“From Protest To Praise”
As a musician (by wiring and by training), I have always been fascinated by the Psalms. There are so many rich declarations of God’s faithfulness and wondrous character. There are so many explanations of His love and mercy and grace.
But there are some songs in this collection that we don’t seem to cover in your typical Sunday School class. One of them is Psalm 13. It’s reminds me of those moments when the Crocodile Hunter would mess with some creature that is just minding its own business and the thing would hiss or snarl or try to bite him and he would say, “Ooo, he’s angry!!!”
This psalm though is in our Bibles. It’s not polite and well-mannered. It is honest and questioning. And the fact that it’s here in the Scriptures tells me there is something important to learn from it. Let’s look at it.
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.
I heard a wise teacher one time explain that there are really two kinds of prayers—“Dear God” prayers and “O God” prayers. This particular psalm is obviously the latter. David (yep, the one called “a man after God’s own heart”) asks God a really difficult series of questions. And here’s the thing—the assumptions in his questions are not truth, but they are the perceptions and feelings of his heart.
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you refuse to listen?
How long do I have to wallow in and wrestle with this agony in my soul?
How long will you let my enemies trample me?
I’m dying here—aren’t you listening?
These are not Sunday School prayers, are they?
But they are honest expressions of a man’s heart. And, if it stopped there, it would be ok.
Notice in verse 5 that we see that important word, “but.” He expresses all his heart. He expresses his frustration and fear and anxiety. Then he stops to remember.
I have trusted in your love.
I will find joy again in your salvation.
I will sing because you have been faithful.
Do you see what happens? This very human man—musician, warrior, king, failure, adulterer, murderer, victor, and indeed a man after God’s own heart—in just a few lines moves from protest to praise.
This song I’m commending to you today is one that ministered to me in a season when it felt like God went silent on me. It helped me to recognize that God is interested in all of my heart and not just the pleasant and polite parts. He can handle my honesty. In fact, He already knows it’s in me so to hold it back from Him is really dishonest.
I had to learn to pour out all of my heart before God. I had to own up to the irreverence in myself to be completely open with God.
Maybe you do too.
I want you to listen to this song but I hope you will let it stir you to have a more honest conversation with God. He knows what is in your heart better than you do. Why not pour it out to Him and see how He will meet you there?
From Protest to Praise by Downhere
Father, teach me to be more honest and forthcoming with You. I know You will be faithful to meet me there.
If you enjoy these musical devotional posts, let me know in the comments and feel free to suggest a song that speaks to you in a significant way.
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