Thursday, March 02, 2006

Psalm 13: Hope In the Battle With Sin

What to do with guilt? Where to bring it? Where to go when we are persistently bombarded with temptation? How to find hope when we consistently fall into the same sin and feel defeated? You may struggle with these questions as sin seems to gain ground and darkness spreads, causing you to doubt your salvation. Psalm 13 helps us as we watch the Psalmist struggle with an enemy that seems to be gaining ground.

Psalm 13.1-2 tells us of the struggle. The first utterance from the psalmist's mouth is like many a prayer found in our most painful moment - short and honest: How long, O Lord? David then elaborates: How long will you forget me - forever? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts, have sorrow in my heart and have the enemy triumph over me? Sin, the enemy is winning and gaining ground.

What is David's concern? Why the struggle? Psalm 13.3-4 tell us that if God does not answer, the enemy will laugh at him and claim victory. Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall. This is a real fear in the believer's life - does the advance of the enemy mean God's love has left me and the enemy is becoming to powerful.

What does David do? Give up? Renounce God as powerless and join the "dark side"? Does he even doubt his faith (sometimes what may seem to be a very spiritual act in itself)? No, no and no. He states three truths he may not see by sight but holds to by faith.

1. But I trust in your unfailing love: when I do not love you like I should, I trust in your love that does not let me go.
2. My heart rejoices in your salvation: when I struggle and am losing ground, I rejoice in your salvation that you have given me. You have saved me, knowing my sin and who I am - I have not saved me from my sins.
3. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me: I will simply begin to sing of God's goodness and if God is good, then He will protect me, empower me, keep me safe and ultimately give me victory over my sin.

This prayer is valuable as it teaches us how to pray in desperate times when struggling with sin. Cry out to God and be honest - brutally honest; tell him your heartfelt fears; and finally, think "God" thoughts by asking what do you know to be true? Does God love me with an unfailing, everlasting love? Then he will not reject me. Has God saved me? Then he will not condemn me or give me over to my enemy. Has God been good? Then I will sing even while the enemy surrounds me and seems to be winning.

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