Day 155: Psalms 8-14; Lots of Lamenting

Psalm 13: How Long, O Lord? Photo Credit:

Psalm 13: How Long, O Lord?
Photo Credit:

Today we come across one of my favorite Psalms.  Oddly enough, it isn’t one of praise or thanksgiving.  Neither is it one of theologically Psalm teaching.  The Psalm that I really like and connect with is Psalm 13, a dark prayer of lament.  Before I took the time to really look into this Psalm, and before I really started studying the Bible, I wold have looked at this as just another sad song written by David.  However, when I was at what was probably the lowest point of my life I happened to come across this Psalm, in much the same manner that we encounter it today.  I was depressed and lost with no understanding of what I was to do next.  I felt like God had closed every door in my life and had then abandoned me in the now sealed room.  It was then  that I turned to Scripture (because most of us only turn to Scripture when we have no where else to turn, long after we should have turned there of course) in hopes of some answers, and it was then that I came across Psalm 13.

The words that David writes here are so deeply personal and anguished, as if he too had fallen into a pit of despair.  But while the words of the first part of Psalm 13 resonated with me, it was the last few lines that really caught my attention:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
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?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because He has dealt bountifully with me.

David doesn’t seem to see an end in sight.  He feels lost and forgotten.  For David, the enemy has basically won.  Yet in the midst of his sorrow, David speaks the words “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love…”  Some versions place the trust in the future tense, “WILL trust in Your steadfast love…”  I can just imagine David writing this Psalm and praying it before the Lord.  I wonder how many times it took him to say the first 2 sections before he was able to say the last one.  When the chips are down and the world seems to be caving in around us, how quick are we to say “but I will trust in Your steadfast love my God…”  For me, I know it isn’t quick… its pretty much the last thing I want to say.  Yet David, who experienced all manner of calamity in life was able to bring himself to say it with confidence.  Perhaps this is a reminder that we too need to look beyond the problem and see God’s greater hand at work…

PSALM 8 is a great Psalm of praise and thanksgiving.  David is magnifying the name of the Lord for all of the works of His hands.  In this David also shows his thankfulness to God for the special place that humanity is given in creation.

PSALM 9 is a Davidic Psalm with an interesting mixture of thanksgiving and lament.  In it we also find an didactic motif as well as some lines that are imprecatory in nature.  In it we almost find a recipe for prayer in that we see an opening thanksgiving which is followed by the reasons for which we give thanks to God as well as God’s actions.  There is also a bit of praising after this.  We then read a lament for things not right and a call for justice from God by David.

PSALM 10 is, for all intents and purposes, a continuation of Psalm 9.  It continues in the lament that we read in Psalm 9 and takes on the same imprecatory tone as well.  David’s writing here also has the same didactic features that were present in Psalm 9.

PSALM 11 is another Psalm of Lament written by David.  This Psalm, however, takes on a very specific tone of confession and trust in the Lord which also gives it a similar didactic tone as Psalms 9  & 10.  David says that he will take refuge in the Lord and then goes on to tell why he does that.

PSALM 12 is a similar Psalm to that of Psalm 11 in the lamenting and didactic themes that it picks up, though the subject of the Psalm is quite a bit different.

Psalm 13: How Long, O Lord? Photo Credit:

Psalm 13: How Long, O Lord?
Photo Credit:

PSALM 13 is THE Psalm of Lament.  It really is the model for how to appropriately offer lament to God.  We see it divided up very easily: a complaint (verses 1-2), a call to God for help (verses 3-4), and a confession of trust in God’s love (verses 5-6).

PSALM 14 is another Psalm of lament by David that also has a didactic quality to it.  Interestingly, this Psalm is basically the same as Psalm 53 with the exception of just a few lines.

6 Responses to “Day 155: Psalms 8-14; Lots of Lamenting”

  1. […] best are the Psalms of lament and the Psalms of praise.  We talked about the Psalms of lament on June 4 when we talked through Psalm 13 and the model for lament that it so clearly shows.  Today we […]

  2. […] Day 155: Psalms 8-14; Lots of Lamenting ( […]

  3. […] Day 155: Psalms 8-14; Lots of Lamenting ( […]

  4. […] like the Lament Psalms that we encountered a couple weeks ago, there isn’t a single prophet in the Bible that ever […]

  5. […] the request for God to bring about restoration.  In many ways, this book reminds me of a great Psalm of Lament, the cry of one who feels forsaken by God in the midst of tragedy and sorrow.  Jeremiah’s […]

  6. […] Psalm 8 – Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! […]

Leave a Reply