When we hit the wall…
I. An HONEST prayer of LAMENT. (v.1-6)
A. “How long?” is a VALID QUESTION. (v.1-2; Ps. 10:1; Ps. 22:1-2)
B. A NORMAL part of the JOURNEY. (v.1-6; Ps. 3, 4, 5, 7, 9,10, 13, 14, 17, 22,25, 26, 27, etc.)
Sometimes it just feels good to be brutally honest. Psalm 13 is written as David is fleeing from King Saul, who is trying to kill him. After too many nights hiding in a cave and fearing for his life David cries out to God – “How Long?”
1. Kid’s Question: Have you ever felt so frustrated that you just wanted to scream? What was that like?
2. When have you prayed a prayer like Ps. 13? Did you feel guilty for questioning God? Why or why not?
II. ACKNOWLEDGING pain on THREE levels. (v.1-6)
A. The FEAR of spiritual ABANDONMENT. (v.1,3,5)
B. The REALITY of inner TURMOIL. (v.2,3,5)
C. The WEIGHT of outward CIRCUMSTANCES. (v.2,4,6)
Psalm 13 cycles 3 times through three levels of feeling. David states what he feels at all three levels. Then he asks God to work at all three levels. Finally he surrenders to God’s character at all three levels. It’s a prayer worthy of imitation for all of us.
3. When have you felt like God had abandoned you? How did that situation impact you? Has it resolved yet or do you still feel that way?
4. When you struggle with God is your first reaction to embrace it or to ignore the feelings that you are having? Why is that? Have you always reacted that way?
III. Khesed: A HEBREW word worth LEARNING. (v.5)
A. The “LOYAL LOVE” of God. (Ps. 118:1; Ps 136)
B. ANCHORED in God’s CHARACTER, not our MERIT. (Ex. 34:6)
The Hebrew word the NIV translates as unfailing love is a powerful word that God uses throughout the Scriptures to describe Himself – “khesed”. It’s hard to translate perfectly because it combines three ideas: love, generosity, and enduring commitment, into one word. It’s who God is…His very nature.
5. In what ways have you experienced the “loyal love” of God personally?
6. What does it mean to you today that God’s loyalty is centred in His character and not your performance? Are you free to live out of that truth? How can you know?
IV. RESTING in “khesed” when we hit the WALL. (v.5-6)
A. Begin with HONESTY, not AVOIDANCE. (v.1-4; Lk. 22:33-34)
B. Let the DIFFICULTY do its WORK. (v.5; Jas 1:2-4)
C. FOCUS on the CHARACTER of God. (v.5; 2 Cor. 3:18)
D. REFLECT on God’s past FAITHFULNESS. (v.6; Deut. 8:1-5)
We will all hit the spiritual wall at least once on the journey of the soul. Most of us will hit it multiple times. The key is to realize this is not a sign of spiritual failure, but an opportunity to deepen our understanding and experience of the loyal love of God.
7. Are you prone to be honest about spiritual struggle or to avoid it? Why are you that way? How does that impact your life and your interactions with others?
8. When have you seen the “difficulty do its work” in your own life? What was that like? What were the results?
- The Andrew Peterson song referenced in the sermon is titled “The Silence of God” and can be found here – https://youtu.be/cvytewIxll0
- Also there is a lovely song version of Ps. 13 by Alisa Turner here – https:// youtu.be/aMy9CoDkxDA
- Lastly, check out the Bible Project’s video on “khesed” here – https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfbyFLgs_NM