How? - Wow!

Bible Book: Psalms  13
Subject: Trust; Prayer; Faith
Introduction

We do not know exactly what was happening in David’s life as he penned this Psalm but we do know that a matter of supreme difficulty was troubling him. His heart was heavy and his life had grown quite complicated. Enemies surrounded him and hardships plagued him. But, David ends this Psalm on a high and lofty note. Somehow he had moved from despair to delight. Now, just how did he do that?

Everyone needs to know how to move from the “how” question to the “wow” results! To learn the lesson in achieving this magnificent alteration one must experience a spiritual change - an internal adjustment to life's circumstances. There are some situations we cannot change, but God has a way of changing us in the midst of our circumstances. To overcome depression and doubt can be one of the Christian's most challenging struggles. David did it and we can actually see how he managed it by studying carefully this Psalm.

Let’s look at David’s method and manner of gaining victory from the jaws of defeat. We see three important issues in this text.

I. How (Verses 1-2)

David begins this Psalm with a note of agony and we can see this clearly by noting that he asks the Lord repeatedly just how long he had to go on in his present state. Have you ever been in that kind of situation before? I expect we all have been overwhelmed by the tribulations and troubles of life at one time or another. We may have even prayed like David, “How long, O Lord, how long?” Someone in this service may be in the grip of a similar situation at this very moment. Such occasions can cause us to wonder if God sees our circumstances, cares about our hardships or hears our weeping prayers. It can seem at times as if the heavens have become brass and our prayers rise no higher than the ceiling.

Apparently David was going through a challenging time like this, but whatever the problem was he does not grant us the details. That may be a good thing, since it allows us to place our own troubles in the blank spot that David left open. We don’t know what his enemies were doing to him at that time or why he was in such despair. But, we can identify with him. All of us feel at times as though we are in over our heads, that an enemy is gaining a foothold against us and that we have been abandoned by the Lord. In this Psalm David was complaining to the Lord and sharing how it made him feel to be distressed.

A. The Complaint

The passage before us begins with a complaint, in fact seems that David was griping to the Lord about the divine delay in the bringing the help he needed to solve the issue. It is okay to do that, after all God already knows how you feel, so you might as well tell Him the truth!

In Discipleship Magazine, September/October, 1994 (issue 83), Randy Newman and Lin Johnson wrote an article entitled, "How To Gripe In The Spirit." I am not sure that is actually possible, but whether is was in the Spirit or out of the Spirit, David was certainly complaining as he began this Psalm.

Note how he felt and you will likely see you own life situation - in the past or in the present.

1. Forgotten

David felt as though God had forgotten him. He spoke of God turning His head away from the prayerful request for assistance. There is a great lesson here for all of us who know the Lord. When we think that God has forgotten us, it means that we who have forgotten what God promised to those who know Him and trust Him. In fact, look at David’s own words on the subject as mentioned in 55:22. In that passage David stated that believers can have full assurance that God never forgets His own. This verse was so impressive that Peter mentioned it 1 Peter 5:7. He wrote that the believer can confidently cast all his cares upon the Lord. Yet, in the Psalm under consideration today he expresses a feeling of abandonment from the Lord. Sometimes our life is in such turmoil that we lose sight of God's promises. Be assured that whether you have been saved for a week or for many decades, you can become discouraged and wonder if God cares.

Psalm 27 is a great Psalm and in it David states that we are to wait upon the Lord. He shares that there is nothing and no one to fear when you are abiding in Him. In the passage today we note that David is tired of waiting. Have you ever been like that with the Lord? I have. I suppose all of us have at one time or another. We can simply reach the place that we feel God is not being fair - He ought to just step in and solve our problem.

David is in despair and feels forgotten by heaven. Yes, even the most faithful servant can be discouraged. God’s best servants can questions concerning God’s love and faithfulness toward His own people, but it is not to our benefit to do so. We can do that, but we it doesn't speed up God's answer of build our faith to do so. On the other hand, if you are tired today of waiting on an answer from the Lord, note that you are in great company. Even King David dealt with these same sentiments.

