N.a.v. Psalm 13 (Engelstalig)

NL-versie van deze meditatie:  Psalm 13 – Vast vertrouwen op God in nood en lijden

In this Psalm we are led still deeper into the suffering of the godly remnant of His earthly people in the coming days of their great tribulation. We believe that David first of all expressed in this brief Psalm the exercise of his own soul, when he was in deep affliction, chased about as a hunted partridge(1 Sam.26:20).How often he must have cried out in his distress “How long Jehovah!’’ when he sought refuge among the Moabites,in the wilderness of Ziph,as an outlaw in the cave of Adullam,or when he was among the Philistines. And after David, countless thousands of persecuted and suffering saints have passed through the same soul agony, and still the same groans are ascending to heaven today. But this Psalms takes us also into the future, when the godly among the Jews, restored to their own land, are beset by their enemies, are suffering all kinds of persecutions, and are waiting for the deliverance which is promised to them in the visible manifestation of the Lord from heaven. The Psalm has only six verses which must be divided into three parts, each containing two verses.

1. The first two verses (1-2) – Cry of anguish to Jehovah

These contain the cry of anguish to Jehovah; this is followed by prayer; the soul is calmed, knowing that Jehovah considers and will answer(3-4).The last two verses contain a note of triumph ( 5-6);the assurance of hope and future song are briefly given; the victory is won;the Lord has answered the despairing cry. The deep sighing leads to prayer and prayer brings assurance of future joy in His salvation and as a result the songs of praise. Or as another professor said “A long deep sigh is followed, as from a relieved briest,by an already much more gentle and half calm prayer; and this again by the believing joy which anticipates the certainty of being answered. This song as it were, casts up constantly lessening waves until it becomes still as the sea when smooth as a mirror, and the only motion discernible at last is that of the joyous ripple of calm repose.’’

How long wilt Thou forget me, O Jehovah?For ever?
How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul with sorrow in my heart by day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Verses 1-2)

The thought uppermost in this sigh and outburst is that Jehovah has forgotten. But at the same time there is a note of hope. Will He forget forever? If His face is hidden, how long will He hide His face? Luther said on the opening verses of this Psalm “hope itself despairs and despair nevertheless begins to hope.’’ A true Christian believer will not and cannot entertain the thought that God has forgotten. A believer knows that he is accepted in the Beloved One. Christ died for our sins; He was forsaken as our substitute, so that we must not be forsaken. God hid His face from Him, when He made Him, who knew no sin, sin for us,so that we might enjoy the loving countenance of the God of love, as our Father. The true believer in the right spiritual condition, though he passes through deep waters of suffering and trials, never needs to utter such words as despair, as if the Lord has forgotten. But many Christians do not possess in their actual experience the assurances and the joys which belong to them in Christ. Many get into spiritual darkness, loose the joy of salvation and often get into the same condition of soul as expressed in the opening strophes of this Psalm. And why? On account of acts of disobedience, a defiled conscience, because of some allowed evil and unconfessed sin, as well as the  lack of self-judgement. Then in broken fellowship such an one may think that the Lord,in whom true rest and peace is;to confess sins and put the evil away, for God is light.

But the remnant of Israel during the great tribulation is not in possession of this full Christian knowledge. Their hope is the promise given to their nation; it is an earthy hope and an earthly salvation for which they are sighing and waiting. When the heavens are silent to their cry, when trouble upon trouble passes over them, they are overtaken by a sense of desertion, mingled with a believing expression of trust and hope in the faithfulness of Jehovah, the covenant keeping God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is their experience which is prophetically told out in these few words with which this Psalm begins. And they take counsel in the soul, filled with cares and fears. There is perplexity of the soul not knowing which way to turn. During the night, perhaps sleepless, the soul plans and takes counsel; when day breaks there is still sorrow in the heart while all about there is a self –exalting enemy. That similar conditions often come into the experience of a Christian is known to all believers. The only remedy is to flee to Him; to call upon His name; to seek His face and to pour out the heart in prayer in His presence.

2. Verses 3-4: Prayer of faith brings calmness

Look, answer me, Jehovah my God,
Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep in death;
That mine enemy may not say,I have prevailed against him,
That mine adversaries may not rejoice,that I am moved! (V. 3-4)

Faith begins to revive and now lays hold on God. Look! He is the Lord who sees, who hears, and who knows. In Isaiah 63:15 the same appeal is made. `Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness and Thy glory; where is Thy zeal and Thy strength, the soundness of Thy bowels and of Thy mercies towards me? Are they restrained?’’ Then comes the request for His answer,` `Answer me’’ The realization has come that not “taking counsel,’’ making schemes, cares and fears, are the resources of those whom God owns as His people, but He Himself is the only help. And the plea is “lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep in death. “To lighten the eyes that are dimmed with sorrow is equivalent to  impart new life (Ezra 9:8),which is reflected in the fresh clear brightness of the eye (1 Sam.14:27,29).The lightening light is the light of love beaming from the divine countenance (see Psalm 31:16).Light,love and life are always closely connected in Scripture. He upon whom God looks in love, continues in life, new powers are imparted unto him. It is therefore not their lot to sleep the sleep of death. They look forward to life. All His gracious promises given to His people will be accomplished. The enemy will be completely defeated, so that he cannot boast“I have prevailed against him.’’

3. Verses 5-6: a note of Triumph.

But as for me –in Thy mercy have I trusted;
My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation;
I will sing unto Jehovah, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.

We have in this Psalm five stanzas of lament; four stanzas of prayer and now three of believing and joyful anticipation of prayer answered and deliverance consummated. The Psalm which begins with a sigh ends with a song. Even so all the sighs of His trusting people will ere long be changed into songs.“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. “The faithful remnants suffers during the night of tribulation but will receive deliverance when the Sun of righteousness rises and ushers in the morning without clouds, when the day dawns and the shadows flee away. Salvation has come; not a salvation such as we know, but an earthly salvation. They enter the long promised kingdom with a song,the song which Isaiah so beautifully gives (chapter 12). Their prayers are answered and the Lord now deals bountifully with them. Then they will know the truth of His Word to them: `For a small moment have I forsaken thee,but with great mercies will I gather thee.In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee,saith the Lord,thy Redeemer’’(Isa. 54:7-8).

Pst. Eric Ngala Mutumbi
Bumala Kenya.