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how long, o lord

August 6, 2011

 [13:1] How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? [2] How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? [3] Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, [4] lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. [5] But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. [6] I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

(Psalm 13 ESV)

This Sunday at Grace Seattle we will be looking at Psalm 13 as we continue in our study of the Psalms this summer. The Psalms, among other things, help us learn how to pray. Psalm 13 gives us an example of praying when life’s circumstances are leaving us feeling disoriented and overwhelmed. Often, these feelings are glazed over or ignored in worship, but Psalm 13 helps us cry out to the Lord in our distress. When we pray honestly to the Lord, we are comforted in the hope of salvation. Isaac Watts, an English hymn-writer and theologian (1674-1748), wrote a beautiful paraphrase of Psalm 13 entitled “How Long, O Lord.” We will be singing this text, with new music written by Karl Digerness, tomorrow after the congregation reads the Psalm together. The hope is that we can learn as a congregation to be honest with God when we feel that He is not there and are overwhelmed with life’s circumstances. Because in this feeling of disorientation, we find that God’s love and grace is true, welcoming us and inviting us into relationship with Christ who is worthy of our praise.

How long,O Lord, shall I complain

like one that seeks his God in vain?

Canst thou thy face forever hide,

and I still pray and be denied?

But I have trusted in thy grace, and shall again behold thy face

Shall I forever be forgot,

as one whom thou regardest not?

Still shall my soul thy absence mourn,

and still despair of thy return?

How long shall my poor troubled breast

Be with these anxious thoughts oppressed?

And Satan, my malicious foe,

Rejoice to see me sunk so low?

Whate’er my fears or foes suggest,

thou art my hope, my joy, my rest;

My heart shall feel thy love, and raise

my cheerful voice to songs of praise.

But I have trusted in thy grace, and shall again behold thy face

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