2. Forsaken

The reason David was complaining was due to his sense that God had totally forsaken him. The “how long” of his question is joined with the word “forever” and that gives the impression that David felt utterly forsaken of God. If we live long enough and face enough sorrow, we just might feel at some point as David felt. Thankfully, however, his feelings and ours are not well founded. God cares for you, just as He did for David. He will never forsake you!

3. Forlorn

This left David feeling forlorn – or all alone in his struggle. He felt that God was hiding from him or that God had turned his back on him. It is important for us to see just how badly David felt and how it was effecting his spiritual life, and likely every part of his life. Hard times can prompt hard questions in the life of a believer. The sudden death of a very close person in your life can make you ask, “Where was God when my spouse, friend or child was dying?” I can tell you where He was – right where He was when His own Son was dying for you! When we are hurting down in the deepest part of our being, we can be blinded to God's love for us. We can forget all He has done and is doing in our behalf. We can forget all He has promised to do for us in the future. The point here is that David was hurting and seeking God an answer to his dilemma.

When we are deserted by a loved one or friend, when we lose a job, or we are confined to a sick bed, it is easy to question why these things are happening to us. That moves us to question why God does not come to relieve the pressure, the sorrow or the pain.

B. The Consequences

What are the consequences of David’s complaint to the Lord?

1. Self-sustaining

The results of David’s mistaken attitude was that he felt he had to do things for himself. He wrestled with his thoughts and he tried to figure out what he might do to solve the problem. He sought to find a reason for the situation, but he could not. When we turn to self to sustain us, we will always become bewildered.

2. Sad

His complaint furthered his deep sadness. Note that David’s situation seems to have declined as he progressed. Why? Because he was not handling the situation in the right way. Self and sadness are twins that are never far apart.

3. Subjugated

The final consequence was that David felt subjugated. He felt that he was living under the circumstances, and that was because he was not standing on the promises of God. He was weighted down with the problem(s). He sensed that the enemies of God were gloating over him and his defeat was never going to be reversed.

But, in this same Psalm there is a sudden change. David moves from his questions to a totally new attitude. Not the ….

II. Wow (Verses 5-6)

Interestingly, by the time we read the last two verses of this Psalm, David was rejoicing. He had turned from despair to delight. Note what happened to him that led him to go from How to Wow!

A. He Remembered

In the last verse of Psalm 13 we read that David remembered. He recalled that the Lord had answered him in the past. What a great thing it is to put the previous blessings of God in the face of the devil. We are to remember all that God has done for us in previous situations and when we do so it leads us to even greater faith. We can rejoice in the coming victory even when we can’t yet see it!

B. He Rejoiced

David ended the Psalm on a note of rejoicing. Strange that one can go from griping to gladness so quickly. Of course, we don’t know how much time David spent between the first verses and the last verses of this Psalm. It could have been months, weeks, days, hours or just minutes. The point is, he didn't simply sit there in his depression. He found a way out of it and will see what led to his victory in a moment.

C. He Rededicated

David rededicated His life to the Lord in this Psalm. Notice the "I will" in his words. He made up his mind to praise God no matter what he was facing and that caused him to renew his trust and his testimony in the Lord. He renewed his sermon and his song. He went from singing the blues to shouting the blessings. All we can say is, Wow! What a dramatic change.

The question remains, how does one move from deep sadness to delightful success? How do you get from the How to the Wow? That is the ultimate question. The answer is found in verses 3 and 4.

III. Bow  (Verses 5-6)

The secret for David was found in his prayer life. He stopped whining and started worshipping. He stopped complaining and started confessing. He stopped doubting and starting believing. He changed his prayer life and that changed his personal life. Don’t’ miss this or you will miss the entire point of this Psalm and this sermon. Prayer is not just something we do, it is Someone with whom we relate, talk and share! Prayer is talking to God and it is hearing from God. Prayer is doing business with heaven so we can continue to do His business on earth. You can’t get from the How to the Wow without it!

i. Prayer in the life of Elijah stopped up the heavens for over three years, and his faithful prayer brought the rain again.

ii. Prayed stopped the mouth of lions for Daniel, and opened the mouths of bears for Elijah.

iii. Prayer delivered Peter from prison and prayer gave our Lord the courage in Gethsemane to face the cross at Calvary.

