Spurgeon's expositions of the Psalms is the finest work on the subject. Read his sermon or commentary on Psalm 13.
MacLaren was the prince of expositors. He belonged to the 19th century, the golden age of Bible preaching and teaching. Alas, there are very few today who go back to the 'old masters' of the Word of God. No wonder, today's Christianity is a shallow version of the true faith!
Time to get your hands on books by Harry Ironside. It is good to have 'full assurance' that you are God's child and that you have been really and truly saved.
A Psalm of David
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed against him’;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am shaken.
But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
This brief psalm begins with a four-fold cry of ‘How long? How long, O LORD?’
God is testing our faith. And the test continues over a long period of time. We need patience. ‘You have need of endurance.’ Heb 10:36. ‘Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.’ Heb 12:1. ‘Jesus…endured the cross’, Heb 12:2. ‘Consider Him who endured such hostility…’ Heb 12:3. Three times we have the same word ‘endure’ in the first three verses of Hebrews 12.
This is what James says. ‘Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’ Jas 1:2-4
‘Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the endurance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.’ Jas 5:11
It is written of Abraham that, ‘after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise’. Heb 6:15.
‘How long?’ is the cry of every true child of God. Not only David (as in this Psalm), or Job, or Abraham, but all the prophets, who are ‘an example of suffering and patience’. Jas 5:10.
Hear this poignant cry from the children of God. Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’ Isa 49:14. And hear the LORD’s reply: ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.’ 49:15.
The first two verses of Psalm 13 are cries from the cross. We remember our Lord crying out, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ Every child of God has to go through this deep experience of the cross. A subjective experience; a fellowship in the sufferings of Christ.
How the enemy tries to shake us! How easily our hearts are troubled! How quickly we fall into despair!
But the Lord is merciful and kind. ‘He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.’ Ps 103:14. He will not allow us to suffer more than we can bear, 1 Cor 10:13.
God is good and His mercy endures forever. He delights in mercy, Micah 7:18b. He will again have compassion on us. Micah 7:19a.
‘I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.’ Psalm 13:6. Note the word 'bountiful'. Whatever God does, He does bountifully, abundantly, so that 'our cup runs over'!
God does not forget; He remembers. God remembered Noah, Gen 8:1. God remembered Abraham, Gen 19.29. God remembered Rachel, Gen 30.22. God remembered Hannah, 1 Sam 1:19. God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Exod 2:24.
He forgets our iniquities, covered as they by the blood of Jesus. But He remembers our prayers. He is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. He heard the prayer of David and brought him ‘out of all his troubles’. Psalm 54:7.
And so the Lord dealt bountifully with David. For we read: ‘He died in a good old age, full of days and riches and honor…’ 1 Chron 29:28.
All our suffering is not in vain. For suffering in a believer’s life leads to glory. 1 Pet 4:13, 2 Cor 4:17. The more the suffering, the more the glory. Did not the Lord say so in the parable of the vine, in John 15:2b: ‘Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit’? ‘By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit…’ John 15:8.
Today the Psalms of David are continuing to bear fruit for God’s glory. How much they have comforted God’s children in times of suffering and sorrow! What a great blessing the Psalms are!
© Roland N Oliver/Pratonix
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