David’s Prayer

Psalm 13:3-4.

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;

Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

In verses one and two, David listed his woes. “God has forgotten me; He has turned His face away; I have no one but myself from whom to get counsel; my enemies are winning!”

But as he listed his complaints, he began to get a glimpse of his own negative thinking. He knew that God would not forget him, or turn away from him. And perhaps there was a little flame of truth in his heart that still burned, showing him the futility of trusting only in himself.

In the next two verses, we see a different spirit in David. It is as if he has lifted his head up off the floor, seeking to see God’s truth instead of wallowing in his own misperceptions. “Think of me, God! Hear me! Give light (understanding) to my eyes, so that I don’t die in my misery!”

One of the major symptoms of clinical depression is a deep need to sleep ALL the time! The paradox, of course, is that often the one who suffers depression finds sleep to be elusive, impossible to maintain. Sleeplessness leads to a host of other symptoms, including deep anxiety, forgetfulness, and a sense of being out of place, out of time. There can also be a sleep so deep that it is an escape from all that is troubling to the victim, a safe place where he can hide from everything and everyone–sleep so deep that is like death.

David is worried about his enemies. He is afraid, because Saul has soldiers who will do his bidding. David had, at this time, no human help nearby. It bothered him a lot to think of his enemy rejoicing over his defeat.

If you’ve ever used a pair of binoculars, you know that they have to be adjusted to your own vision. For me, that meant the left lens had to be set very differently from the right. I was nearsighted in my right eye, but quite farsighted in my left. It is no wonder that I often had sick headaches after working on a typing project, for instance, in which the eyes shift back and forth.

David needed to adjust his vision–in this case, his insight! Going back to yesterday’s post, if you missed it, will help you to understand how twisted his thinking had become. You can find that link at the bottom of this post.

In his prayer in today’s verses, he asks God to bring light to his eyes–his mind, his heart, his understanding. He knew he was a mess, but he finally asked God to change his perspective instead of just complaining about his misery.

Finally, lest we be too quick to jump to judgment on David, I want to remind you of Someone else who believed God had forsaken Him. Jesus, as he hung in agony under the weight of the sin of all mankind, knew that God could not look on Him because He became sin for us (II Cor. 5:21). Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me!” (Matthew 27:46). In His deep agony, Jesus’ heart was broken because the Father had to turn away from the sight of His Son bearing the sin of the world on His own body.

The How Long Song

Psalm 13.

[[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] How long wilt Thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;

Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.

I will sing unto the LORD, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.

I hope you will take the few minutes to read this entire Psalm. Today we’ll look at the first two verses, but having the whole context is important in understanding what is happening.

Some have referred to Psalm 13 as The How Long Song or, more satirically, The Howling Psalm. It is a very short retrospective that David composed as he looked back on a time when he was still running away from King Saul. He had not yet gathered his band of mighty men, and was feeling helpless, hopeless, and forsaken as he hid up in the northern reaches of Israel where there was a lot of sand and many unfriendly people.

He was discouraged. Who wouldn’t be? He was young, untried, lonely. Pay special attention to the questions he asks of God in the first two verses, which I’ll label as David’s Complaint:

David believed God had forsaken him.

David believed God had turned His face away from him.

David believed the only help would come from his own thinking.

David’s heart was full of sorrow.

David believed his enemies (King Saul) were winning.

Did you ever feel any–or all–of those things? Who among us hasn’t had a time when we felt abandoned, alone, helpless against our enemies; worse, helpless against our own useless self-talk which, in David’s case, was negative in the extreme. Haven’t you ever felt remorseful over something you said or did, some behavior that was shocking even to you, yourself? What happens when you allow your mind to dwell there? Do you feel strong, able to defeat those thoughts? Or do you just want to find a hole, crawl into it and pull it in after you?

In Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, the underlying principle is that what we think, or believe to be true, motivates our feelings, actions, and words. I once pointed out to my professor that this is a biblical principle. He wasn’t at all impressed until I took him to Proverbs 23:7a:  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

If you believe, as David did, that God has forsaken you, you’re going to feel discouraged, deeply troubled, sad and hopeless. If you believe that God doesn’t care, that belief is going to alter your attitude toward God. You will be telling yourself all sorts of unhelpful lies: “Why go on? It doesn’t matter what I do! No one cares if I live or die! God has forsaken me and turned away from me. What’s the use? I wish I could just die and be done with all of it!”

