Dirge of Depression to Descant of Delight

Lord, how long will You continually forget me? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me? But I have trusted in Your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance. I will sing to the Lord because He has treated me generously ( Psalm 13 vv. 1-2, 5-6).

How long? Repeated four times, this question indicates that David was distressed with God, with himself, and with his enemy. Much good can come from tension. For example, the music from stringed instruments is a result of tension. For me there is nothing like a glorious resolution of the rising tension produced in a Beethoven symphony.

David was restless. His mind was in turmoil, and he felt dejected. His enemy seemed to be ascending, threatening his kingship, and causing personal humiliation. God seemed distant. The friendship between David and his Lord has clouded over.

Things are not always as they seem. Part of David’s genius was his ability to transcend such difficulties. Without tension there can be no resolution. The tension in David’s life came from his difficulties with the enemy and his devotion to God. This conflict led to personal maturity, which he attained because he maintained intimacy with God.

His dirge of depression became a descant of delight. Like an eagle, David soared to new heights. His life took flight when he pledged himself to God’s unfailing love, when he chose to praise and thank God, when he realized that God had a higher purpose, “His ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts” (Isa. 55:8 NIV). A spiritual metamorphosis took place when David wrapped himself in God’s love instead of in his besetting circumstances. He reached the loftiest height of all when he started to sing of God’s goodness.

Personal Prayer

Lord, I want to trust in your unfailing love, rejoice in your salvation, and sing of your goodness today.

The Language of Music


A soaring counter melody, usually sung by several sopranos.

Used as a decorative addition to a hymn, the descant is a very effective musical device which can leave listeners feeling exhilarated.

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