March 14, 2012

To trust in future deliverance

Filed under: Uncategorized — kevinocoin @ 3:35 am

O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.

Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.

I will sing to the LORD
because he is good to me.

Psalm 13

This psalm exemplifies a kind of transition that we see in many other psalms: one from complaint to faith, with the hinge-point being “but I trust.”  This Psalm is a bit different, though.  Typically in a song of lament it might end in one of two ways.  In Psalm 6:9, we see hope in a future deliverance based on God’s ability to answer prayer.  The help hasn’t come yet, but we can be sure it’s on it’s way.

The LORD has heard my plea; 
the LORD will answer my prayer.

Another response we see in some of the Psalms is when it appears that something has happened in the writer’s life to make the writer confident that God has come through.  He is currently in a position to boast of God’s favour and goodness.

I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; 
      I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. 
 I will be filled with joy because of you. 
      I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

 My enemies retreated; 
      they staggered and died when you appeared. 
 For you have judged in my favor; 
      from your throne you have judged with fairness. 

Psalm 9:1-4

But what about Psalm 13?  To me, the tone and the timeline seem different:

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.

I will sing to the LORD
because he is good to me.

It would seem that the author’s situation has not at all changed.  He cannot speak to concrete acts of deliverance he has experienced.  And yet he makes the bold claim that God has rescued him.  He chooses to live and praise God as if God has already come through on his promises.  He looks back on God’s track record and reflects on his character and can come to no other conclusion than that God has his best interest in mind and will act in his defense.  This is a supreme act of faith.  While Ps. 9 speaks about the hope of God’s aid, and Ps. 9 speaks about the clear evidence of God’s action, Ps. 13 speaks about living as if what we hope for has already arrived.  When I read this, it is a call to me to worship the LORD, despite my circumstances, because he is indeed good to me.


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