Psalm 13, 16 – How Long, O Lord?

Psalm 13 is the “How long” psalm repeated four times in the first two verses; and begins with the question of how long the Lord will leave the psalmist feeling abandoned.  In the end, however, he acknowledges the grace of the Lord, and the many ways He has blessed him.  Unlike many of us, he recognizes how prosperous and happy he is.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

Coffman’s observation was that “It is strange indeed that children of God are not exempt from such feelings of abandonment and despair, and we are left in wondering as to why it should be so. Perhaps the Lord wishes to drive us to our knees repeatedly that we should ever rely upon Him and not upon ourselves.” 

He then notes the connection this psalm has with our prayer life:

‘Prayer is not only the proper reaction of the godly to trouble, it is also the effective medicine against depression in the face of it.’

Just as the Lord has given us freedom of will to serve Him or not, he puts no hedge around us where the cares of the world are concerned (Job 1:10).  In the same vein of thought are these words accredited to Martin Luther:

‘Hope itself despairs, and despair yet hopes, and only that unspeakable groaning is audible with which the Holy Spirit, who moves over the waters covered with darkness, intercedes for us.

The risen Lord: He is not here in the grave.

The risen Lord: He is not here in the grave.

Psalm 16 is unquestionably Messianic in nature, and Peter cites it as such in Acts 2:25-28 and in verse 31, he identifies it his sermon as such.  Paul cited the 10th verse as well when he preached the resurrection of Jesus to the people of Antioch of Pisidia in Acts 13:35.  The presence of the Lord at the psalmist’s right hand is the source of his strength, then followed by the reference to the pleasures forevermore  abounding at the right hand of God.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


One comment on “Psalm 13, 16 – How Long, O Lord?

  1. Pingback: In Times of Despair_3 « dbkchristianministries

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