this Psalm today and coming back to your post.


Kelly @ Love Well said...

Love that song. It's so encouraging. I listen to it whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed with all the need and suffering in this world.

There's plenty I can do (sponsor a child, be thankful, live more frugally, support missions), but ultimately, it's all His. He has not deserted His creation.

Linda said...

What a coinkydinky Cyndi! I read Psalm 13 tday too (I'm reading one a day - I seem to have gotten "stuck" in the Psalms for a very long time now - over and over again - but they do minister). I love your insights. The difference between grumbling and lamenting. I sometimes feel guilty asking the same things over and over again. He never loses patience with me.
I don't have time to view the video (my slooow dialup), but I'm sure it ministers.
You are a sweet fragrance dear one.