Such thinking will take you to a very dark place. I believe, in today’s terminology, that David hopeless, negative thinking had taken him into what a therapist would call clinical depression. Depression was the most common issue I dealt with as a psychotherapist. In every single case, no exceptions, my client’s thinking had become clouded with despair and hopelessness.

Taking counsel in your own soul, as David had tried to do here, will lead you to more despair. Your thinking has led you to believe that no one, not even God, truly cares about you. Such thinking, as David says, leads you to have daily sorrow in your heart.

Will medication fix it? Well, David didn’t have that option, did he?

Medication has its place. I recommended it only when the depression had become so overwhelming that my client truly couldn’t see any hope. He was probably not sleeping; not eating, or eating way too much; isolating himself as much as possible, dealing with either extreme anger or floods of tears, unable to focus or deal with day-to-day routines like brushing his teeth. When a person was in such a state, the medication could help him sleep, which is in itself a great restorative that helps get one’s thinking back to a healthier place.

Medication, however, does not address the deep needs of the soul.

The final statement in verse two shows us that David was convinced that Saul had won; there was just no hope.

David was in a dark hole that he had dug for himself with the shovel of his own negative beliefs.

God Hates the Wicked!

Psalm 11:5-7.

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth.

Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.

There is both cursing and blessing in these three verses. It is significant to me that scripture, here, strongly states that God hates the wicked and those who love violence.

What? But I thought God loves all mankind! That He is not willing that any should perish in eternal judgment in hell.

That is true. Jesus died for the sin of all mankind, no exceptions. But not all of mankind has accepted or relies on Him for salvation. Some have nothing but wickedness in their hearts, and hatred for even the idea that there is a God to whom they are answerable.

Our Sunday school teacher yesterday reminded us of Nietzsche, the tormented philosopher who taught that God is dead. If that were true, then we don’t need to trouble ourselves with thoughts of judgment. One of Nietzsche’s devoted followers was Adolph Hitler. It is no wonder that he operated outside the realm of godliness, lawfulness, or even human kindness. And it should not astonish us that hundreds of thousands of people worshiped him as a god, screaming in support of his rantings.

We should also realize that schools across America today still admire Nietzsche’s ideas. We shouldn’t, therefore, be surprised at the radical thinking of so many thousands of college-age young people. It is true throughout history that both satanic revolutions like Communism and religious revivals often start among the young people.

God hates rebellion against Himself, not because it makes Him feel bad, but because such rebellion is based in satanic thinking and teaching.

God tries (tests, investigates, decides on the outcome) the righteous. The righteous here refers to those who truly believe in Him. So why does God judge them? Simply because no single person who has ever lived, no matter how deep their faith in God, is free of sin.

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven. God cleansed the entire world through the Flood of Noah’s time. When God finally removes His hand of protection, judgment follows. It is devastating.

He is a righteous Lord. He loves righteousness. He sees the efforts of the upright to stem the flow of wickedness and evil that exists in this tired old earth. Those who live for Him, for righteousness, will experience blessing. Perhaps that blessing will not be here on earth, but it will exist unhindered in heaven.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Back to Church!

I’ve missed three consecutive Sundays because of Covid! I’m so GLAD I feel well enough to go to church this morning!

Last night I went to a concert with Mike and Janan, and two old friends from the church we used to attend. One of them I’ve known for 45 years! As we were finding a place to sit, I recognized another old friend from years ago. What a pleasure to sit with her and catch up with each other! We shared some great times together back when we were both a lot younger, and the bond is still there.

The friendships we formed in our church years ago are still among my most treasured ones. The bonds we shared as we reared our kids and served together in ministry have stood the test of time and separation. The glue, of course, was our mutual love of God and His Word, and the desire of our hearts to share the gospel with those around us.

Today, we’ll be back among newer friends. The bond is the same as it was years ago. That doesn’t change, because Jesus never changes! I love everything about church. I totally enjoy having contact with young people who are warm and open toward us grannies. I love to watch the little kids as they grow up–so fast!–and to create new friendships with adults of all ages. I love the singing, the preaching, and the fellowship.

