Psalm 13: “How long?” or “Howling?”


 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?
(Psalm 13:1-2 ESV)

C. H. Spurgeon writes this about Psalm 13,

We have been wont to call this the “How Long Psalm.” We had almost said the Howling Psalm, from the incessant repetition of the cry “how long?”

“How long?” This question is repeated no less than four times. It betokens very intense desire for deliverance, and great anguish of heart. And what if there be some impatience mingled therewith; is not this the more true a portrait of our own experience? It is not easy to prevent desire from degenerating into impatience. O for grace that, while we wait on God, we may be kept from indulging a murmuring spirit! “How long?” Does not the oft-repeated cry become a very HOWLING? And what if grief should find no other means of utterance? Even then, God is not far from the voice of our roaring; for he does not regard the music of our prayers, but his own Spirit’s work in them in exciting desire and inflaming the affections.

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