The following sermon was prepared by Cobus Bezuidenhout. Click here: Psalm 13, to download or stream the audio sermon. Alternatively, you can read the notes below, or follow along as you watch or listen.

SERMON TITLE: FROM WEEPING TO WORSHIP

Psalm 13 21-3-2012

[OPENING PRAYER]

. . . 

Spurgeon in his classic work, A Treasury of David, has written, 

“Whenever you look into David’s Psalms, you will somewhere or other see yourself. You never get into a corner, but you find David in that corner. I think that I was never so low that I could not find that David was lower; and I never climbed so high that I could not find that David was up above me.” 

These insightful words are relevant to Psalm 13 because this psalm contains both the heights of ecstasy and the depths of despair. Both extremes were David’s experience. In this individual lament psalm, David’s soul is dramatically transformed from perplexity to praise, FROM WEEPING TO WORSHIP.

[SCRIPTURE READING]

Read with me these insightful words from Psalm 13:

PSALM 13

Prayer for Help in Trouble.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?

How long will You hide Your face from me?

2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,

Having sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;

Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”

And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;

My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

6 I will sing to the Lord,

Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

May God bless the reading of His Word.

[INTRODUCTION]

I remember when I was a young kid in primary school, we always used to sing a song on Philippians 4:4 in Sunday school. 

The Apostle Paul wrote the following in Philippians 4:4-7:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Beautiful and wise words, unfortunately, it is not always so easy to live by. 

I wonder, how often do you find yourself in situations where you are so overwhelmed with pain, brokenness or sorrow. 

How do you respond to difficult situations? 

How do you respond to long periods of suffering?

[FCF] 

Sadly, most people distance themselves from God when they are faced with times of trouble and perplexity.

How often do you find that the light at the end of the tunnel turned out only to be another train, speeding towards you at full speed?

How often do you distance yourself from God because you simply cannot hang on any longer. You might feel that you have prayed and prayed, and simply don’t know what else to pray?

How often do you find yourself thinking: 

Why am I constantly being bombarded with trials? 

Why is God not listening to my prayers?

Why is God so far from me?

In John 16:33 Jesus says that we will have times of trouble. So, if this resonates with you, if you are facing a trial and seem to be stuck in a rut then you need to pay close attention to what we will be learning from Psalm 13 this morning.

[PROPOSITION]

There is no doubt that we all will be facing more times of trouble in future, therefore we must look at how we can remain steadfast and rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. 

How to move from sorrow to singing, how to move FROM WEEPING TO WORSHIP.

[TRANSITION]

In Psalm 13 David gives us three beautiful and very helpful actions to help us move from weeping to worship.

Let’s look at the first two verses of Psalm 13 again:

1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?

How long will You hide Your face from me?

2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,

Having sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

What is David doing here? Doesn’t this seem a bit arrogant? 

I would answer: NO! David is being honest, he is not pretending, he is not preparing and polishing a prayer before he comes to God. He simply pours out his heart before God and shares exactly what it is that is bothering him. 

This brings us to the first action: 

1. SHARE YOUR SORROWS WITH GOD

Notice that David has been in a difficult situation for quite some time now. Four times he asks the question: HOW LONG? 

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? A more literal translation of the original language would read as: How long, O Lord will You CONTINUE to forget me, or How long , O Lord will You go on forgetting me?

How long will You hide your face from me? In other words, what David is saying is; how long will You withhold Your favor from me?

You see, David has been experiencing difficulty for a long time now, and he must have prayed to the Lord numerous times about this issue already. And the beautiful thing we see here is that David does not give up reaching out to God. 

This immediately raises the question: How persistent are you in prayer when you are facing difficult times? Or do you like many people try the ‘silent treatment’ on God. Do you refuse to communicate with God? Do you forsake reading your Bible?

The problem with this response is that it almost always results in a downward spiral. Have you ever been in a situation where whatever it was that troubled you just kept on turning around and around in your head like a tumble drier that just keeps on going and going until the whole room is so hot inside and the walls covered with moisture? 

