March 14, 2019

Psalm 13 (NLT) — 1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2 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? 3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6 I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.

If there was only one lesson that we could harvest from Psalm 13 I believe it would be that, “We always have a prayer.” It seems like this is what David was reduced to. God said that David was a man after His own heart. In other words he always wanted to do what God wanted him to do in thought, word and deed. He was a man that God had anointed to be the King of Israel. He was a man that had defeated lions and bears with his hands. He was a man who killed the giant Goliath. The accolades and accomplishments of David could go on and on.

But he was a man, a human being with all the feelings, emotions and limitations that go along with being human. However when things are going well and life is good the tendency is to forget that we are human and that we need God. Troubled times have a way of bringing us back to the reality that we are not the captain of our own souls, we are not the end all be all, the sun does not revolve around us. Perhaps that is why James says that we should rejoice when trouble comes because it humbles us and brings us back to our senses which bring us back to God.

So what ever trouble David was in it reduced him to prayer. He lion defeating hands were now raised toward heaven. His sling lay limp on the ground. The only resource he had was prayer. His prayer gives us insight into his humanness. He felt that God had left him, forgot about him, and totally abandoned him. His prayer was reduced to words of ‘how long’ and ‘don’t’.

We all have been there, right? We are cruising along in our job and then suddenly without warning there is a layoff. We might say, “How long God, I have bills to pay?” The family is doing well but then one day there is an accident and a child is in the hospital ICU unit. And we pray, “Father don’t let this precious one die”. Or you are suffering from some illness and it has lingered on and on and you are slowly losing all hope. “How long?” Or you are a mother with three children and a colicky baby and you are exhausted from lack of sleep and you world looks anything but bright. “How long?” You have a son or daughter that has left home and is not living for the Lord. “How long?” Or you have been cheated on by your spouse or you’ve been hurt by the ‘church’. We also can envy the prosperity and the health of the unsaved to the point of despairing of our lot in life.

And then of course our enemy Satan never gives up and all the while he or one of his minions whispers in our ear that God doesn’t care, or it is your sin that has gotten you into this fix or any other depressing thought that they can come up with.

“But” and this is the transition word that is found in verse 5. David may not of had anything else ‘but’ he had a prayer. And in verse 5 we see a transformation taking place. Did prayer change his circumstances? NO. “But” is the transition from fear to faith. Prayer caused him to remember God’s loyal love. Prayer caused him to remember the many times that God had already rescued him and prayer reminded him of the goodness of God. His circumstance didn’t change but God changed him. He hadn’t been rescued but he acted like it. Prayer brought him to the place of singing instead of sobbing.

We see that happen in Job > Job 13:15 God might kill me, but I have no other hope.

We see it happen in Habakkuk > Habakkuk 3:17–18 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

We see it happen in Jesus >Matthew 26:39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

There’s this famous story about Sir Winston Churchill, who near the end of his distinguished career was asked to return and speak at his old school, Harrow (where as a boy he’d almost flunked out). The great day finally arrived, and after the school’s fanfare and acclamation Sir Winston stood to his feet, acknowledged the introduction, and gave the following address, which is quoted in full: ‘Young men, never give up. Never give up! Never give up!! Never, never, never-never-never-never!'”

I believe David, Job, Habakkuk, and Jesus would say to us today, “Hilltop, when it comes to prayer, never give up. Never give up! Never give up! Never, never, never-never-never-never! It may not change your circumstances but it will change you!”

Be Inspired Hilltop!