We have not because we ask not, and even when most of us do ask we ask amiss. That is, we ask selfishly or foolishly. If we wish to move from the How of despair, to the Wow of delight, we must know how to Bow in dependence.

A young couple reportedly bought a parrot, but the bird kept saying, “I want a kiss, I want a kiss.” The couple spoke to the preacher and asked what they could do. The preacher said, “I have a bird and all he says is, ‘Let us pray, Let us pray.’ We will just put my bird in with your bird and let him teach her some manners.” So, they got the two birds together and the bird belonging to the young couple said, “I want a kiss, I want a kiss.” The preacher’s bird replied, “My prayers have been answered.” Well, thank God, He does answer prayer!

God answers prayer – He has and He will! David learned that to be true when he prayed and we can and must do likewise.

A. Bow to the Lord

David renewed his faith in the Lordship of the Lord. In verse one he calls Him "Lord" but does not recognize Him as such. In verse 3 the tone changes. He not only calls Him "Lord," he sees Him as Lord!

To know that He is Lord, is to believe that He hears and answers our prayers. In a revival meeting, the evangelist asked, is there anyone here who wants me to pray for your temptations and sins. One man spoke up and asked the preacher to pray for him because he just couldn’t stop throwing money around like paper. The preacher said, “Brother, I will pray for, right after we take up the offering!” That was a wise preacher.

Someone said, “Prayer changes things.” That is not true! We pray and God changes things – including changing us! It is not the prayer that changes the situation, it is the God who answers prayer that changes things! Most importantly, when we pray, God changes US! No doubt, when David learned to pray his way from How to Wow, he grew in his walk with God.

B. Bow to "my" God

In this Psalm David calls the Lord, “My” God. He is not just a Lord, He is the Lord. But, He is not just the Lord, He is MY Lord. That personal experience is necessary for us to realize that God is able to move when everything nailed down seems to be coming lose.

Look at David’s greatest Psalm, Psalm 23. The Lord is “MY” Shepherd. There it is! He is my Shepherd. When we know that we belong to Him and He belongs to us, we have a renewed faith, a faith to move mountains, or if necessary a faith and determination to climb them!

Often we are praying for God to change others, when He first wants to change us. A secretary incorrectly typed a phrase in the bulletin. It was supposed to read, “Change your life through prayer.” She mistakenly typed, “Change your wife through prayer.” A lot of people are trying to change others through prayer, when God is seeking to change our own lives through prayer.

C. Bow to your only Hope

David acknowledged that His hope was not in himself but in God. He saw that his thoughts and plans were to no avail. There was One who loved Him and who was never really going to forsake Him. David came to understand that God was not going to let Him down and that God was going to see Him through.

David had faced wild beasts when keeping the sheep as a lad and knew that God had been with him in the past. David had faced the giant Goliath when Israel’s greatest soldiers trembled in fear. Now, David had defeated the greatest enemy of all – his own heart. The greatest enemy I face is not some other person, and not even the devil himself, my greatest enemy is my own heart. David had to overcome David and through prayer he did just that! He renewed his trust in God and saw Him as his only hope – yes, a living hope – as Peter tells us in 1 Peter, chapter 1.

Conclusion

The hymn writer penned,

“God will take care of you,

He cannot fail,

He will prevail.”

Do you believe it? You must, if you are to experience victory. Whatever you face and whenever you face it, always remember that God will meet you in prayer. Jesus opened the door for us to enter into the Throne Room of God with boldness. He paid for that open door with His own blood. Having given you His own Son to die for your sins, do you think God will withhold any good thing from you (see Romans 8)?

Call upon Him today! An enemy may be stronger than you, but no enemy is as mighty as “my” God. A problem may be bigger than I, but no problem is bigger than “my” God. Your sins may seem like a mountain, but “my” God went up on the greatest mountain of all to pay for our sins. He is “my” God and He can be yours, if you will trust Him now. I promise you this, if you come to Him, it will be the greatest “Wow” moment of your life. “Whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved.” Bow to Him now, and go from How to Wow!