Tuesday Hymns: “Psalm 13”

There are times when a tune and lyrics come together like chocolate and peanut butter (Reese cups), sweet and tart (Sweetarts), or cranberries and apples (Cranapple Juice) [okay, I am not so sure about that last one]. I believe that today’s Tuesday Hymn fits that description perfectly. Psalm 13 is the heartfelt cry of a hurting believer to a God in whom he trusts. I am convinced that he knows in his head that the Lord cares for him and is with him because this author wrote in Psalm 139: “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” However, his hurt is so real and so deep that it is difficult for him to feel that God is there. Thus, the Psalmist has painted a portrait of a man who is determined to trust and rest in God, even when all of his being is crying out, “You are alone!

When the compilers of The Trinity Psalter attached this Psalm to the tune of O Sacred Head Now Wounded,” it captured the cry of one whose emotions caused him to lament, “How long wilt Thou forget me? Shall it forever be?” Thankfully, it ends with the mourner faithfully stating, “But on Thy tender mercy I ever have relied; with joy in Thy salvation my heart shall still confide.”

How long wilt Thou forget me?
Shall it forever be?
O LORD, how long neglect me,
And hide Thy face from me?
How long my soul take counsel,
Thus sad in heart each day?
How long shall foes exulting,
Subject me to their sway?

O LORD, my God, consider,
And hear my earnest cries;
Lest I in death should slumber,
Enlighten Thou mine eyes:
Lest foes be heard exclaiming
Against him we prevailed;
And they that vex my spirit
Rejoice when I have failed.

But on Thy tender mercy
I ever have relied;
With joy in Thy salvation
My heart shall still confide.
And I with voice of singing
Will praise the LORD alone,
Because to me His favor
He has so largely shown.

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