Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
1How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
The green comments on Psalm 13 are from The Message of the Psalms, by Walter Brueggmann:
(Walter Brueggemann is an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian, widely considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades.)
This is a psalm of personal lament. It begins with five rhetorical questions (in Hebrew, four) which describe a situation of disorientation and fix the blame firmly on Yahweh. The crisis in relationship with Yahweh is at the bottom of the external problem of troubles in the world. The speech is a barrage of someone in a sore condition.
3Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”; my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
Verses 3 and 4 provide a petition and a motivation. The petition: “consider, answer, give light.” The psalmist is clear that there is no way out of the trouble unless Yahweh can act. The motivations communicate to Yahweh what is at stake: or “I will sleep the sleep of death . . . and my enemy will say . . . , and my foes will rejoice.” The psalmist makes his problem into Yahweh’s problem, providing data out of which Yahweh can make a new act.
5But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
We do not know how long the psalmist waited, but now things are changed. He is on his way to a new orientation: “I have trusted . . . my heart shall rejoice . . . I will sing. . .” These three personal references are matched by three references to Yahweh: “your steadfast love . . . your salvation . . . the Lord.” The psalmist is clear about the source of help, and breaks loose in doxology. The sense of disorientation is overcome, released to a new, grateful, trustful communion. The accused Yahweh has now become the praised Yahweh.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (New International Version)
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
HERE is “How Can I Keep from Singing?” — the Oakwood University Aeolians. The mission of Oakwood University (Huntsville, AL), a historically black, Seventh-day Adventist institution, is to transform students through biblically-based education for service to God and humanity.
Denunciation of Godlessness
1Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
“God is dead.”
“God is dead” — Nietzsche.
“Nietzsche is dead.” — God.
“God is dead. Nietzsche is dead. And I’m not feeling so good myself.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.
2The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.
3They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.
Romans 3:10-18 (New International Version)
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.
The poison of vipers is on their lips.
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
4Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord?
5There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the company of the righteous.
6You would confound the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
7O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.