Sometimes, or actually too often we too keep on turning and turning problems we are facing around and around in our heads. It is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about when you go to bed. I mean, it is as if you just cannot get rid of these thoughts. This is exactly what David is referring to in verse two. He says: How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? Here the NIV translates this verse better, it says:

 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? 

Does this sound familiar? 

David continues by asking: How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

You might not be in the situation David finds himself. You might not be on the run, fleeing your enemy who seeks to take your life. 

But whatever it is that you are facing now, whether it is a chronic disease, financial trouble, maybe you are grieving the death of a loved one, or maybe you lost your job, or maybe it is a relationship with someone that has been sour for some time now, that just doesn’t seem as if it is reconcilable. No matter what is causing your suffering, come and SHARE YOUR SORROWS WITH GOD. Don’t play the ‘silent treatment’ game with God. If you are doing that then you are missing the point and purpose of trials in your life. 

James gives a good explanation to why we need trials in our lives. In James 1:2-4 he says:

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

In other words, the purpose of the trials and tribulations we face in this life is to make us holy. Our sanctification, or holiness should be the result of suffering.

The author of Hebrews says in Hebrew 12:14:

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

This changes the way we view times of trouble doesn’t it? 

So, how should we respond to the trials, suffering and sorrows in our lives?

First of all, see it for what it truly is. It’s purpose is to aid us in our sanctification process.

And secondly, we are not prohibited anywhere in Scripture to not lament. In fact there is a whole book in the Old Testament dedicated to the lamentations of Jerimiah. It is not wrong to come before the Lord in humility to lament over the sorrows in your life. 

Mark Vroegop made the following statement: he says that: “Laments turn toward God when sorrow tempts you to run from him.”

You see, if you are a born-again believer then you have the right to go to your Father and tell Him what is troubling you. Be honest with Him, share your sorrows with Him. 

Get it off your chest.

[TRANSITION]

So, we have now moved from weeping to taking the first action namely; sharing your sorrow. The next action on our way to worship is to BRING YOUR SUPPLICATIONS TO GOD.

[MAIN POINT II]

2. BRING YOUR SUPPLICATIONS TO GOD.

Let’s look at verses 3 – 4 again.

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;

Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”

And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.

David believes that God has hidden his face from him; therefore he asks, “Consider me or, Look on me” (v. 3). The “look” of God is an indication of his gracious attitude. Divine abandonment and alienation made the psalmist experience despair, but God’s “look,” expressive of favor, renews life. David also asks for God to “answer” him. The answer is a positive message of God’s favor by which the Lord frees his servant from the causes of the troubles he is faced with. 

Enlighten my eyes does not have anything to do with mental enlightenment. It has to do with physical renewal. Remember when Johnathan was weary and he ate some honey and the text says his eyes brightened. It is the same picture here. In other words, David is asking: ‘renew me physically so that I don’t sleep in death’.  

David gives three reasons why God needed to put some sunshine back into David’s life: 

(Reason #1) – Because if God doesn’t, he will die . 13:3d 

Physically, emotionally and spiritually David was dying. He needed God’s help and he needed it now. He was a living corpse. His life was zapped. 

(Reason #2) – Because if God doesn’t, his enemies will dominate . 13:4a 

David did not want his enemies to be able to testify how they had overcome him. God needed to come to David’s rescue so his enemies would be silenced.

Reason #3) – Because if God doesn’t, his adversaries will rejoice . 13:4b 

David was God’s man. Those against David would like nothing more than to be able to rejoice over the fact that God’s man had been toppled. This is exactly why David had cried out to God.

I am so thankful that David talked about his painful experiences. Aren’t you glad he didn’t cover up his struggles or hide his feelings? David didn’t mind being thought of as weak, failing, or troubled; he simply cried out to the Lord all the more. To rise above the downward pull of his emotions, all he had to do was to look up and talk to the Lord—the One he thought had abandoned him!

Now, you might ask: 

How do I pray when I find myself in one of these situations when I feel abandoned by God?

What should I pray when I feel like there is no hope?

