Honesty With God

Scripture Text: Psalm 13

 

We learned from Psalm 139 that God is our Creator and Maker and that He knows us fully and perfectly well. Our life is specially protected and provided by the lord. Today, we are going to look at another beautiful prayer of David that will teach us among other things the importance of being honest with God.

Psalm 13

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; 4 my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.

This short but very emotional prayer of David allows us to have a peek into the heart of one of the most loved and admired believers in the Bible-King David. Even David was not exempted from life’s struggles. A casual reading of the psalm will immediately catch our attention for it touches on the most sensitive part of our being–our emotions. In fact, the Bible and experience teaches us that our emotion is the major target of the devil in pulling us down. The devil, Satan, knows that when we feel hurt and pain, we become vulnerable to temptation and sin.
In this psalm, we will learn from David that we don’t have to deny or hide our negative emotions but we need to accept them and learn to ventilate them in the proper way. And like David, we must learn to hold on to the Lord even in the midst of a hurtful or difficult situation. Let me share two valuable lessons from this emotion-packed prayer of David…
The first is…

A. David Honestly Confesses His Utter Despair to God

Bible scholars suggests that this psalm or prayer of David was made during a time when he was suffering from a very serious illness. They further suggest that this psalm is related to Ps. 6 where it clearly said that the writer/psalmist had a serious illness and asking the Lord for His healing grace and intervention. In any case, David here was clearly in a very bad and adverse situation that he had come to the point of utter despair or feelings of despair or hopelessness. Today, I will not be surprised if many of us could relate to what David was feeling and experiencing.

David particularly confessed two significant things here…

1) He bares his impatience over God’s seeming inaction and delay.

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (v. 1)

How many of you today are praying for something from the Lord? As you already know, Dinna and I are praying for our definite ministry in the days ahead as we assume a new role in ECMI as Church Planter/Missionaries of the church. But we are just beginning in our prayer and seeking the direction of the Lord. But I know people among you who had been praying for a long time for something very important and meaningful to you and your family…And seemingly the Lord is silent. The Lord seems to be delaying His answer. And we are getting impatient. This was exactly the experience of David. What aggravated his feelings of frustration was the fact that God had done this in the past and that David had already experienced God’s faithfulness in the past, His divine intervention. David knows He can do it. But now…He is silent…In David words, the Lord seems to be hiding His face from him.

2) He shares his struggles with depressive and negative thoughts.

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; 4 my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.” (vv. 2-4)

Secondly, David shares his struggles with depressive and negative thoughts. Verse 2 tells us “I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart…” As he lay thinking about what was happening in his life, he struggles with thoughts that are products of his anxiety. Perhaps, nag-self talk si David. Unconsciously, he was entertaining thoughts like, “Does the Lord still loves me…” and the more he thinks about this the more he becomes depressed. Another thought that depressed David was the thought that his enemies are now feasting over his situation. They are saying that David is now through and will soon died. Actually, what concerned David is what these people will think of God and his faith.
But we know another source of these thoughts–our enemy, Satan. The Bible clearly teaches us that the devil uses and sends “ideas” and “thoughts” which purpose and aim is to put Christians down and make us lose our trust and confidence and hope in the Lord. Listen to what Paul says in his letter to the Corinthian church,

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)

This is the reason why it is very very important that we are grounded in the Word. The only way we can be protected from Satan’s lies and deceptions is by knowing the truth. We need to develop a lifestyle of reading and studying and putting to practice the Word of God. I believe this is what made David strong and steadfast in his trust in the Lord. As we have seen in Psalm 1 David had made a commitment to read and meditate on the Law of the Lord day and night. Therefore, this help him make the his next confession…which is our second point…

B. David Humbly Confesses His Unwavering Trust in the Lord His God.

Emotions are like children. Children at times will run wild and do crazy things but we can control them. We can not allow them to control us. Emotions too could be very overwhelming but we have to control them. Like David, we should be able to say, “BUT I…”

“…But I trust in your unfailing love…” (v. 5a)

David knew his God. Particularly, David knows the character qualities of his God. Firstly, David knows that his God will not be angry and destroy by uttering these seeming doubting feelings and emotions. David knows that God is compassionate and forgiving. He knows that God understands us fully and perfectly well.

 That’s why he wrote in Ps. 103:

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Ps. 103:8-14)

Is it okay to be honest to God about what we feel and think? Yes, He understands. For He knows “how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” But let me clarify further that this kind of prayer is only for those who had built a personal relationship with the Lord. David prayed and appealed boldly to God on the basis of his relationship with the Lord.

He knows that He is a covenant making and fulfilling God. And as David had learned in the past through his life and the life of Israel, the Lord has not yet failed in one or any of His promises. Perhaps, he had read and knew by heart what Joshua wrote in Joshua 23:

“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” (Joshua 23:14)

David himself knew the faithfulness of the Lord. Remember when the promise given to David was to be the next king of Israel? He was a young teenager around 17 years old (1 Sam. 16) when anointed by Samuel and it took him about 14 years before the promised was fulfilled and not without many troubles and difficulties. David had proven the Lord and so he was convinced that the Lord will not fail him. He may be emtionally shaken but he was spiritually steadfast and committed.

Specifically, David trusted in the character of the Lord; meaning, he trusted that He will be who He is. So he appealed to His two character qualities or attributes…

1) Because God is loving and merciful. David expects His divine intervention.

Knowing that the Lord is compassionate and merciful, He believed and expected that He will rescue and intervene supernaturally in his situation.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation…” (v. 5)

2) Because God is good, David anticipates praising Him.

Our God is not only loving and merciful but good! So, David anticipates that he will sing praises and thanksgiving to Him in due time. David had learned and experienced that the God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

“I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” (v. 6)

I pray that whatever may be our situation today, whatever may be the emotional burden that you are carrying in your heart, whatever it is that you are wrestling with the Lord right now I your life; perhaps an illness, a problematic relationship, the salvation of unsaved loved one, a financial problem – You will choose to decide to put your trust in our compassionate, loving, merciful and faithful God!

I would like to share the message of this song that spoke to my heart as well:

He’s been faithful

In my moments of fear, through every pain every tear
There’s a God who’s been faithful to me
When my strength was all gone, when my heart had no song
Still my God has been faithful to me

Every word He promised is true
What I thought was impossible
I’ve seen my God do

He’s been faithful, faithful to me
Just looking back His love and mercy I see
When in my heart I have questioned
And failed to believe
He’s been faithful, faithful to me

When my heart looked away, the many times I could not pray
Even then He’s been faithful to me
The days I’ve spent so selfishly, reaching out for what pleased me
Still in love He’s been faithful to me

And every time I come back to Him
I see Him waiting with His open arms and I know once again

He’s been faithful, faithful to me
Just looking back His love and mercy I see
When in my heart I have questioned
And failed to believe
He’s been faithful, faithful to me

 

CONCLUSION:

God does not only know us fully and perfectly well; He also understands us fully and perfectly well. He understands our imperfections, our limitations, our frailties, as well as our frustrations. He is our compassionate, loving and merciful Father. Today, He calls us to bare our hurting hearts to Him. Let us be open and honest to God.

This message was delivered by Dr. Val Natcher at Emmanuel Church International Ministries last Sept 5, 2010.

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