How are you? Last week, we started delving into Psalms 13. If you haven’t read the ponderings about Psalms 13:1, you may want to do so now. I hope you are enjoying it. The psalm starts out as a sad one. As I mentioned in the last blog post though, we aren’t sure whether this psalm is based on a particular situation in David’s life or something written to glorify God and to help others. Regardless of when or why it was written, I do believe the psalm, like the entire Bible, glorifies God and helps others.
What do You do When You Feel Sad and Alone for Extended Periods of Time?:
Let’s set the stage or feeling for Psalms 13:2 in our own minds. We have all had times of sadness. We may have even had sadness for extended periods of time. You may have felt this as well. Think back a little. What do you do when you are feeling sad and alone? What do you do when you feel like you are the only one going through a difficult time? What do you do when you feel like nobody cares or nobody will help you? What do you do when you feel like God is distant and not answering your prayers?
Have you ever had a time when you felt nobody, not even God was going to help you get out of a difficult and sorrowful situation? Have you ever sort of told yourself that you better start figuring it out, because nobody was going to help you?
What is your first reaction when you are in a bind? Do you start thinking about all the “what ifs” or “should I” options? You know how it goes. “What if I do this? What if that happens? Maybe I should do this. No. Maybe I should do that. I don’t know what to do, but I better figure it out soon.” Sound familiar? Psalms 13:2 is depicting these sorts of feelings and thoughts.
What is David Saying in Psalms 13:2?
So, what is David really saying in Psalms 13:2? It may be easier to think about if we think about David actually going through these thoughts and feelings at the time. What ever the situation may be, the first question is, “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?” (KJV)
That is probably not how we would say it today. So, let’s take it slow and figure out what David is saying. If he is talking about having “sorrow in my heart daily”, then we can imagine that it is something that he has been feeling or going through for a while.
What about the first part of this question, when David says, “How long shall I take counsel in my soul…”? What does that mean? Let’s think about what we are doing when we seek counseling or advice from someone. We are trying to find answers, get ideas, and get help in our situation. If you “take counsel” in your own “soul” that is trying to find answers, get ideas, and get help within ourselves. We are trying to figure out our own problems.
If this psalm is based on a real life situation David was going through, we see in the second question of the verse the type of situation struggled through that led to writing this psalm. It was one involving an enemy. This second question in Psalms 13:2 (KJV) reads, “How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”
We don’t know which particular enemy David was talking about or if there was one particular enemy. God may have put these words in David’s heart because he had many enemies and wanted to help him and others through difficult situations.
We do know that David had many enemies. He fought many wars. He had surrounding nations that were enemies. He had friends and even family members turn into enemies. Sometimes David was even his own worst enemy.
It sounds to me that in David’s mind, at least, the “bad guy” is getting all the breaks and is being treated as the “good guy” and he who is the “good guy” isn’t getting any of the breaks and is being treated as the “bad guy”. Did you follow that?
Sometimes in life, the ones who try to do the right things get looked down upon. Maybe they get beat out by people who cheat or get accused of a wrong that someone else has done. The person in the wrong, the winner who cheated or the one who “got away with something” sometimes gets praised for their cunning successes even if they were wrong and unfair.
So, what is our biblical take away for Psalms 13:2? What lessons can we learn and hope can we find in these words? What should we think about and pray about based on Psalms 13:2?
One of the first questions I find to ask about Psalms 13:2 is, “Is it really such a good idea to try to figure out our own solutions?” The world might praise those who are independent, go-getters who solve their own problems. However, we are not really called to do that. We are called to rely on God. I think David is trying to do that in this verse, but shows how easy it is to teeter back and forth when it feels like God is so far away and not listening. After all, David is asking God how long will he be left alone to his own thoughts? It sounds like he doesn’t want to figure it out for himself, but wants God’s help in this situation. He is just not getting any answers. Just in case we had any doubt about who we should rely on, Proverbs 3:5 (KJV) says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Another thing I find interesting about Psalms 13 is that between verses one and two, David asks God “how long” four times. I can relate and feel for David. I can imagine how devastated, sad, and distraught David was feeling. Maybe he was on the brink of depression and feeling overwhelmed, maybe even helpless. Yet, he still cried out to God. He hasn’t given up on God yet.
We are called to not give up on God as well. There are many, many verses in the Bible that talks about God’s timing. God’s timing is often not the same as our timing and may not come as quickly as we would like.
