Daily in the Psalms : Psalm 31
psalms 31CONFIDENCE IN GOD, EVEN IN THE FACE OF DANGER
If there is any thing that the Christian needs today it is the ability to rise up by prayer, out of a state of fear and complaining to a place of faith, hope and praise. While there may be times in our lives that there is fear on every side, as was the case for men like Jeremiah, it is in those times that we must search for the truths like those David gives us in these verses:
In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. (Psalms 31:1).
Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. (Psalms 31:5).
And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room. (Psalms 31:8).
But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. (Psalms 31:14).
Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. (Psalms 31:21).
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (Psalms 31:24).
So many times the Psalmist tells us to take refuge in the Lord. In verse one, that is what he does.
In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. (Psalms 31:1).
In the times that we face our most severe troubles, in times when we find ourselves the most weak, are the times that we find God nearest. All the saved are the children of a Just, Holy and Merciful God. All of His children are dear to Him, but it seems that the weak and sorrowful become special objects of His care. Just as an earthly father watches and cares for a sick or needy child, our Heavenly Father readily bows His ear and heart to His troubled children. David, who had so often found refuge in the Lord, was able to see Him as all that he needed, especially in times of trouble. He saw Him as the Strong Rock, his defense and his fortress. David sets his prayer on the foundation, not of himself, but of God, the One that will never put our faith in Him to shame. Even when we are shamed, disappointed, frustrated or hurt, there is a Strong Rock upon which we can cast our troubles, there is a House of Defense that will save us. Our appeal must be to Him.
In verse five, we find David using the very same words that Christ uttered on the cross, “Into thy hands.” God help us to learn that we can trust our case in His Hands. It is a foolish person that trusts himself in the dark times of trouble. We have something far greater than ourselves; we have a Rock and a Fortress. He will lead and guide us through the darkness of trouble, any trouble.
He will lead us as a soldier and guide us as a traveler
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13).
Our troubles may be sickness or even the fear of death, but those are not our only troubles. That is why David commits more than his body to God; he commits his spirit into God’s hands. He was saved and safe in the Lord, he remembered the past deliverances, and those things supported his faith and they gave him assurance. What God has done in the past, He is surely able to do again, He is able to do that and much more:
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:20).
I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room. Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. Psalms 31:6-13
The gods of the heathen are lying vanities, but our God is worthy of our faith and praise. David said, “I will be glad.” How glad we will be when we know the truth that God will always be true to His Word. We can rejoice in His Mercy, because it is His mercy that causes Him to consider our troubles and to know our very souls. When we think of His mercy, we are grateful, we count our blessings and we change our mood.
The child of God is never alone, he is protected by God. God has set our course. That is why He protects us, to bring us safe to the destination that He has set for us. Just as the captain of the ships keeps his eye on the compass, even in the storm, we are to keep our hearts fixed on the truth that God’s hand is protecting us. No matter what storms we may have to sail through, we can rest in the fact the our course is fixed, we are His children and He will bring us to the safe port of Heaven.
There is no shame in calling out to God in distress. There is just something about the words, “Oh Lord!” What other Name could we speak that would be as kind, as patient and as loving? He has more love than any earthly father and more tenderness than any mother. Countless of millions of sorrows are being poured into His ears every day, but He never grows weary or turns away. He listens to the request of every one in need, to the plea of every child, to the complaint of every hurting heart, and to the sorrow of every grieved soul. Every saved person can go to the Lord as though his case was special, because it is.
The Psalmist pours out his heart to God, as we read these words, we can almost hear his sobs and cries. He is consumed with grief, convicted by sin and wounded by his troubles. As we face our troubles, there are some things we expect. We know that there will be reproach from our foes, and that there will be others that simply have no real concern, but we do expect our friends to help and love us. David cries out because his friends and neighbors have forsaken him. Some fled from him, others forgot him, others rejected him and some slandered him. Some even got together and planned ways to end his life. The brightness of his life was gone, his reputation ruined and it seemed that nothing good could happen. So he calls out to God, expresses his grief and states his grievances. As I said, there is no shame in this, as long as that is not where we stay. Remember, He is leading and guiding us, He will lead and guide us away from that place of repining to a place of rejoicing. Don’t let a heavy heart keep you in defeat. If we serve God faithfully, men may forget or even slander us, but our record is on high, in Heaven there is a healing salve for every wound and a right for every wrong.
