In preparation for Sunday’s sermon on the need for lament in biblical worship, here are ten observations from Psalm 13, an individual lament of David.
1. Psalm 13 is an individual psalm that was recorded for public use.
Psalm 13 begins with the superscription (ss), “To the Choirmaster. A Psalm of David.” From this inspired introduction, we learn the source of this Psalm (David) and how it was to be used (in the corporate assembly, as led by the choirmaster). This use of first-person pronouns (I, me, my) in corporate worship is interesting, because it causes the corporate gathering to speak of personal pain. This teaches us something about our own singing today and the use of pronouns, but it also shows us how these Psalms were used. Clearly, they are meant to be used by all the saints, even as they come from the personal life of David.
2. Psalm 13 is prototypical psalm of lament.
In the Bible we find individual laments (Pss. 6, 13, 22, 35, 28, 42–43, 88, 102, 109, 142; Jer. 20:7–11) and corporate laments (Pss. 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 89; cf. Lam. 5; Jer. 14; Isa. 63:7–64:12; Hab. 1). These psalms typically express a sense of divine loss and longing for God’s return. While each lament is different, they follow a typical pattern:
- Invocation / Address to God
- Expression of Trust
- Vow of Praise
Psalm 13 follows this pattern as David cries out to God, unburdens his soul, makes his petitions, and finishes with a vow of praise. Continue reading