There is hope when we are going through difficult situations, even if we are going through them for extended periods of time. Galatians 6:9 tells us not to get tired of doing the right thing, because we will end up reaping what we sow in the long run if we don’t stop. Romans 12:12 tells us to rejoice in our hoping, to be patient, and to continue to pray.
So, let’s keep praying.
Thank you for your Word, O LORD. Help us to learn from it and find hope in it. Help us to continue to seek you, cry out for you, and rely on you, even when it feels like you aren’t listening. Help us to know that you are listening, that you have our best interest at heart, and that we will see the goodness and reap the reward if we keep looking to you. Help us to know you are with us as long as we look to you. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
If you enjoyed this post, please stay tuned for the rest of the series on Psalms 13. Also, you might like to read these similar posts:
*Perseverance: It Will Happen in God's Timing
*We are Called to be Careful for Nothing?
*Biblical Encouragement for the Depressed and Discouraged
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“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Philippians 4:13 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s verse is one that many people have heard or read and know quite well. With that being said, one would think that the message in Philippians 4:13 would seem pretty straightforward. However, in my research, that doesn’t seem to be the case. There are differing views as to what the verse really means.
I guess that some people use Philippians 4:13 as encouragement to make large leaps and bounds and to claim success in whatever they have in mind to do. However, others look at Philippians 4:13 as encouragement that God will give us strength to get through the hardships and rough times in life. How do you look at the words in Philippians 4:13?
St. Paul was writing this letter to the Philippians from jail. So, his circumstances were probably those of hardship, discomfort, loneliness, and even misery. Even though he was going through difficulty, he was telling the Philippians that he could do all things because Jesus was there for him and would give him strength. St. Paul knew he could endure anything with the strength that Jesus would give him. So, does that mean we have to be in dire straights in order for these words to apply?
I think Philippians 4:13, like most of God’s Word, is less about the circumstance and more about our heart and frame of mind. I think the most important thing to remember is that we need Jesus. Too many times, we want to take more credit than we deserve. We like to claim we are “self-made”. However, this doesn’t give the credit to God, where it is due. We can’t do things without God’s help. We wouldn’t even be alive without God. So, no, I don’t think we need to be in dire straights or in some sort of hardship to consider Philippians 4:13 as words of encouragement.
Although, I don’t think that we need to be going through hardship to find value and comfort in Philippians 4:13, I also don’t feel that we can use Philippians 4:13 as a free for all and to expect God to give us anything we want. I think our heart and mind, still has to be with God. What we want still has to align with God’s will. I believe we still have to come to God with a humble heart instead of feeling entitled. Like I said, I believe that the importance lies in our heart, mind, and attitude instead of in our circumstances.
Philippians 4:13 also implies that whatever we want or need, might not be easy to get. We wouldn’t need to be strengthened, if it wasn’t going to be difficult at times. This might not mean hardships, like sickness or imprisonment. It might mean that we are called to step outside of our comfort zone to do something in order to do what God has called us to do. It might mean that we need to work hard and have patience, even if we feel that we would rather relax and give up. It may also mean that we have to give beyond what we think our means might be financially, physically, emotionally, or even spiritually.
The comfort comes in knowing that whatever we are called to do, go through, or endure, God will strengthen us. He is with us. Jesus has been through similar. He was our ultimate role model. The Holy Spirit will remind us of God’s Word and how we will be strengthened. We just need to believe and listen to the Holy Spirit. We need to heed God’s Word. We need to rely on God and trust that He will strengthen us and help us through.
Even though it may seem like we are called to endure, go through, and give more than we can handle, we can take comfort in the words in Philippians 4:13. Christ will strengthen us and help us endure what we are called to do.
This is so encouraging! I praise God that He loves us and gives us this comfort! Now, if we can just remember it when we need strength. If only we can remember to rely on Him instead of giving up or trying our own solutions.
Oh Lord, thank you for your love and comfort. Thank you for assuring us that you will help us through as long as we rely on you. Thank you for letting us know that things might be difficult, but if you call us to do it and we rely on you, that you will be there to strengthen us. Help us to rely on you. Help us not to use our own strength and will, but yours instead. Help us to trust in you instead of finding our own solutions or giving up. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Philippians 4:13 (KJV):
*What does Philippians 4:13 mean to me?
*What is God telling me through Philippians 4:13?
*Can I just claim any success no matter what with the words in Philippians
*How can I better heed the words in Philippians 4:13?
If you enjoyed the message in this week's post, you may find this other post interesting as well.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.