When Jean and I were planning our wedding we agreed to have a “countdown” to our much-anticipated celebration. Since there are 150 Psalms, we decided to read a Psalm a day, beginning 150 days before our wedding. Starting with Psalm 150, we went backwards. Each successive day we read the preceding psalm until we got to Psalm 1 on December 8, 1990, the day of our wedding. That not only helped the days go by more quickly, it helped to keep us focused on the Lord who brought us together, and upon whom we wanted to build our marriage.

To date, we’ve read through the Psalms 71 times. This morning we both read Psalm 13. I was struck with how appropriate it is for starting off this New Year. In the opening two verses David, who wrote this psalm, repeats the question, “How long?” four times. Have you ever asked God that question? Have you ever wondered why he hasn’t answer your prayers and cries for help? Why does he seem to take so long to answer? Why does he seem to be so far away in your time of need? Does God even care about you or your situation? 

In verses 3 and 4 he asks the Lord to look his way and to shed some light on his difficult circumstances. He’s essentially asking God to give him some hope that things will turn out all right, and that he will not be overcome by his enemies and all of his problems.

The last two verses show us how David turned to the Lord to bring hope to his seemingly hopeless situation. They also give us guidance for how we can face a new year amidst all the discouragements and depressing things that might cause us to despair.

Verse 5 begins this way, “But I will trust in your unfailing love.” David put his hope and trust in the Lord and His love for him—God’s unfailing, steadfast, lovingkindness. Unless we get our eyes off of our problems and difficulties, and until we stop complaining about God’s timing and seeming lack of concern for us, we will never see how God really does care. He is there, He is concerned for us. His timing is always perfect. But we must trust him. As it says in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” That’s a great promise for us in this coming year.

Next, he says, “My heart rejoices in your salvation.” As David began to fix his eyes on the Lord and the salvation he brings, his gloom and depression was replaced with joy. God put music back in his heart. It says in verse 6, “I will sing the Lord’s praise.” As we focus on the Lord and look to Him who alone is worthy of our praise and worship, He will put a new song into our heart, too. We will be given the sure hope that God is working in our lives. He has heard our prayers.

Psalm 13 ends with this affirmation, “…for the Lord has been good to me.” (“He has dealt bountifully with me,” as another version translates it). David knew, as Nahum the prophet did, that “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him, (Nahum 1:7).” He knows and cares about you, too! Are you trusting him for this coming year?And maybe consider reading “a Psalm a day” yourself. They’re a great way to get to know God better this year! 

Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches. 

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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