Monday, 27 July 2020
Title: “How long, Lord, how long?”
Author: Ps Cheng Cheung
Psalm 13: 1 & 2
1 How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
The knowledge that God can prevent bad things often leads to the expectation that he should. And then when such expectations are not met, feelings of disappointment, then betrayal, then resentment, and finally anger, can follow.
How long? This question is repeated three times, each pointing at one source of David’s intense feelings of depression, some say even his anger, at God. It shows a very intense desire for deliverance, and great anguish of heart. But beware! Desire may degenerate into impatience and that is only a step away from indulging in a murmuring spirit.
How long will You hide Your face from me is the first critical question. David was showing signs of depression because he thought His relationship with the Lord God was drifting apart due to some strain. We often faint under the simple length of our trials. We feel we could endure almost anything if we knew when it would come to an end; yet sometimes we are tried under problems that make us cry out, “How long?” because there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it seems.
Will You forget me forever?
The pain in David’s heart came from a sense that God had forgotten him and that God was distancing Himself from him. No doubt, David had faced worse circumstances before, but he had faced them more bravely when he clearly sensed the presence of God with him. Yet now, he felt distant from God, and it would not take much to send David into despair and ultimately, possible depression if something did not take place to reverse the spiral he was in.
Of course, God had not forgotten David. Neither did he hide His face from David – but David felt like He had. When we have such strong feelings, the feelings create their own reality. David felt God had forgotten him, and felt God was hiding. So, in a sense, it was true for David – but true according to feelings not according to fact. There is a balance in life when it comes to feelings. Some people ignore feelings and think that feelings should have nothing to do with our relationship with God. This is an extreme viewpoint, because God has given us feelings as an expression of His image in us. We feel anger, joy, love, elation, sorrow, and many other feelings, because God Himself feels those feelings. Feelings are a gift from God and part of our makeup because, our fall did not change the fact we were created in His image.
On the other side, some live their lives ruled by feelings. They believe whatever reality their feelings present them. The problem with this is that though we have feelings because we are made in the image of God, our feelings are affected by our fallenness. We cannot place our trust in our feelings because of this. It was all right for David to feel these feelings, and good for him to take them to God, but he should never have assumed the reality of mere feelings as “the real thing.”
This is a lesson of profound significance, especially for those who possess higher emotional sensitivities.
2a How long shall I take counsel in my soul
No wonder David was discouraged! He took counsel in his own soul and this had led him to sorrow in his heart daily. This naive behaviour was the second source of his feelings of deflation. When discouraged and depressed, the answer is not in looking inside one’s soul, but in looking to the LORD. At such a time, the voices of your saddened feelings and weary soul will speak louder than that of the Holy Spirit. If you, like David, take self-counsel at an emotional low point you will also discover a rather confused state of mind beset by irrational questions. And, lo, before you know it, like Eve, you have made rash decisions driven by impulse and self-imposed pressure. Therefore, brothers and sisters, claim James 1: 5 ”If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” The Lord will surely bring you to a place of quiet repose where you can collect yourself and seek His guidance.
2b How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Here was the third ”How long?” question. David was unable to accept the distinct possibility that if his degenerating emotional condition persisted, his enemies would mock him and would be exalted over him. Can you guess what was the root cause of David’s inability to accept this consequence?
David could not bear to see his enemies gloat over his misfortune. After all, is he not the Lord’s chosen one, called to lead God’s people? Yes, he is. Rest assured, the Lord will defend all those whom He has called and will surely vindicate and defend His own when they call out to Him for help. Surrender your pride to Him. If you do all you do with a clear conscience for God’s glory do not fret over “your enemies” and their unkind words. He will uphold you with His victorious right hand.
Prayer for Today
Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for my emotions. Thank you that just as I am capable of great joy, so I am also capable of feeling sad and from time to time, anger at various forms of unfairness and injustice as well.
Thank you that these feelings make me whole and that I can express my full range of feelings, both when I am feeling up or down, happy or sad or angry, to You. Help me draw closer to You, Heavenly Father, as a result. In Jesus’ Name.
难怪大卫灰心了！他心里筹算，这使他终日愁苦。这种无知的行为是他沮丧惘然的第二个原因。当灰心沮丧时，答案不是看内心，而是看耶和华。在这样的时刻，您悲伤的情绪和疲惫的灵魂会比圣灵的声音大。如果您像大卫一样，在情绪低落时采取自我建议，您将发现一个由非理性、困扰、相当混乱的心态像夏娃一样冲动和自我施加的压力下做出了轻率的决定。因此，兄弟姐妹们，在 雅各书1：5“你们中间若有缺少智慧的，应当求那厚赐与众人、也不斥责人的上帝，主就必赐给他。” 主一定会带你到一个安静的地方，安然的寻求他的指导。
这是第三个 “几时？ ”的问题。大卫无法接受这种明显的可能性，即如果情绪状况不断恶化下去，他的敌人就会嘲笑他，并将他升高压制。您能猜出大卫无法接受这后果的根本原因是什么？
今天的祈祷： 亲切的天父，谢谢祢赐的情感。 谢谢祢，让我有能力有极大的快乐，也有能力感到悲伤，有时对各种的不公平和不公正感到愤怒。