There is a lot of discussion these days about why so many of our young adults leave the church. I can tell you that it’s nothing new! Maybe some of the reasons have changed, but the fact of the matter is that our youth are often tempted away from church by more exciting entertainment, and therein lies the problem. Church is not for entertainment. It is for preaching, teaching, fellowship, edification. Community. Relationship, both with God and with other believers. I am so thankful to have found a place that still maintains those values.

Saturday Soliloquy: Surprise!

It’s August 27, last week of what is often the hottest month of the year.

As I glanced at my header, I had to smile. It says, “Hello August! Surprise me!”

Well, I got my surprise. Covid finally found me. It robbed me of about two weeks during the worst of it. It wasn’t as bad as it was for many people, but it was a little more than “just a cold.” Starting with unexplained fatigue before I even knew I was sick, I had every symptom on the list. My normal temperature is 97.5, so when it goes up to 101, I’m truly miserable. That lasted for only three days, and what a relief!

Over all, I’d say I got off lightly. Still feeling some fatigue, and some have told me to be careful not to push too hard because the fatigue can come sneaking back just when you think you’ve got it licked.

Yesterday I decided to do a little deep cleaning in my bedroom. Sometimes you just need to move the furniture and clean up the accumulated grick under and behind it. I got a good start, moving my bedside table, dusting, mopping, using the hand-vacuum. Felt really good to see it fresh and clean!

That’s when I looked at my dresser, a rather large piece of furniture, and knew I couldn’t finish. Terry happened to look in and see me sitting on the edge of my bed. He sized up the situation quickly, and offered to help. I truly couldn’t have finished the job without him.

Cleaning, for me, always includes doing some reorganizing. I have two small, flat containers filled with my essential oils. I keep them in alphabetical order, same as I do with my herbs and spices in the kitchen. Some certain family members think it’s silly, but I always find what I need quickly. It does require maintenance, though, like any filing system. Things don’t always get put back in the same order. I spent maybe half an hour on that task, which I could do sitting down. In the process, realized I had used up all my tea tree oil, and was also out of clove oil. So I ordered those things, put everything else back in place, and felt most virtuous at a job well done.

I’m easy to please 🙂

I’d started a pot of beans in the morning, using a soup bone and some smoked pork neck bones. Smelled SO good! I like to make cornbread with that meal. I’ve been looking for a recipe using creamed corn, finally found one online. It’s delicious, kind of a cakey texture, but I think it was just a tad underdone. I’ll try it again, using a little bigger pan. I remember my mom using a similar recipe, and her cornbread was never crumbly. I think I’m on the right track now, just need to tweak it a little bit.

Well, this has certainly been a home-style post! And it all started with my August surprise 🙂


The Lord is in His Holy Temple

Psalm 11:3-4.

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men.

My first question: To what foundations does this v. 3 refer?

The answer lies in the well-meant but ungodly advice his friends gave him: Run away, fly like a bird to the mountains for protection, because King Saul has broken the foundations of society by seeking to kill David.

Can we draw parallels to this tired old world today? Have the foundations been broken? I believe they have, all around the world, over and over again in the history of man’s inhumanity to man. God said, “Thou shalt not kill (commit murder).” Yet history is full of murder and mayhem, all in the effort of one man, or one ideology, to gain absolute power and control. We tend to look at Hitler as the epitome of such evil, yet the Communist record of bloodshed far exceeds what Hitler did. I’m not exactly sure why we tend to overlook the mass murders committed by Stalin, Lenin, and communist China, etc., including the killing fields of Cambodia, and the tribal bloodshed in Africa. The sad truth is that the foundations of human existence have been destroyed over and over again down through the centuries.

David’s answer is classic: “The LORD is in His holy temple!”

Why do we forget, in the midst of increasing food shortages, pandemics, and the effort to kill available energy sources, The GOD is not in danger from any of man’s nonsense?

Even if believers are put to death for their faith, God is still in His holy temple. No puny effort of man can remove Him. His power cannot be cut off.

Verse four tells us that God sees and remembers the efforts of mankind toward evil. He will not forget. Justice will be done.

