Sermons

God Has Not Forgotten You

Sun, Aug 07, 2022
Teacher: Tom Blackford
Passage: Psalm 13:1-6
Duration:27 mins 5 secs

Message text

God Has Not Forgotten You
Psalm 13:1-6

INTRO: There was a time when I was young that patiently waiting was part of life. When you are raising crops or animals you learn that everything comes in its own time. I also learned, sometimes the hard way, that trying to rush a task or someone else’s response could lead to less than ideal results or at least unproductive frustration.
Things have changed over the years for me though. I now do a lot of shopping online and have become used to two-day shipping or in some instances same-day shipping. Now I, and I’m not alone, expect fast service from some companies and find it disappointing when the delivery date is further away. We also get irritated when a response to an inquiry takes too long to arrive. Email is a good example and so are text messages. Why haven’t they answered? Where is that email? Have you ever felt that? Felt irritated when something seems to be taking forever?

We just don't like waiting anymore, do we? And as Christians, sometimes we get frustrated when God doesn't answer our prayers according to our timeline. We pray, and then we seem to have this mental, built-in timeline saying we need the answer now. We think God has forgotten us when we go to Him with our sincere requests, we have sincere prayers and we don't hear anything. It seems to us we receive no answer, no response whatsoever, at least not right away. What do we do? If we could only see a light at the end of the tunnel—a tangible stopping point—it would make our situation much more bearable.

What does scripture tell us about this? The best answer I've ever found is in a very short Psalm, Psalm 13, and it has only six verses. You might think this means it's going to be a very short sermon. You might be wrong. Psalm 13 is a marvelous scripture. Most often it is attributed to David though any attempt to link it to a specific incident is conjecture. When you feel a little frustrated and maybe think God has forgotten about your prayer, your request, read Psalm 13.

I. When God Delays – Look with me at the first two verses. Psalm 13:1-2 – “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?”

A. The first thing that David asked, is “how long?” These first two verses tell us of his frustration.

How long, O Lord, will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted – over me?

This text describes how David feels when God delays. Remember, David was anointed the future king of Israel, but then spent years in the wilderness trying to outmaneuver Saul and his armies. Maybe that was the time period in which this Psalm was written. We are not told.

B. Four times the cry, "How long?" rises from these plaintive lines. Here is the evident distress of the psalmist coming from his impression that God has forsaken him, hiding His face from him and that somehow God's favor, at the moment, does not rest upon him. This consciousness of separation from God has brought an agony of near-despair to the psalmist. His sufferings have been going on, at least in his mind for a long time. He wants to know, how much longer is this going to go on. How long? I think in a sense he feels abandoned, he feels that God isn't there for him… and he has a profound sense of loss.

1. If we turn back to the 10th Psalm we find something very similar. In Psalm 10:1 the writer says, “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” In this Psalm, the psalmist is sorely grieved and distressed at the widespread wickedness that was bringing so much misery and sorrow to the poor and oppressed of the land. And his purpose is to bring the attention of God to focus upon the shameful conduct of lawless men whose behavior cried out to God for vengeance against them. That writer was saying something similar to what is said in Psalm 13, Why are you so far away?
2. That is the way the writer felt and maybe you’ve felt that way too. Maybe to you it seems like you've been waiting and waiting and waiting for God to answer that prayer. Maybe you've prayed it countless times and He still hasn't answered in the way you think He should.
3. Maybe you're ready to give up on God… Well know that God never gives up on you. He never forgets you. The prophet Isaiah says this in Isaiah 49. I'm sure you've heard these verses before, but they're great verses to remember or read when you think that God has forgotten you, that He's given up on you or your request. Let’s look at verse 15 “15. "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”

a. In verse 15 God says “Surely they may forget” and we know this all too well these days. The saddest things on earth today must surely include the failure of mothers to love and preserve their children. Despite such occurrences, however, I believe that the nearest thing to God's unfailing love is the love of a mother for her child.
b. God here declares that His devotion to His children was and shall forever be, invariably dependable and constant. God's parental love surpasses that of any human mother.
c. Then in verse 16, God says, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands”. Isn't that a wonderful way to picture God? He is so aware of your prayers and so aware of what's going on in your life, that it's like He has your name inscribed on the palm of His hands, so that your request and your concerns, your worries are ever before Him.

C. That is a wonderful verse. Back in Psalm 13 though, David says God just seems so far away. It feels like God’s blessings have been removed. How long will you hide your face from me? And how long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? In his heart, God just seems so far away.

