In Psalm 13, David makes an appeal to God’s reputation. He does this in a backdoor manner. Psalm 13:4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. Of course, David didn’t want his enemies to gain the upper hand. Others knew that David followed the true God. If David were to be defeated, this would be a defeat for God. David’s downfall would make God look bad.
David knew the history of God taking care of him. God had taken him out of the sheep pasture to anoint him king. He killed Goliath with the help of God, which helped him become a successful military leader. David knew his previous success was due to God and now asked for continued help to bring victory.
Moses Appealed to God and His Reputation
David appealed to God in a similar way to Moses. After God gave Israel the ten commandments, they promised to follow them. But the Israelites made a golden calf idol while Moses was on the mountain with God. The people had broken their promise and deserved punishment. God threatened to kill them and let Moses’ descendants become His new nation.
Moses interceded for the people based on God’s reputation in the eyes of Egypt. He asked God not to destroy the people. Exodus 32:12 Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! At this, God relented; the people received only a plague, not complete destruction. A similar thing happened when the people refused to enter the promised land in Numbers 14.
Faith in God’s Reputation
Verse 4 in Psalm 13 is a turning point emotionally for David. The first two verses are a cry of despair where David asks “how long” four times. Then he demands God pay attention and renew him. As David asks God to give him victory over his enemies, I think David remembers what God has done in the past. It is God’s character to protect and care for His people. At this point, David moves on to trust and worship in verses five and six.
This can be a model for us in our times of despair. We can be honest with God but move forward as we remember God’s reputation. In times of struggle, meditate on the character of God. Study how God intervened in people’s lives throughout Scripture. Then request He do the same for you. He will answer, often in surprising, unexpected ways.
To learn to appeal to God’s reputation, listen here:
[1-2]Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation Tyndale House Publishers.