How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? Psalm 13:1
A Prayer for Help in Trouble: Longing for Deliverance Now
Under pressure, David feels forgotten by God and cries out for the Lord to act. No immediate answer comes, yet David finds peace remembering God’s loyal love.
13 1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. 5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
13:1,2 Four times in two verses David screams out how long (4:2, 6:3). The Lord allows David to pour out his anxiety before Him. But by the end of David’s prayer, the Lord has granted him a correct perspective on his situation. David’s only option is to trust in the sovereign mercy of his loving God.
13:3, 4 Enlighten my eyes: As a person who is nearing death might sense the dimming of his vision, David also senses his death and pleads with God to intervene before he dies. Lest my enemy say: If God does not intervene, not only will the psalmist be lost from the community that praises the living God, but his enemies will also claim a victory over him and his God. Fundamentally, the Lord’s honor is at stake. Rejoice: The enemies’ rejoicing would be intolerable because it would be aimed in part against God in whom the psalmist has trusted.
13:5,6 This is the turning point of the psalm. The tone of the psalm abruptly changes from despair to hope. In this verse, David recalls his commitment to trust God completely. The term mercy describes God’s loyal love, His faithfulness to His commitment to take care of His people. I will sing was the psalmist’s vow to praise God in the worshipping community. Based on the assurance that God will deliver him, David resolves to tell the people about it – this is the essence of praise (40:1-3).