RECOVERY FROM TROUBLED TIMES
But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake. Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. Psalms 31:14-18
Things looked bad, it seemed that all men had failed David, but he kept his trust and faith in God. He never lost sight of Him. When we are keenly aware of our troubles, of the forces set against us and of the fact that others have forgotten or turned away, we still can turn to God and say with great confidence, “Thou art my God.” Our faith and trust can be renewed because our life and the circumstances of our life are in His hands:
The happy times and the sad times
Our life is not left to mere fate; we have a God that is in control. To trust His will and His rule is to rest in Him, it is a soft pillow for our anxious head, the light of hope that shines in the grave of despair. By faith, God will lead us from trouble to victory, if we learn to depend on Him.
As the face of God shines upon us and the face of His wrath is turned against our enemies, the shame is no longer upon us, it is upon them. The once vocal mouths of our enemies will be silenced by the strong arm of our God. Faith will be turned into certainty. We have no joy in the destruction of anyone, even our enemies, but we have much rejoicing in the love and provision of God. There is great sorrow when those of the world that we thought were our friends turn away, but there is great joy when we know that He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
HOW GREAT IS GOD’S GOODNESS!
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Psalms 31:19-24
Because of his unwavering faith, David now breaks out on the glad acknowledgment of God’s goodness and His faithfulness to those that patiently wait upon Him:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31).
He makes a statement worth pondering, “How great is thy goodness?” The songwriter said it best, “The longer I serve Him the sweeter it grows.” That is because we get to see His great goodness. As we see it, it calls for our wonder, our love and our praise. His Goodness is great, it is laid up in store for those that trust Him and it will always result in our victory. As good as God had been to him, David had discovered a great secret; much of the great goodness of God was yet in store for him. This is a good way to describe the goodness of God, part of it we can see and is measurable, but so much of it is unseen and is boundless. It’s like comparing the river to the great ocean, or the part of the earth that our eyes can see with the vast earth that our eyes cannot take in all at once. The goodness of God is laid up in His promises and manifested in His performances as He delivers those that love Him. His goodness causes us to believe and our belief causes Him to deliver. Thank God that we have the Bible, what we see every day and our memory to remind us of His goodness.
He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. (Psalms 33:5).
O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psalms 104:24).
HOW GREAT IS GOD’S GOODNESS
For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Psalms 31:22-24
After all that he had gone through, David looks at the goodness of God, he thinks about all that God has done in the past and he ponders the promised goodness of God for the future, and he says, “In my haste I doubted the Lord and listened to the enemy.” Even after saying that, the Lord was merciful and heard his cry. There are many today that speak of God as a great stickler for detail and if we should make a mistake or forget some of those details, He will not help us. David learned that his God was not like that, our God loves us and wants to help us each time we cry out to Him. David also learned that confession and thanksgiving go hand in hand. As he confessed his weakness and lack of faith to God, he was thankful for His mercy and deliverance. Then, he gives good advise to everyone: First, love the Lord. He is worthy and He is good, as we see these things, we love Him more. Second, be faithful to the Lord. This is the demonstration of love. We love Him for who He is and we also love Him for what He has done and will do.
We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).
There is nothing but good that can come from loving and serving the Lord. The more we love and serve Him, the higher we rise in faith and strength, the better equipped we are to fulfill our duties to Him, and the more rewards we receive from Him. His favor is the difference in those that love and serve Him and those that resist and reject Him.
Third, be of good courage. There are different kinds of courage. There is the courage of the flesh and the courage of the mind. Many people, even the lost have these kinds of courage. Many times, when the pressure is on and the blood flows hot, people will rise up to do that which they never thought they would do. But, God’s people have a more noble courage, courage of the soul. This is the courage that comes to the person whose heart is right with God and he is lead to do that which is right and is his Heavenly duty. God will give His children to courage that will make them loyal to truth and duty. He will give them a heart that is ready to face and conquer their troubles. This is courage that makes us brave, not because of ourselves, but because of God, the One that we rely on. He gives us courage in purpose and in desire.
Fourth, Hope in the Lord. Love, faithfulness and courage combine to give us hope:
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2).
What the parent will do for a child or what the patriot will do for his country should pale when compared with what the Christian will do for his Lord. David was truly a great man, because he Loved, served, had courage in and hoped in a great God. No wonder he began this song as he had so many others, “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust.”
So Glad To Be So Saved
Danny "Preacher" Bezet