And the answer really is very simply; you take the Word of God, you remind yourself of the promises found in the Bible and you pray the Word of God. 

This is why it is so important to spend much time in God’s Word, to memorize Scripture and not to distance yourself from God and His Word, especially when you are facing times of trouble. 

You see, when you are facing difficulties and you memorized texts like Deuteronomy 31:6 which says: 

6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Or what about Deuteronomy 31:8?

8 “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Memorizing and praying Scripture is a sure way to get you from weeping to worship in no time. But you have to take the time to study God’s Word, memorize Scripture in order to be able to effectively use God’s Word in prayer when facing trials and tribulations. 

David did not just randomly picked words to pray to God. No, in his supplication he held to the promises of God. 

[TRANSITION]

And if you, like David could remind yourself, and hold on to the promises of God, then you too will find yourself worshiping God, even in the midst of your troubled times.

We have seen that to get from weeping to worship, the actions needed are:

  1. SHARE YOUR SORROWS WITH GOD.
  2. BRING YOUR SUPPLICATIONS TO GOD.

And lastly: . . .

3. BOW DOWN IN WORSHIP BEFORE GOD.

Look with me at the last two verses again:

5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;

My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

6 I will sing to the Lord,

Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Notice that regardless of David’s situation his trust in the unfailing love of God remained steady. He might have wondered why God is taking so long to respond to his cries, or why God seem to be so far away, but he still trusted in the lovingkindness of God.  

David knew that the only one he could trust to get him out of trouble and depression was God. Notice he trusted in the “loving-kindness” or “mercy” of God. David reminded himself about the mercy of God and how God delights in helping the helpless.

Notice that David does not stop here, he continues to stir up his spirit within him. Although his enemies longed to rejoice in his defeat, David turns his attention away from his circumstances and focuses his attention on the one he knows he can trust. And soon he goes from feeling rejected to rejoicing in God’s salvation, and the certainty of God’s divine deliverance from the threats of his enemies. 

Unlike in the beginning of this Psalm David now strongly belief that his prayers had been heard. Do you see how he has moved from weeping to worshiping? David is now bowed down before God worshiping Him because he has reminded himself that God had always been good to him. And because of who God is, because God is unchangeable, why would He stop being good? It is amazing to see how David, still surrounded by the evil he is faced with, still in the midst of the trouble and sorrows, now seem to be the polar opposite of what he was in the beginning of this Psalm. And what caused this drastic change in his behaviour? Simply this: he shifted his focus from that which is beneath to that which is above. David took action by looking at his situation, he shared his sorrows with God, he brought his supplications to God, and by drawing nearer to God he ended up being so consumed by the lovingkindness of God that despite his sorrows he was able to bow before God in worship. Isn’t this great? Just by shifting your focus from your circumstances to God causes one to move from the depths of sorrow, to be elevated to the heights of singing. From weeping to worship. 

[CONCLUSION]

Let’s conclude;

How should we respond to the trials in our lives?

How can a believer remain steadfast through difficult times? 

How can you rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS?

When you are faced with times of trouble, when you feel abandoned, when you feel like you have been left alone in the dark for way too long for comfort, when you feel discouraged. 

Turn to God, turn to God in humility, and honestly share with Him the sorrows that weighs down on your heart. Reach out to Him in prayer, tell Him about your fears, bring your supplications to God. And then bow in worship before God.

Discouraged souls often internalize their struggles rather than casting their burdens on the Lord. In other words, when we face times of trouble, we tend to distance ourselves from God. And as many of us have experienced; this only leads to self-destruction and despair. As believers we should call out to our Heavenly Father. Only He can deliver us out of our troubles. In the storms of life, God must be the believer’s first recourse, never a last resort. Then after praying, wait patiently for God to act on your situation. The Lord’s timing is always perfect, never too late, never too early. Remember; true faith gives the Lord time to work. And as you wait patiently upon God, do so by praising Him, exulting in His grace, magnifying His goodness, worshiping and singing to the Lord, who is worthy to be praised. Because God’s love is unfailing, and the praise of believers for Him who sustains them . . . should also be unfailing.

. . .