Our job, then, is to simply trust God and do what we know to be right.

Micah 6:8. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Trust in the Lord!

Psalm 11: 1-2.

 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?

For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.

David makes a statement: “I put my trust in God!”

Then he asks a question: “Because I put my trust in God, how can you tell me to fly like a bird to the safety of the mountains?”

A little background: Young David had incurred the wrath of King Saul because he had proven more mighty in battle. Saul was insanely jealous of David’s popularity, and chased him all over Israel in an effort to kill him.

David believed that God had protected him from Saul, and had a plan for his life. So when his well-meaning but misguided friends advised him to run away to the safety of the high mountains, David’s response was quick and angry:

“How can you say that to me? Don’t you understand that God has appointed me to do His work? He has protected me many times from Saul, and He will continue to do so!

“Don’t you understand that no matter how far I may run, no matter where I may hide, those who hate me will make every effort to find me and kill me? No, I put my trust in God! He alone will protect me from my enemies!”

Let Not Man Prevail!

Psalm 9:19-20.

Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in Thy sight.

Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

(I want to apologize for missing yesterday. It was a busy morning, and I’m still dealing with the fatigue that seems to accompany Covid. I just didn’t have the energy to do my daily post. Getting slowly better, and it’s a quiet day today. Many of you have told me you’re praying for me, and that is the best medicine ever!)

Have you ever wondered how things might change on this tired old earth if believers everywhere would pray this prayer that closes Psalm 9? “Arise, Oh Lord!”

How our hearts may long for His appearing! How deeply we may desire for Him to come and set right everything that is wrong! Yet, we are consumed with day-to-day busy-ness. Meals have to be prepared. Shopping has to be done. The gas tank needs to be filled. Laundry, housecleaning, bill-paying, phone calls to return, plans to be made. . . . . right now, it all seems so wearisome to me!

I have to wonder, then, how wearisome it is to God that we pray so little, study His word so seldom, crave His Presence so rarely.

These things are not new, not restricted just to this present historical age. David had the same longings, the same need for confession and repentance, the same desire for God’s presence in his life.

In verse 20, David begs God to put fear into the hearts of mankind, that they may know they are merely human.

The word Selah means “Think of that! Ponder that!”

We are only human, yet we get so above ourselves that we think we can eliminate almighty, omnipotent God from our thinking. He is the source of all wisdom. We are foolish to think we don’t need Him!

The Needy

Psalm 9:17-18.

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

David’s statement about the fate of all who deny God is very clear. They are doomed to hell unless they have a change of heart and acknowledge their sin.

The needy, however, have a little different promise. I want to clarify here that not all poor people are automatically assured of heaven. They are under the same aegis as everyone else: Salvation comes with repentance and forsaking of sin. It does seem, however, that those who are in deep need on this earth are more humble than the rich and powerful who tend to think they don’t need Him.

I looked up definitions for the word needy. Here is what I found:

  1. in want, needy, chiefly poor, needy person
  2. subject to oppression and abuse
  3. needing help, deliverance from trouble, especially as delivered by God
  4. general reference to lowest class
David Guzik, BlueletterBible

We in America have been incredibly blessed in material things. Sometimes, though, such blessings cause us to forget the One from Whom all blessings flow. We are already losing some of our dearly held freedoms because we have not been vigilant against the accuser of all mankind, Satan himself, whose entire purpose is to destroy that which God loves. Rivers of blood have been shed in the name of power and control; sometimes in the name of making everything fair and equal for everyone.

God will not forget those who have suffered, who are presently suffering, especially for the Name of Jesus Christ.

That’s a promise we can count on.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Maybe I’m Just Lazy!

Third Sunday in a row I haven’t gone to church. First it was my back. Then it was Covid. Today? I’m still just SO tired! Can’t sleep enough. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just plain lazy.

Trouble is, I don’t know what to do to get up out of this malaise.

Just do it? No matter what, just get up and get going. Keep doing that and eventually I’ll regain my energy?

Any of you who have experienced this with Covid, please tell me what you did to rejoin the land of the living! I feel as if someone pulled a plug and let all my energy drain out.

This is not fun. At all.