“How long, O Lord?”

Horatius Bonar, at Grace Gems:

Looking up to God, man breathes the deep-drawn sigh, ‘How long?’ Let me note the chief passages—

  • Psalm 6:3, ‘My soul is sore vexed—but You, O Lord, how long?’
  • Psalm 13:1, ‘How long will You forget me, and hide Your face? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, and sorrow in my heart? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?’
  • Psalm 35:17, ‘How long will you look on?’ Psalm 64:10, ‘How long shall the adversary reproach?’
  • Psalm 79:5, ‘How long will You be angry?’ Psalm 89:46, ‘How long will You hide Yourself?’
  • Psalm 90:13, ‘Return, O Lord, how long?’
  • Psalm 94:3-4, ‘How long shall the wicked triumph?’
  • Habakkuk 1:2, ‘How long shall I cry?’
  • Revelation 6:10, ‘How long, O Lord, do You not judge and avenge our blood?’

These are the chief passages in which the expression occurs. Instead of dwelling on each of these in succession, let me thus sum up and classify their different meanings. It is the language of—

(1) Complaint. 

(2) Submission. 

(3) Inquiry. 

(4) Expectation. 

See the full explanation of each of these types of “How long?”


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