Message – For Edification: Psalm 31
Series: Thru the Bible
***Video is HERE***
Jamieson-Fausset & Brown
The prayer of a believer in time of deep distress. In the first part, cries for help are mingled with expressions of confidence. Then the detail of griefs engrosses his attention, till, in the assurance of strong but submissive faith, he rises to the language of unmingled joyful trust and exhorts others to like love and confidence towards God.
Psa 31:1-24 NKJV
Many Psalms are clearly written in the past tense, reflecting back on events of need where God intervened. These always refer to God as a subject in the narrative rather than the object to whom he is speaking. However, in this Psalm – NOTHING gives the indication that it was recorded AFTER the events in question – but it DOES give every indication that it was while David was facing the adversities in question. This is important as we approach the end of this passage. Since throughout this passage, David is speaking directly TO God, this Psalm is actually a prayer!
(1) In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Our focus determines the direction of our trust.
The object of David’s trust was the Lord. It was not FOR deliverance alone but IN GOD alone.
This distinction is more important than we know!
It is not that David did not come to God with a specific request – we will see that he did!
It is not that his trust was not focused on a specific and desired result – it is just that the focus of his faith was God.
It could be said this way – The focus of David’s prayer was deliverance but the focus of his trust was on God.
David’s trust IN GOD was FOR deliverance.
In the past our focus was SO trained on the object of our desire that it obscured our vision of God from Whom our desires are met.
The confusion was so complete that we even worded it exactly that way – “I’m believing FOR healing”.
In fact, in the height of that deception entire “prayers” were prayed without even talking to or mentioning God at all!
While technically there isn’t anything inherently wrong with a statement like, “I’m believing FOR healing”, the fact that such words were the way it came to us out of the abundance of our hearts revealed a real problem with our Christian faith.
Notice before any other single thing is mentioned – David speaks of God.
“In You, o Lord, I put my trust.”
Then comes his request from the One he reduces himself to as his only recourse,
“Let me never be ashamed, but deliver me in YOUR righteousness.”
Notice he makes his request but sees the REASON for the answer as God’s nature – NOT his need!
Shame – To be ashamed is to experience distress, as farmers with no harvest ~
…as in Joel 1:11,
“Be ashamed, you farmers, Wail, you vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field has perished.”
On the other hand, the blessing of God means that one will never be put to shame ~
…as in Joel 2:26-27,
“(26) You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. (27) Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” (& Ps. 25;20)
We’ve heard and said the phrase, “Your need doesn’t move God, faith does.” but this really is not accurate.
Nothing that comes from man causes God to do anything.
In order for God’s actions to be pure – they MUST be sponsored by and come from HIS OWN BEING AND NATURE. AND because everything God does is in fact sponsored by and come from HIS OWN BEING AND NATURE – everything God does IS pure.
God’s actions come from His character – His nature – not from us or our need. Even God’s emotions which DO react to us, comes from WHO He is – NOT purely WHAT we’ve done.
Consider the following passages,
Ps. 103:10, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.”
Joel 2:13, “So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.”
2Choron. 30:9, “For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”
Mal. 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”
So, while trust may free God to do something to help us, we must realize that the motivation behind His actions is His Own nature and nothing else.
This is one reason why God may do any number of things to help us even when we do not even ask…much less trust. Our trust is not God’s motivation.
Mat. 5:43-48, NKJV “(43) You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ (44) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (47) And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? (48) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Consider David’s next two statements…
(2) Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me. (3) For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name’s sake, Lead me and guide me. (4) Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength.
- Bow down your ear to me and deliver me with haste – BE my ROCK of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me BECAUSE You ARE my rock and fortress.
- In other words, I place my trust in You as my defense and safety because such is WHO You ARE – You ARE strength, You ARE safety. I’m asking You to be WHO YOU ARE TO me. This is seen in the next words… (points to Lordship)
- THEREFORE, for Your Name’s sake, Lead me and guide me.
- Because it is WHO You ARE, to do this for me is to represent Your Own true nature – For the sake of Your Name (which represents all that One is).
- This is to say, Let my going forth into safety proceed from Your nature. Let the light that You are – be MY light, leading me to You as my refuge and high tower.
- Pull me out – BECAUSE You are my strength.
It is important here to point back to faith.
FOCUS and INTENTION are everything!
It is NOT that trust does not play a vital role, for without it James says we have no grounds for presuming we will receive anything from God. MANY times Jesus pointed to people’s faith as that which made them whole – but nothing in the phrase in reality was calling “faith” the healing virtue of God – rather it was the pathway which lead to the healing which springs from God the Healer.
