As we have observed, David kept God in his thoughts during his struggles. He did this although he felt that God had forgotten him. But he did more than think about the Lord. He sought the Lord by prayer (13:3-4). There are times to think and there are times to pray. Too often we do the one when we should be doing the other. Spiritual maturity brings the wisdom needed.
David prayed for God to hear him. He earnestly addressed his God. Though he was at a low point, he did not forsake his confidence in the living God. Recently, I wrote about assurance; there can be various degrees of assurance. A happy believer can hear the voice of the Spirit of adoption, crying out, “Abba, Father”. During times of wrestling with problems and sorrow, we should head straight to the throne of grace. Claim God’s word of promise and run there (Hebrews 4:16).
David used arguments in his prayer. God has told us his story in the Bible, so that we can know how he kindly interacts with his people. Remember how Abraham pleaded with God for Sodom (Genesis 18). He used arguments as he prayed for that wicked city. (By the way, do you pray for our cities?) He presented two related consequences if God did not help him as arguments for God to act for his benefit. The first argument was that without God’s help “I will sleep in death” (cf. Psalm 30:9). David told the Lord that he would be losing a worshiper on earth if he died. He grabbed hold of the concept of one of the purposes for a godly life (cf. 1 Peter 2:10), and turned it into an argument for God to act for him. The second argument was the gloating of God’s enemies, which were also David’s enemies. “My enemy will say.” As John Trapp put it, they were composing “comedies out of my tragedies.” Turn trouble from the adversary into a prayer request. “Save your child from this cruel monster.”
After God answered him, we read of the believer’s triumph of faith (13:5-6). Faith in God brings victory (cf. 1 John 5:4). Very often failure to trust the Lord gets us into trouble, such as what happened to Peter. He looked at the waves and fell, when he should have focused on Jesus (Matthew 14:29-31). Trust in God’s unfailing love. As someone wrote, “He cannot fail, for he is God. He cannot fail; he pledged his word.” Trust of this nature will be accompanied by joy in salvation. Here we find the desire of our inner persons satisfied. We go to God despondent, fearful and needy. We leave filled with joy.
There is the joy of victory (13:6). This is greater than any athlete’s thrill of victory. Now the storm is past and the sun shines. David’s heart was filled with song. His thinking changed. He thought about the goodness of God rather than his problems.
Some final points as we close this article:
- Too often we erect monuments on the graves of old problems. We are wiser to raise “Ebenezers” where the Lord has helped us (1 Samuel 7:12).
- The next time you suffer as David did, reach for the remedy that helped him. Use this psalm as a pattern for your approach to God. Make the Scriptures a valuable weapon in your hands against the enemy.
- If you are in a spiritual struggle you can’t seem to get out of, please go to other gospel partners for help. God has placed us in gatherings of believers that we might be able to help each other in our struggles. Get rid of pride! Every believer has weaknesses, in spite of our perfectionistic quest to keep them hidden, or so we wrongly imagine. Listen to others; let them hold you up in prayer.
Grace and peace, David