How Long?

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My tears have carved out deep ravines,
My eyes have washed away;
I cannot see who’s taunting me,
But I can feel their rage.

My soul is grieved by enemies,
Who spit and strike my face;
How long, O LORD, must I endure,
Before they make my grave?

My tears and sorrows have spilled out,
There’s nothing left to cry;
How long, O LORD, will You forget,
And leave me here to die?

In death I’ll trust Your promises,
To raise me to new life;
How short, O LORD, shall darkness seem,
In Your Eternal Light?

For there I will not see the tears,
That left this heart of mine;
But LORD, how long, will tears still flow,
Forever in Your mind?

Behind the lines

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

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. (Psalm 13 ESV)

Enemies

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Lord, a fresh breeze of enemies,
Relaxes what is true,
Enticing me with distractions,
To take my eyes off You.

Give protection from their weapons,
Of entertaining lies,
They sound good and look attractive,
But it’s death in disguise.

Their goal is to destroy my soul,
A little at a time,
Accusing me of leaving You,
As they attack my mind.

So stop their slander in anger,
Rise up in Your fury,
And bring this evil to an end,
For I’m weak and weary.

And by Your grace I will sing praise,
In the depths of this trial,
For it’s Your righteousness, not mine,
That causes me to smile.

Behind the lines

Psalm 7 (ESV)
O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.

O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust. Selah

Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high.

The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts,

O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.

Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

God the Thunderer

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote this hymn during a strong thunderstorm. The storm reminded him of the power of God and His coming judgment.

He titled it “God the thunderer; or, The last judgment and hell” and then added the following note:

[Made in a great sudden storm of thunder, August 20, 1697.]

Sing to the Lord, ye heav’nly hosts,
And thou, O earth, adore;
Let death and hell through all their coasts
Stand trembling at his power.

His sounding chariot shakes the sky,
He makes the clouds his throne;
There all his stores of lightning lie,
Till vengeance darts them down.

His nostrils breathe out fiery streams
And from his awful tongue
A sovereign voice divides the flames,
And thunder roars along.

Think, O my soul! the dreadful day,
When this incensed God
Shall rend the sky, and burn the sea,
And fling his wrath abroad.

What shall the wretch the sinner do?
He once defied the Lord;
But he shall dread the Thund’rer now,
And sink beneath his word.

Tempests of angry fire shall roll
To blast the rebel worm,
And beat upon his naked soul,
In one eternal storm.

Behind the lines

We often sing of God’s grace, mercy, and love, but we should also sing of His attributes of justice, holiness, and wrath. For when we clearly see the later three, it makes the first three all the sweeter.

Some of Watts most loved hymns are, “Joy to the World,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “Alas! and Did my Savior Bleed.”

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library has made available a free PDF of the “Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts” and you can download it from their website. 

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