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Read Psalm 13

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Go Deeper

Psalm 13 is another example of an honest psalm. David feels distant and abandoned by God–and he tells God that. In the opening two verses, David asks the question “how long?” a total of four times. He wants to know how long it will be before God will remember him, show His face, and rescue him again. David doesn’t hold back. At first glance, we might even think it’s too honest. Are we even allowed to talk to God like that? But such is the beauty of the psalms. They give us permission to voice our feelings to God. Who of us can’t relate to this psalm? At one point or another, we’ve all felt abandoned or forgotten by God. We’ve all wondered how long and we’ve all pleaded with God to show up for us again. David here gives us a template to follow for when we feel like this.

Even though he feels forgotten and abandoned by God, he still approaches God. Even though God feels distant, David still draws near. Even though he probably doubted that God was listening, he still prayed. David knows that he can’t trust his feelings. Feelings are real but they aren’t always reliable. He can acknowledge how he feels, but it doesn’t change the truth of who God is. So, at the end of the psalm, he reminds himself of the truth of God’s goodness, even if he isn’t currently feeling it.

When God isn’t answering our prayers how we want Him to (or as quickly as we want Him to), let’s remember this psalm and follow David’s response. Ask your questions, plead your case, beg God to show up, express your emotions, but then center your feelings in truth. 

Because, as Isaiah 49 says, when God’s people said that the Lord had forgotten them, God responded by saying this: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” No matter how you may feel at times, God cannot forget His children. He is good, He is faithful, and He is with you.


  1. Have you ever felt distant from or forgotten by God? If so, what did you do?
  2. Do you tend to ignore your feelings or over-indulge them? How should we respond to our feelings?
  3. What is a truth of God that you need to remind yourself of today, regardless of the way you feel about it?

A Quote

“The fact that we feel abandoned itself means that we really know God is there. To be abandoned you need somebody to be abandoned by. Because we are Christians and have been taught by God in the Scriptures, we know that God still loves us and will be faithful to us, regardless of our feelings.”

-James Montgomery Boice

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4 thoughts on “Psalm 13”

  1. I am so grateful for the BRP! What a treasure to read the Word together! We’ve seen David express his true feelings and bear his soul to God, feelings we are familiar with: praise, thankfulness, faith, hope & sorrow. He’s about to give up, feeling like his prayers are going nowhere, because he isn’t “feeling” God’s presence. David recounts the truth he knows, God is faithful in love, generous & a deliverer. Let’s cultivate a godly prayer life, one of honestly bringing our petitions and submitting to Him at all times. Let’s contemplate his greatness and worship him with joy. These thoughts of David and other writers of Psalms were turned into sacred poems/songs used in corporate worship. Colossians 3:16 says “Let the message of about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching & admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns & spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to Gods.” Our personal faith is to be lived in community to build one another up and direct our hearts to God. It’s no accident we’ve landed in Psalms, let’s lean in with confidence to his faithful love.

  2. Thank you also BRP. I know God wants us to express our feelings so that we spend time talking to Him and feel His closeness-for then we are trusting Him. We can rejoice as David did knowing that God is always with us.

  3. I really resonate with this Psalm. Too often I equate God answering my prayers the way I want/when I want as Him loving me. That means when He doesn’t answer my prayers exactly how/when I want Him to, my heart immediately questions His love. But I know that’s not right, so I have to pretty quickly remind myself of Truth in those moments. Thankful for God’s word that never changes even when my emotions/feelings do. Grateful I have a place to go to remind me of His love when I can’t feel it exactly how I want to. Grateful most of all that God is a loving father who gives us exactly what we need, rather than a wish granting Genie who just gives us what we want. I know I can trust that if God isn’t answering me the way I want, then it’s for my good & His glory.

    1. Amen! After reading the psalms, I started being REALLY honest and having conversations with God. Instead of going to my husband and questioning/complaining – I went straight to God with my petitions and honesty. I have always prayed and had a close relationship with God, but not like this. After I talked a good long while, I recalled his faithfulness over the past year and dwelt in His goodness. Two hours later, God gave me an answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for a few months now, letting me know I’m on the right path. Even if he didn’t, I still trust Him. Thank you BRP for leading me to the Psalms and all the people that work so hard to help us better understand scripture!

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