1. David feels like he's been forsaken by God and that God's protection and safety have been removed. He kind of feels like he's been rejected, even though he hasn't.
2. In Psalms 88, we have another example of this same thing. Psalm 88: 14-18 - “14. Lord, why do You cast off my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me? 15. I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth up; I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught. 16. Your fierce wrath has gone over me; Your terrors have cut me off. 17. They came around me all day long like water; They engulfed me altogether. 18. Loved one and friend You have put far from me, And my acquaintances into darkness.” See how forsaken the writer feels here? He feels like everybody has forsaken him, including God. He's been forgotten.
3. In Psalm 22:1 it says, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?” We should note that Psalm 22 was given by the Holy Spirit to King David and in this Psalm, we have an extremely detailed prophecy about the crucifixion of the Christ given a thousand years before it happens.
4. It's a messianic psalm and Jesus says on the cross “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus died on that cross and felt forsaken so that you and I would never have to feel forsaken. As a child of God, you should never feel forgotten because of what Jesus did on that cross.

D. Yet in our psalm David does feel abandoned. He feels that God is not listening. He's wrestling with his emotions—sorrow, and despair.

1. He's fighting negative thoughts. Most people at some point in their lives must fight negative thoughts. David feels like perhaps he's done something. He doesn't know what happened or why he's fallen out of favor with God.
2. He felt forsaken. David is feeling the burden of his sorrows, and he says that the sorrows are “in my heart daily”. It's not just something he feels occasionally, but he says he feels like it is a constant, an everyday feeling of sorrow and despair.

E. Immersed in this feeling of being forsaken David feels like his enemies are winning. We can understand that.

1. Even today enemies seem to crop up against us when we are at a disadvantage. When someone's down, there are always people around to kick them, aren’t there? Some people just seem to enjoy an easy target. When you're down or someone else is down, that seems to be their job. “Let's go ahead and kick them, take advantage of them, while they’re down.”
2. Many of our enemies are from the spiritual world. The Bible talks in Ephesians 6:10-20 about putting on the whole armor of God “to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (6:11) Because “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Satan is the prince of this world, and he has helpers in the spirit realm.

II. David has given us a picture of how he feels when it seems God has left him. Then in the next verses, we see him turning from his complaints. Yes, he might feel distant from God, but instead of giving up on his relationship with the Lord, he pushes further into it. He depends on it.

A. Verses three and four: “3. Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4. Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him''; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.” What does he do? He turns to God in prayer—more prayer.

1. The first thing we should always do in times of trouble is pray. Never say, well, the least I can do is pray. No, the most you can do is pray. That's the most important thing, it is the most powerful thing you can do. Always do it first.
2. In these verses, David asks God to consider him. He says, look upon me. He wants God to see what's happening. I have no doubt David knew that God knew, what was happening. He prays, God, look at what's going on. Look at my life. The psalmist's prayer for the avoidance of death is based upon the premise that "If he dies, his enemies will interpret his death in such a way as to mock his trust in God." My life's in danger every day. Consider me.
3. We never should throw in the towel. Call out to God. What we need to do is exactly what John says in 1 John 5:14 - “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Ask God to answer your prayer according to His will.

B. David says, enlighten my eyes. That's a great expression, put the light back in my eyes. Throughout the Old Testament when someone has an experience with God they are overwhelmed by the light of His glory. In verses 1-2 we got the sense that the psalmist felt God had withdrawn, turned away, and left him in the dark. So here he is asking for God to once again shine brightly on his life.

1. Make me alive again. He feels like he's at the point of death. Make me alive again he pleads. He wants that close fellowship with the Lord. He does not want his enemies to think they can overcome a servant of God.
2. David says. “Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.”[ESV] In Old Testament times when two nations or armies would go against one another, whichever was victorious, they would say, it was because of our gods. Ours is more powerful than your God. He is saying, don't let my enemies say they prevail against me.
3. Don't let them rejoice when I am shaken. Don't let that happen. David is asking, let the righteous be victorious over the wicked. In Psalm 27, which is another of David's psalms, the first three verses are encouraging. He says, “1. The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2. When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. 3. Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident.” David knows prayer is power and he calls out to God.

III. We've seen how a person feels when God delays in verses one and two, we've seen when a person prays for help in verses three and four, and then in verses five and six we see when a heart rejoices, “5. But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

A. Notice the progression. He's gone from tears to triumph. David says I trust in your mercy. God's mercy was rooted in the covenant God had made with Israel. David knew that he could trust in what God had said, and of course, we can too. David expresses hope now, why? Because of God's unfailing love. Even in his ongoing struggle, David doesn’t give up. He knows that there is something that will last longer than his enemies: the steadfast love of the Lord.

1. Some marvelous verses are written in Lamentations. Remember Lamentations, probably by Jeremiah, was written after the fall of Jerusalem when the Babylonian armies under Nebuchadnezzar came in.
2. We're going to read beginning in Lamentation 3:22-24 – “22. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 24. "The Lord is my portion,'' says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!''” God is not going to let you down when you fully trust Him.

B. David says in verse 5, my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. The Lord has not forgotten David, because even though his life seemed bleak, he knows his salvation is secure. He knows God is going to look over Him, look after Him, be with Him, and shine His face upon him.

