Psalm 13 — “How long?” is a great question — Reading the Psalms

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 How long, O LORD, wilt thou forget me for ever?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God:
Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him;
Lest mine adversaries rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in thy mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation:
6 I will sing unto the LORD,
Because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

“How long?” is a question found throughout the Bible. It’s also found on the lips of God’s people, for whenever we face trials, temptations, discipline or correction we want to know when it will end. God alone can know the answer because God alone knows why these things take place.

First, let’s remember that it’s ok to ask God about it. Even if he is working his discipline on us, we are given the chance to plead with our Lord. If the troubles rise from workers of iniquity, we reach out for God to right the injustice, a work he is happy to do. In all ways and in all times it is appropriate to cry out to God. Even in our joy for the revelation of our Lord and Savior, for when we cry, “How long ’till Jesus comes?” we are praising him in confidence and hope.

The words of this psalm also help move our hearts to a place of contentment during trials and troubles. Knowing we’ll have relief soon enough, we rest with the words, “I have trusted in thy mercy.” We know the faithfulness of God’s mercy. Even if the wait be long, the wait for the Lord will ever be worthwhile. Let us, then, sing our praise to the Lord as we wonder, “How long?”

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