O LORD, HOW LONG?
By REV. JANET ONAOLAPO. MAIN TEXT: PSALMS 13:1-6
“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?
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
“How long; how long Lord?” This is the question every child of God asks when they are overwhelmed by challenges and it seems as if God has forgotten or abandoned them.
Every child of God at one time or the other has felt neglected by God because they have had to wait a long while to get answers to their desires.
As a child of God, you may have felt forsaken at some point in time. Maybe like David, you have also asked: “Lord, how long will you forget me? Will it be forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” This could be as a result of what you are going through right now.
The truth is that God is with you even when you are going through. That is why Isaiah 49:15, says, “Can a woman forget her suckling child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb; ye they may forget yet will I not forget you.”
You may feel forgotten or forsaken but God says that He has not forgotten you; He has engraved you on the palms of His hands and your walls are continually before Him. Anything that is engraved cannot be removed. So as Christians, we must always remember this fact.
When God says “Your walls are continually before me,” He means that He sees you every day – 24/7.
David said something else in verse 2 of our text. He asked the question, “How long shall I take counsel in my soul having sorrow in my heart daily?”
As a child of God, do not be ruled by your feelings. When you are in trouble and you take counsel from your reasoning and feelings, you will be plunged into depression and sorrow. David took counsel from his soul and this lead him into sorrow.
When you begin to think or meditate on your problem, your counsel will come from your soul and it will tell you “God does not love you. If He does, He would have taken you out of this problem long ago. If He loves you, why has He abandoned you?” Your soul will give you wrong counsel thereby, putting you into more sorrow and depression.
Do not look inward in the time of sorrow; look into the word of God. Psalms 121:1 says “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help, my help cometh from the Lord…”
When the situation you are going through makes you to ask the question, “Lord, how long will you forget me? Will it be forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” another reason why you should not seek counsel from your soul is because it has nothing good to offer you. Whenever you sit down to meditate on the problem you are facing, the devil will compound it and give you many more. The only person who has something good to offer you in the time of trouble is God and His word because, when you meditate on His word, every form of sorrow in your spirit is truncated and something new begins to happen in your life.
In verse 3, David asked desperately for his eyes to be enlightened. He knew that he wasn’t seeing right because he was meditating on his problems. He understood that his vision was clouded by his feelings. There are times when your feelings can blur your vision and spiritual sight. David eventually understood this and he prayed saying, “Lord enlighten my eyes.” This is the prayer you should pray whenever you are troubled.
Also in verse 4, David gave God the reason why He should enlighten his eyes. If God didn’t help him, his enemies would prevail against him and rejoice in his downfall. What David said here got God’s attention and he was able to say in verse 6 “I will sing unto the Lord because He hath dealt bountifully with me.” Whenever you give room to the devil, he will prevail over you.
There was a time I was really bothered about a particular issue and for about two weeks, I did not hear anything from God concerning it. I did not know what to do even when I remembered the scripture in the book of Job which says, “Though He slay me, I will still trust Him.” I held on to God. At some point I told God that even if He did not answer me, I would still hold on to Him. One day, as I was murmuring in my spirit, the Holy Spirit said to me: “What else are you expecting to hear from God? The answer to the problem is in His word. Why don’t you read the word and find out? He does not have to speak to you audibly every time.” Right there, I got a word from the Scripture in Ephesians 1: 17-22 and as I meditated on it, the word came alive in my spirit.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come and hath put all things under his feet…” – Ephesians 1:17-22
Apostle Paul prayed the same prayer. When the eyes of your understanding are enlightened, you will grasp the revelation of God’s exceeding greatness and power towards you. You will become strong in the Lord and will no longer look at your situation.
When David said: “Lord enlighten my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death,” he was not referring to physical death. If one’s spiritual eyes are blinded and he cannot see what God is showing him, he is spiritually dead.
Depressed people sometimes commit suicide. However, for the child of God, spiritual death comes first. Just like when the twelve spies got to Canaan and ten of them said, “Ha! The people are giants!” With that confession, they already killed themselves spiritually, but the other two spies saw giants whose defence had been taken away from them.
Today, many people experience the sleep of death. Children of God must not give up because they feel that they don’t have a future or a solution to their problems. You must make positive confessions in the time of adversity and you will overcome your problems.
When Rachael had Joseph, she prophesied that she would have another son and God made it come to pass according to her words. She conceived again but when she was about to give birth, because the labour was difficult, she said “I don’t think I can make it.” Before she delivered the child, she named him “The child of my sorrow.” However, Jacob saw this same child that was named sorrow from a positive angle and named him Benjamin, which means “The son of my strength.” You must understand that in life, the song you desire or choose to sing depends on you.
In verse 5, David stopped asking “How long?” He stopped taking counsel from his soul because he realized that he could not use the wrong key to open a door. Crying and taking counsel from your soul is the wrong key to breaking through. That was why David asked the Lord to enlighten his eyes and help his faith.
He decided to sing unto the Lord. When you sing, bad thoughts will be far from you. From henceforth, make a decision to move from FEELING to PRAISING because God dwells in the place of praise. Whether God meets your needs or not, praise Him because He keeps you alive. No doubt there might be some pressing needs that you will trust the Lord to meet you must realize the fact that every one has needs. The difference between you and the other person is your trust in the Almighty God and who you get counsel from. Where do you get counsel from – the word of God or your soul? The reason why the two spies were victorious over the other ten was because their counsel came from the Lord while the ten spies trusted in what they saw, which was from their soul.
David also recorded victory over Goliath, even when everyone ran away in fear. He confronted Goliath and brought him down because he did not focus on the size of the enemy. His eyes were enlightened.
You will sing a new song this year 2019 as long as you apply the right key to the right door.