What is the meaning of Psalm 13? It is a psalm, and a prayer, that we can all identify with when waiting on God becomes difficult. Life can be tough, and even now, many of us are still waiting on God to answer prayer. Sometimes it may appear as if God is not responding to our situation and that is painful. But there is hope, in the message and meaning of Psalm 13, for all those who are waiting on God…
What Is The Meaning of Psalm 13?
I love the Psalms because they are full of honest conversation, where the psalmists in a moment of need pour out their thoughts and feelings before God. They don’t hide their emotions, but instead, they bring them to the Lord. This creates a space for God to comfort them, heal their pain, and restore their peace as only He can.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 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?Psalm 13:1-2
Psalm 13 starts with a whole host of questions. In these opening verses, the psalmist feels forgotten by God and removed from His presence. The metaphor used of ‘God hiding His face’ is a reversal of the Aaronic blessing (Bible Gateway – Numbers 6:24-26).
The priestly blessing speaks of God’s face turned towards His people and the radiant light of His presence shining on them. This signifies God’s protection and our acceptance by Him through and by His gracious favor. This is our place of peace, a true and lasting peace, that is found through a right relationship with God.
But here the psalmist is expressing his feelings of total despair, as he feels abandoned by God. Sometimes we can feel like that, our problems are multiplying, and God’s blessing seems far removed. But, you know, we can acknowledge and accept our feelings while at the same time choosing not to believe or act upon them.
“Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.”Psalm 13:3-4
After the questions or complaints, the psalmist now brings his request. It may be that the psalmist was injured or ill and appealing to God for healing. Or it could be that he felt hounded, persecuted, and threatened in some way by his enemies. But whatever was causing his distress, the situation felt overwhelming.
Sometimes we think in the same way as the psalmist that the weight of our problems appears to be too great. We feel that we cannot carry on like this, we can’t live like this anymore. The situation is too hard and too much for us to bear! But you know we can bring all of our questions or complaints to God if voicing them stirs up our prayers.
The psalmist appeals for understanding, for God to give light to his eyes. He is asking for spiritual enlightenment to strengthen his faith. When we ask God for wisdom, the Holy Spirit will provide the insight and understanding that we need. This is transforming and enables us to live by faith and not by sight.
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Now there is a shift and a change in perspective – that’s what faith does! It changes our way of thinking, and that is the centre of the meaning of Psalm 13. As we draw near to God, He draws near to us. When we cast all our troubles on Him, He brings us comfort with the knowledge of His care. The psalmist’s prayer turns into praise and a confident declaration of faith.
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.”Psalm 13:5-6
It is possible for our pleas, our desperate prayers, to move into a time of praise when we remember all that God has done for us! As we recall God’s faithfulness, the language of our prayer changes. The fear-filled questions become faith-inspired declarations of God’s goodness, past, present, and future. And the meaning of Psalm 13 is revealed through trusting in God at all times…
Devotional – When Waiting on God Becomes Difficult
It was one of those weeks that started off well but then rapidly went downhill. Everything appeared to be going smoothly and then suddenly an ongoing family problem resurfaced. What I thought had been dealt with was there again. Something that I had been praying over for several years was still causing heartache! My thoughts began to spiral, oh no, here we go again, as I recognized a familiar worrying pattern of behavior in someone I loved.
In those painful moments of dealing with the tough issues of life, I brought my emotions to God. I joined with the psalmist in saying, ‘How long God?’ How much longer do I have to go through this? How long do I have to wait before You answer my prayer?
And as I was praying, I heard a whisper from the Holy Spirit. God was answering my question of how long, with a question of His own. Do you trust me?
Do you trust that My grace is sufficient for you? And that I AM your ever-present help in times of trouble? Do you trust in My unfailing love and that I have plans for your good? Are you trusting that I will provide all you need? Do you really trust me?
At that moment I realized how long is not a question that God is going to answer. It is not how long we wait but how we wait that becomes significant. Our waiting becomes an opportunity to express our trust in God, not by our words but through our actions. This is the time to grow our relationship with God, to come to know Him more. This is not knowing facts and information about God, but knowing who He is through our own experiences.
The Message of Psalm 13
The clue to waiting well is there in the message of Psalm 13. When I read it again, I realized the psalmist could also be answering that same unspoken question, do you trust me? The change of perspective from complaint, to appeal, to confident declaration of faith, begins with, “But I trust in your unfailing love…
God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot see His hand, we must trust His heart. C.H. Spurgeon.Tweet
That whisper, those words do you trust me, touched my heart, of course, I trust you, Lord. I started to remember and reflect on all those times God had answered my prayers. Sometimes He answered at the moment of asking, and occasionally in what seemed to be the final hour – but always so good to me!
As I remembered my feelings started to change, a stirring of faith and thankfulness. I was able to take my eyes off my own situation and focus on God’s love. As I remembered, a sense of reassurance filled my spirit to trust in the faithfulness of God. When we praise God, from our hearts, there is always a divine exchange. As we bless God He bestows a blessing in return, and waiting on God is no longer so difficult…
But I trust in your grace, my heart rejoices as you bring me to safety. I will sing to ADONAI, because he gives me even more than I need.Psalm 13:6 CJB
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