Being Brazen with God, or the Approachable God
David is very bold with God. He asks God some very poignant and seemingly brazen questions. We all understand the frustration of waiting for someone, or the discouragement we feel when someone fails to follow through on a responsibility or a commitment in a relationship. In our frustration or even disappointment we might ask: “Where were you? What happened? Why didn’t you follow through on what you were supposed to do? Don’t you care? How often do you need to be reminded?”
But, and this is a big but, in Psalm 13, David is asking God these questions. Here is what David asks God:
- “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 all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” Psalm 13:1-2 (NASB)
Why the tough questions?
We do not know the exact situation David was in that brought about these questions. David does not disclose that in the psalm, and scholars have not pinpointed a specific event. Anyone familiar with the life of David knows that he had many situations in his life that could have given rise to these questions.
Questions Reveal Heart
As we read these questions, we get a sense of the underlying desperation and sheer need of David. On one hand he is asking God some heavy duty “why questions,” but on the other hand he is pleading with God for help. Anyone who has felt fear, desperation, or despair in their life from some emotional, spiritual or physical pain has probably asked questions like these. Who has not felt tired of waiting for God to work, wondering why He isn’t, and then feeling forgotten? I know I have.
Take heart if you are asking such questions, they may reveal your faith in God. In many instances these questions signify faith, not a lack of it. Such questions may arise from dependence on a trusted Father, not anger at abandonment.
In our agony we can ask some piercing questions of ourselves and of God, most often these questions are a way of pouring out our heart to God as we seek to find Him in our troubles. The very thing we consider bold or even brazen about asking such questions of God may actually be our faith trying to become more sure.
The main point here is that David had a relationship with God in which he felt he could ask such questions of the all-powerful God who creates and sustains all things; the One who has life and death in His hands. David did not distrust God’s love, but intimately poured out his soul to God.
David did find God. In verses 5 and 6, David’s heart of faith is more readily seen.
“But I have trusted in Your loving-kindness; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6
Ask and You Shall Receive
So, what questions do you need to ask God? What is weighing on your heart? What battle do you need deliverance from? In reverence and trust, ask Him; pour out your heart. You may not get every question answered the way you expect, but you will be drawn closer to God.
A Heart for God
Psalm 138 is a very short psalm of only 8 verses. This psalm pours out from David’s relationship with God, and reveals characteristics of a heart for God. Some of these are noted here.
Wholehearted thanks to God (v.1) – “I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise…”
Humility before God (v.2) – “…I will bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth…”
David acknowledges and values God as God. This acknowledgement of God as God is scattered throughout this psalm. For example in verse 5b – “…great is the glory of the Lord…: and in verse 6; “…for though the Lord is high He regards the lowly…”.
Acknowledging “God as God” is important to God. We learn this in Romans 1:20-21, God states that the downfall of men is to worship themselves therefore not acknowledging God as God and giving Him the thanks due Him.
Trust the goodness of God v. 7 – “… though I walk in the midst of trouble You preserve my life…” and v. 8 “… the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me…”
David trusts that God intends good toward Him. David looks back on how God has answered his prayers before and how God delivered him in the past. He has learned to trust the truth of God’s steadfast love. David views himself as a work of God and God will not forsake that work (v.8).
As I read this psalm, I reflect on my relationship with God. I ask myself: Do I daily acknowledge God as God? If so, what difference does that make in how I live? Do I give God the thanks and praise due Him? Or am I just relieved when a prayer is answered? Do I have truths about God from His word and from His past interactions with me that I cling to in times of difficulty?
I encourage you to read Psalm 138 and let the truths therein
bless your relationship with God.
Bless the Lord!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. . .” Ps. 103:1-2 (ESV)
When we think of the word “bless” we think of it in terms of God or others blessing us with something good. Many places in the book of Psalms we are encouraged/ commanded to “bless God.”
Blessing God is a way of praising Him, or giving Him thanks. In the context of Psalm 103 David calls upon the people to bless God, and then enumerates God’s character and deeds that have benefited them. Some of these include: forgiveness of sin; God not treating them as their sin deserves; God’s steadfast abundant love, and many other benefits.
The word “bless” in this passage comes from the Hebrew word “barak” which means to bless; to kneel before; to be broken before; to adore; to salute; to celebrate. So to “bless” God really does involve our soul and all that is our essence (verse 1). Blessing God is more than just words coming from our mouth. It involves a self, a soul that is bowed before God, humble before God and acknowledges His supreme greatness. Blessing God is a heart set that is characterized by humility before God and a deep internal “valuing” of God.
Where is my heart on the spectrum of blessing God? Do I highly esteem and value Him as God and the fact that I have a relationship with Him, or do I just like the benefits?
God Pays Attention!
I love the language of the scriptures. It is so rich in meaning, painting pictures of God with words. Psalm 130:2 says: “O Lord hear my voice, let your ears be attentive to the voice of my plea for mercy.” Really, the psalmist is asking God for help. I love how he boldly and desperately asks God to “pay attention” to him.
One time I saw a video that pictured thousands of people praying to God in their various homes and locations around the world. The sound was a low din of voices with none being distinguishable.
It reminded me of sitting out in my garden with many sounds of nature, the breeze in the tree tops, a few buzzing bees flying around, the high pitched whine of the cicada, and various birds singing. I hear them all, but if I pay attention and really listen I can pick out and hear the moanful sigh of the mourning dove.
I am encouraged to know that amid all the voices calling out to God, He “pays attention” and hears my prayer. Even more encouraging, is that I can ask the God who created the universe to attend to me.
Bible Bytes: Prayer Talk Reveals Faith
As I read through the Psalms I am continuously amazed at how lovingly and personally God interacts with us. Today while reading in Psalm 4, which was written by David, I see David’s trust in God which has been wrought within him through his belief in truths about God he has learned in scripture and in his interactions with God.
David trusts God so much that he is comfortable with God. His trust and ease show in his prayers to God. In verse 1, David is so bold as to demand God answer him. He says, “Answer me when I call,” sort of like a trusting, needy child saying, “Pay attention to me, give me what I need.”
In Psalm 3:7, David says to God, “Arise (get up!) and save me.” In Psalm 5:1-2, David demands, in a respectful way, “Give ear to the sound of my words,” and “Give attention to the sound of my cry.”
David’s manner of speaking to God is based on his knowledge of God, the truths he knows about God’s character through the scriptures and through his experience with God. David bases his pleas to God on the knowledge of God’s righteousness; His faithfulness; His protectiveness; His good will and life giving support.
I long for such a close relationship with God. Like David, I need to look for truths about God’s character in the scriptures; and be alert to God’s faithful working and speaking into my life.
Two questions for us: What are you learning about God from reading the scriptures; and, how do you see these truths in your relationship with God?