Shout for Joy
Psalm 13 is one of the shorter Psalms and deals with the lament of one who longs for a new awareness of God. Apart from that, life is worthless. Then he reminds himself that God is faithful and the day will come when he will again sing his praise.
Will you forget me Lord, forever?
How long will you hide your face?
How long will anguish conquer my soul
While my enemies your people debase?
Turn and look at my sorry condition
There’s no sparkle in my eyes;
Don’t let my enemies claim to have won
Show them that you are wise.
I will trust and enjoy your faithful love
My heart is rejoicing in you;
I will sing your praises wherever I go
Your goodness is ever new.
In the second stanza the Psalmist asks God to restore the “sparkle” to his eyes or he will die, a picturesque way to describe the light of life. As you know, light and darkness are two of the major ways of describing the contrast between life apart the Spirit and life controlled by the active presence of God. Of the 53 verses in scripture that compare these two qualities in some way, consider the following:
1 John 1:5 describes the nature of God: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
Cor. 6:14 states the purpose of the incarnation: “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
John 3:19 explains our natural tendency to reject God’s way: “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
1 Pet. 2:9 describes the new role of the believer: “That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
1 John 2:9 provides a test for reality: “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.”
The imagery is helpful not only to picture such a wide range of comparisons, but to represent the clear nature of one’s relationship with God. There is no darkness with God. You approach him, as it were, across a broad field of light. Anything connected with darkness is exposed. Darkness, as the absence of light, hides the deceptive nature of man’s world. God as light allows only the perfection of sinlessness and that explains the absolute centrality of Jesus Christ in the world to come.
The thing that caught my eye in the metric psalm was the lack of sparkle in the eyes of those experience defeat. The sparkle speaks of victory, the close presence of Jesus, forgiveness, hope, trust and faith. It is bright and pleasant. How are your eyes?
Robert H Mounce