The verse, “How long, O Lord? Wilt thou forget me for ever?” in yesterday’s meditation by Amy Carmichael caught my heart, so I decided to do a little scripture study on the psalm from which it comes, Ps. 113. I remember distinctly a time quite a few years ago when I was going through a very dark time in prayer. Not only did God seem distant, I couldn’t even find Him. I was on retreat at a Trappistine abbey, and I remember a prayer time there when I cried out to the Lord with very similar words to David’s: “Lord, have You forgotten me?” I did not hear an answer, but, needless to say, there was grace to keep persevering in prayer.
Psalm 13 is short, only six verses. The first four express the psalmist’s distress, both in his relationship with God, but also with the enemy. These are verses that we all have, or will pray, someday. But what struck me the most yesterday as I was pondering the psalm, were the last two verses:
But I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Anyone can pray the first four verses, but it takes faith, hope, and a great confidence in the Lord to pray those last two. Listen to Derek Kidner’s comments on these two verses:
The I of verse 5 is emphatic (as in NEB, etc.: ‘But for my part, I . . .’), and so, to a lesser degree, is thy steadfast love. However great the pressure, the choice is still his to make, not the enemy’s; and God’s covenant remains. So the psalmist entrusts himself to this pledged love, and turns his attention not to the quality of his faith but to its object and its outcome, which he has every intention of enjoying. The basic idea of the word translated dealt bountifully is completeness, which NEB interprets attractively as ‘granted all my desire’. But RSV can hardly be bettered, since it leaves room for God’s giving to exceed man’s asking. As for the past tense in which it is put, this springs evidently from David’s certainty that he will have such a song to offer, when he looks back at the whole way he has been led. (emphasis added)
Let us, in the middle of any difficult situations we may be, choose to put our trust not in the quality of our faith, but in His desire to deal bountifully with us.