1. His salvation is secured. Psalm 18:46 says, “46. The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
2. The Bible says nobody can take away my salvation. I can give it up. I can turn away from God, but nobody can take it away from me.
3. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul talks about, how nothing in this world can take away my salvation except me. “38. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
4. We are the only ones that can give up our salvation. That should be very encouraging to us. The Devil cannot take away my salvation. He doesn't have the power. All the powers in this world, all the rulers in this world can't take away my salvation.

C. In verse 6 David sings of God's goodness. “I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.” David remembers what God had done for him in the past and we should do likewise.

1. Remember all those prayers that we've taken to God that he answered. Remember how well God has dealt with us in life. This should boost our confidence that He will still take care of our needs. Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song, I will praise Him.”
2. Looking back we have to admit that God has treated us far better than we deserve. He has. The Book of Romans tells us that He sent His son to die for us while we were still sinners. Oh yes, God has treated us far better than we could ever deserve.

CONCLUSION: Psalm 13 doesn’t say “I’m hurting, God, and you’re nowhere to be found, so forget you.” That is the sort of response the world would understand, the kind of thing Satan wants us to do. No, instead, in verses 3-4 we see the psalmist say “I’m hurting, God, and you’re nowhere to be found, so I’m going to sit right here and ask… plead, for You show up in some way...because I have nowhere else to go and nobody else to turn to.”

It may seem counterintuitive to keep praying for God’s attention and care after so clearly expressing our frustration with His absence, but that’s exactly what we see here. David was worried that God had forgotten him and left him to his dark, sorrowful thoughts, so he asks God to “hear him and enlighten him” to give him insights on what is going on, to speak in such a way that would satisfy his soul and put to rest his anguish.

David tells us that he experienced great sadness when he felt abandoned by God. Even though it may feel at times that God has forgotten you, He hasn't. If you pray to Him concerning some matter, know for a certainty, that He's going to answer in the very best way possible for you. It may be different from something that you're expecting, but whatever He answers is the very best answer, whatever is best for you. Why? Because He loves you very much.

The overwhelming sorrow captured in the lament of verses 1-2 is met with the trust in the unrelenting faithfulness and love of God in verses 5-6. The bridge between this is David’s prayer for help. Despite all that is going wrong, despite the pain, despite feeling helpless, despite not being sure where God is or why He won’t ...despite all this, the psalmist prays to God for enlightenment and he works his way back to declaring: “I trust in your unfailing love”...and I know you, God, have been good to me.

How this happens will look a little different for everyone, because the circumstances that surround your suffering will influence the way and even have an impact on the time you’ll need to work your way back and remember God’s goodness.

We tend to read scripture as quick-fix devotions. That approach may be too much, too fast for true lament and suffering. When we’re hurting -- from a chronic illness, a job loss, a family conflict, after losing someone dear to us, or from unconquerable depression -- we do ourselves a disservice by trying to make it all right, all at once. Most of the pain we experience in life cannot be reconciled or healed in the time it takes to read six verses alone.
If we try to force our emotions to comply and transform to what we have read it sometimes might make us feel guilty. We think, “The truth of God’s goodness is right here, in black and white...why can’t I feel it?! Why do I have such a hard time believing it is true?

When you don't feel God is near, when you feel God maybe has forgotten you, what should you do? Those times when you feel God is far away, when He's not answering prayers as you expect and you feel like He's forgotten you, what should you do? I think this last point is very critical. Do any activities that bring you in contact with His Word and His people. Those are going to be the most important things to do and the most beneficial. Sadly, a lot of times we do just the opposite. We turn away from those things.

During those times when we feel far from God, what do we need? We need His Word and His people. That's what we need. We don't need to turn away, we need to turn toward. That's what God did for us. He turned toward us by sending His Son to die for us while we were still sinners. That's how much He loved us.

Remember John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This is how much God loved us, He was willing to send His son to die for us on the cross. We didn't deserve it, but God did it anyway because He loved us that much, and we should love Him in return.

This morning, we have a time to consider our relationship with God while we're singing this invitation song.
____________________________________________________________________________________

We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you need to respond to that gospel message or need the prayers of faithful Christians on your behalf, don't wait, but come as we stand and sing.

# 603
Taken from a sermon by Bobby Stafford

Print

Where and when we meet

Chardon Logo vertal lt 275

128 Maple Avenue
Chardon, Ohio 44024
Phone: (440) 286-5505
 
 

Our Schedule of Services

Sunday
 
10:00 - 10:45 AM
 Bible Study 
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 Morning Worship 
6:00 - 7:00 PM
 Evening Worship "Suspended Temporarily"
 
Wednesday
 
7:00 - 8:00 PM
 Bible Study: "Suspended Temporarily"
 
Ladies Bible Study: Last Tues. of the month 
 
Go to top