God is pleased by our trust in Him and He rewards the heart that places all it’s security in Him – not BECAUSE of what faith is, but because of Who God is.
God desires relationship and TRUE koinonia fellowship – which cannot happen outside of trust – reliance – abandonment to the known good nature of another.
Trust appeals to God’s love of relationship – which is one reason why God’s responses to our prayers is considered a “mercy” – a response of His tender loving kindness.
The FACT that His deliverance IS mercy – means that faith cannot be the causal factor – otherwise, “mercy” would simply be a transaction or at worse, a debt God owed us because of our trust.
No – trust simply places us in right relation to God (Abraham trusted God and it was accounted to him for right standing). Even this, could lead someone to the wrong conclusion. Wuest helps us with this, which I have taken liberties to simplify…
The words, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” To what does the word “it” refer?
It was not the act of believing which was accounted to him as a righteousness, nor was it on account of Abraham’s faith that perfect righteousness was laid to his charge, but that the fact of his trusting God to perform His promise introduced him into the blessing promised.”
It is like the extended hand of a drowning man that makes it possible for the life-guard to save him. There is nothing of merit in the act of a drowning man stretching out his hand in order to be saved. It is the efficient medium through which he is saved. Thus, the act of faith on the sinner’s part is not the cause but only the medium through which God is able to save him.
The “it” therefore refers to the outstretched hand of faith of a sinner reaching out for salvation that God grasps in His Own Power and due ONLY to His Own merciful nature lifts him out of the mire of sin and places him upon Jesus Christ WHO IS our Rock of Safety and salvation.
(5) Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Committing ALL that he is INTO God’s hand (power). This is a transference of authority and control – out of and away from his own presumed power and ability and into God’s real power and ability. Thus the next words…
(6) I have hated those who regard useless idols; But I trust in the LORD.
For David to seek to save himself or to place his trust for safety into the hands of a method or man – would be to supplant God with a useless and powerless idol.
David is inwardly comforted and assured that his decision is a sound one…
(7) I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, (8) And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place.
David then gives vent to his heart. Sometimes even when we have reached a place of trust, there is need to give vent to our hearts.
“(9) Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; My eye wastes away with grief, Yes, my soul and my body! (10) For my life is spent with grief, And my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, And my bones waste away. (11) I am a reproach among all my enemies, But especially among my neighbors, And am repulsive to my acquaintances; Those who see me outside flee from me. (12) I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. (13) For I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side; While they take counsel together against me, They scheme to take away my life. (14) But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
This is where we must be careful. There are different kinds of what we call “venting” and the greatest majority of them are self-indulgent and are NOT following faith, but are the results of an over-focus on our problems and a lack of faith.
What David is doing here is very much like a scenario when a woman has a pipe under the sink break and begin to fill the kitchen with water. She contacts her husband who tells her how to shut off the water supply, and then she mops up the kitchen and dries all the stuff that was under the sink in the cabinet, but she still cannot use her kitchen and all is in disarray. Then her husband comes home with dinner he picked up on the way home, he fixes the sink and helps put everything back in order – so that everything is back to normal and the kitchen is clean. Sometimes, the wife might still need to collapse in his arms and explain the frustration of her day and maybe even cry a little – even though everything is better now. Her words and tears are not from worry or anxiety, but are never-the-less necessary to let it all go…and he is a refuge and place of safety for her. This is what David is here doing….
It reminds us of Psalm 62…
Psa 62:5-12, NKJV “(5) My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. (6) He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. (7) In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. (8) Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah (9) Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. (10) Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. (11) God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. (12) Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.”
David now, re-gathers his heart and voices his dependence upon God.
(15) My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. (16) Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
(17) Do not let me be ashamed, O LORD, for I have called upon You;
- My times are in your control – be my deliverance
- Out of your great mercy let me see Your face which is where my salvation comes
- Do not let me be an unfruitful and barren land – because I’ve called upon You.
On the other hand, (this part we can skip under the new covenant – pray blessings and influence towards repentance instead)
Let the wicked be ashamed; Let them be silent in the grave. (18) Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
David begins to rejoice in God – seeing Him as his place of safety and salvation…
(19) Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! (20) You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues.
This is the only part of the Psalm that appears as if it was written after the events here described. It is not only a praise of God’s Mercy, Strength and Deliverance but an appeal to all who will listen to themselves place their trust wholeheartedly in God – believing with both faith and experiential knowledge that God is NEVER a vain place for your trust!
(21) Blessed be the LORD, For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
(22) For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You. (23) Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. (24) Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.
There is more information in the audio/video of the actual message. I hope you listen, learn and enjoy!
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