Scripture Reading: Psalm 13 (KJV) “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? Forever? 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.”
Gospel Reading: Matthew 19: 24-26 (KJV) ” And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Maya Angelou said, “If, someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I have been thinking about that saying all week. If a person shows you who they are…?
But here is the problem as I see it. We are waiting and depending on man when we need to be putting all our faith in God. What is it that today’s New Testament reading tells us? “…With God all things are possible.” Not so with man. Men will disappoint you. Women will break your heart. Human nature is selfish.
But God loves us unconditionally. God shows us who God is all the time, and all we have to do is believe God.
It’s been long enough… Now it is our turn to see what it is that we show God.
“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? Forever? 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.”
Some Bible commentators think that this Psalm was written by King David after his son Absalom’s death.
Do you remember who Absalom was? In 2 Samuel 13-19 you can read all about David’s third son, who avenges his sister Tamar’s rape by killing his half-brother Amnon.
Because of that murder Absalom is kicked out of the kingdom for a while (not forever, but for a time), and rather than taking that exile as an opportunity to get his mind right and figure out where he went wrong, and who he’s been listening to and following, he raises a rebellion against his father.
David, who still want’s no harm to come to him, Absalom. But he ends up being killed by his cousin Joab. And through all that, anguish and betrayal…even then,
David, upset, brokenhearted and wailing, even then, David calls out to the Lord Our God in the midst of his struggle and his depression. Psalms are divided by categories: Royal, Zion, Repentance, Wisdom, Praise, Hallel, Songs, and Laments.
Let’s take a guess on what category Psalm 13 falls under?! (Lament/Complain Psalm also considered pleas for help).
Call Him (Even in your Frustration): Let us read Psalm 13 once more. But this time let us read it from another version of the bible, starting with verses 1-2 in The Message it says: “Long enough, God— you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough, I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.”
The person who is saying these things is a person in anguish. A person who is struggling, a person who is Praying to God to get in the way of all the troubles coming his/her way.
Come to think of it, the person talking to God is saying, God I am following you and carrying a big bag of hurts and as I walk behind you telling you all about the big bag of hurt… Have you ever gone to the beach and you want to carry everything out to the sand at one time, you and your friends are all walking and your hands are full and you walk complaining about the amount of stuff you are carrying, but you never give your friend a chance to help you carry your load?.
Well, this person is going through that. Sometimes when we are in the middle of a problem we sit and pray to God and ask Him to deal with it, but we have not given up our problem. We continue to carry the problem all on our own.
And then, we get tired and we talk louder!! As though our friend, GOD, could not hear us before. This is a loud temper tantrum. I threw one recently, so I know!! I can recognize it.
Listen, I am going through a lot. My family is going through a lot. You all know what is going on with my brother right now right? Well, for those of you who do not know, my brother had a stroke. He did not have a little one, that he didn’t feel and wasn’t sure about. He had a real stroke. That he felt. That radiated through every ounce of his being. But you know what?
As much as he was going through, as much as his body was hurt, my immediate thought when I found out was for myself. I can admit my selfishness…I thought: “…long enough, God – you’ve ignored [my family] long enough. [God], I’ve carried this ton of trouble” the death of Abuelo Goyito, the death of Abuela Rafaela, the death of Abuela Yeco, the death of my marriage to infidelity, the death of my courage, “long enough…, I’ve lived with a stomach full of pain long enough.”
We are such awesome complainers. Okay, not you but I definitely am!
We show God our frustration. But as we do so, we acknowledge Him and his sovereignty over us. In this process of watching over my brother in his current circumstances, a group of us had conversations while in his kitchen.
We talked about our sadness at our inability to fix him, we talked about how frustrated we were, how overwhelmed we felt, and I said, “I keep arguing and arguing with God over this. I am so angry.”
Aaaaaaaaaaaagh!! You could hear a pin drop.
Everybody turned and looked at me, and one person said, “Elly don’t you believe in God? How can you talk to Him that way?”
And I responded, “I believe in an all-powerful God who is stronger than my anger. My God is strong enough to take my anger. He hears my heart, he binds’ up my wounds. Who better to share my frustration with than my God?”
I am almost there. I do not have it together quite yet. I am sharing my frustration with God, but am I giving him my load and asking Him to help me carry it?
“Long enough, God— you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain.” In another translation (GW) it reads, “How long must I make decisions alone with sorrow in my heart day after day?”
Do YOU See Me: But that is just it. The Bible does not say that God called us to be alone. The Bible does not ask that we make decisions alone. Verses 3-4 reads:
Take a good look at me, God, my God;
I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face.
This is David, daring to ask God for answers to his requests. More than that though, this is David saying, “God, my God” [I choose you], I choose to look life in the eye. I choose to look at you and follow you; and because I choose to follow you, “no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face.”
I choose to look at you and follow you; and because I choose to follow you, I know that I am not alone in this mess that I call life. I am not alone. The world may think I am alone. The enemy, my enemies may think I am alone. But they don’t see what my heart sees. They don’t see that I am putting all my faith in You God.
But God, I need more faith so that I can see in this storm. My bag is heavy God and I cannot carry it alone in the dark. My fears are breaking me and I need you!
But, that is just it God, promised that I would not be alone. That He would be with me. In Hebrews 13:5, the Bible says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (NIV).
And so I call out to Him believing in Him. Believing that He has my back.
Believe(In Whom you Believe): The problem is that we expect God to be at our beck and call. And he is NOT our errand boy.
If I call out to Him and ask of Him I can’t keep carrying my own bag. At some point I have to give my bag up and let Him carry it. I have to trust Him in the midst of my problems.
David has done his part. He has expressed himself to God. David has asked God to be with him. He has asked God for answers. David has let God know what is on his mind.
But then David does something that many of us are terrified to do, he throws himself at Gods mercy and remains. Believing that God will answer in God’s own time. Remembering that God has already bought him through some big bad situations.
“I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m [already] so full of answered prayers.”
Conclusion: Psalm 13, starts out as a lament, “Long enough, God— you’ve ignored me long enough.” But Psalm 13 ends in Praise.
I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.”
Rather than expect us to remain stuck in our circumstances, God want us to pour out our hearts and souls to him. He wants us to remember His loving care for us and how he has already forgiven our sins, a sign that he has already bought us out of our past, so helping us with our present is a matter of trusting in the promises he’s made for our future.
What we need to do now, know that we have aired out our complaints about life. Now that we have asked God to take control. Now that we have yelled and screamed and worn ourselves, out. Is figure out who is stronger our problems or the God we serve?
“Have I been put in some dark corner where you’ve forgotten about me, Lord? How long until you stumble across me and remember me again? When will you even look me in the eye so I can remember what your face looks like?
How long will all these worries and fears keep building up inside of me? Each day I’m devastated inside like I was the day before. Will the people who are against me ever stop taking pleasure in my pain and suffering. They use anything they can against me.
Please stop and really think about me… and say something, Lord, my God. It’s so dark all around me that you could be right next to me and I wouldn’t know it except by faith. Please give me that faith that lights up this darkness. Without it I feel like death’s current will pull me under.
If you don’t help me now, the people who fight against me will think they’ve won. The very ones who turned my world upside down will pat themselves on the back because I can’t seem to pull it together.
But the truth of my story comes back to me now. Your goodness, even when I didn’t deserve it, has been my real support. What has really held me up in all this is your loving gentleness and patience for me. I can believe in that now with confidence.
As I think about the way that you ultimately rescue me, I feel my emotions coming back to life. My heart wakes up. You have given me so many good things that when I think about them I feel like singing again to you, Lord.
Please stand. Let us pray.