It is unclear as to when David wrote this Psalm because of his amalgamated expressions. David was a fugitive most of his life and even amidst his trouble, he often found peace in the presence of God. Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God (John 11:40)?” Martha did not see her brother coming to life by faith but by seeing it after he came to life along with all others who did not know Jesus. Jesus told her that if she believed, she should not have been worried about the foul odour, as she should have known by faith that her brother was alive. Likewise, by faith, David understood the redeeming power of God in his hopeless situations.
In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,Psalms 31:1-4
for you are my refuge.
David counted himself as a refugee to find refuge in God’s dwelling place. A refugee is someone who loses complete trust in his current place and decides to seek shelter in a secured haven. Amidst a tumultuous situation, David trusted the guarding hands of God and hid under His wings. He did not count on his righteousness but relied on the love of God. After we have been made righteous through His grace, we often rely on our deeds. Long before the provision of His righteousness came to light, David could see this treasure stored in heaven through faith and declared that it was not his righteousness but God’s righteousness that had delivered him from eternal death.
He felt secure in the hands of God and understood that God would not let him down, not because of his worthiness but because of His namesake. In the book of Isaiah, God warned people not to take His silence to mean that they could continue sinning as He is silent for His namesake (Isaiah 48:9-11). David asked God to keep him away from the trap laid by his enemies. Do we ask God for his protection from our enemy, the devil, or do we compromise with the devil, fearing the consequences? Let us resist the devil standing on the word of God.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;Psalms 31:5-8
deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, I trust in the LORD.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
We should commit our spirit to the hands of God to get free from sin and its consequences. Every time we sin, we become debtors to the devil, and in turn, the devil accuses us of being guilty of the death penalty. The scriptures say that when we were dead in our sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh, God made us alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14). David learned to commit his spirit, not at his last breath but even when alive.
While reading Luke 23:46 and Acts 7:59, we think that Jesus and Stephen were quoting Psalm 31:5. Why do we regard so? Because for us, the word of God is just a quote, but for the Psalmist, Jesus, and Stephen, His word was their life to accomplish the will of God, and hence they spoke it spontaneously. Do we still quote the word of God, or do we make the word of God our life and proclaim them from our hearts spontaneously?
When we learn to live by His word, we will discern the difference between the lifeless words and the life-giving word (John 6:63&68). Then we will come to know that no part of our life is unknown to God, and as He is aware of them, He will control them.
When we do not commit our spirit to God, our flesh will not allow us to accomplish the purpose of God in our lives. Jacob had a wonderful experience of God giving him a spacious place, as he believed in His unlimited provision and happily allowed his enemies to grab the wells he dug. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarrelled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the LORD has given us a room, and we will flourish in the land (Genesis 26:22).” The Psalmist’s understanding of this spacious space was God’s protection from his enemies. When we commit our spirit to God, we will inherit eternity in a better place, the kingdom of God.
Approaching God In Distress
Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress;Psalms 31:9-13
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.
Old age, ailments, and the treacherous acts of our fellow people are common factors that cause us to groan, and groaning adds agony to our lives and makes us weak, helpless, and lose hope. This Psalm reminds us that if we commit our spirit to God, we will have confidence in the time of perils. Moreover, our sins separate us from God, and guilt gives us fear and keeps us from approaching God. To remove this fear, we should understand that God already knows our sins and wants us to be genuine in our relationship with Him.
The devil separates us from God and from people who love us to make us feel lonely in our lives. The devil creates misunderstanding among our associates and makes them hate us. He did the same when he used Job’s own friends to make him feel lonely, forsaken and helpless. Most of the time devil fails in his mission, and the people of God come even closer to God because of the devil’s strategy. But people who think they know God when they do not know Him, the devil torments them using their solitary condition. We are not loners in this world as God is always with us.
The devil opens our ears to wicked people’s voices and instils fear of our future. Even the loving words of our close associates appear to accuse us of nothing, and people gradually get depressed. We often hear the plans of anti-christian elements and are afraid of being targeted. Upcoming plans of any organization or Government may threaten our future hope. The Psalmist did not allow such things to happen in his life, and he immediately made everything known to God, the giver of hope.
Our Times Are In His Hands
But I trust in you, LORD;Psalms 31:14-18
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame, LORD,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
Despite the dreadful situation, the Psalmist trusted the Lord because he knows that the time of our lives is in the mighty hands of God. The time of every living being on this earth is in the hands of God, and he decides their dwelling place and time (Acts 17:26). God keeps our times in His hand and assures us that He is in complete control. Often we think that devil has overpowered God and has brought adversities in our lives. God is all-powerful, and the devil shivers in His presence. Knowing this truth will help us in many ways to depend on Him, regardless of our vulnerable situations.
The radiant from the face of God shining on us is the greatest blessing in this life. God asked His servants to bless His people by asking praying to Him to shine His face on them (Numbers 6:24-26). If we spend time in His presence, our faces will also glow. As Moses spent forty days and nights with God, his face gleamed, and people could not look at him.
David, many a time experienced the love of God and knew that God would not put him to shame. David could not tolerate people abusing God (1 Samuel 17:26). He could not withstand people who come against innocent people (2 Samuel 4:11). What is our reaction towards people who abuse innocent people and thereby their Creator?
How abundant are the good thingsPsalms 31:19-20
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
We get used to our problems and fail to understand the abundant provision of God. In this world, we compete with each other because the resources are less. In His Kingdom, the resources are plenty, and He gives them to each of us. For example, in Revelation 3:21, God promises to make us sit on His throne, which means that all the children of God can sit on it. In Jesus’s parable, the labourers in the vineyard received equal wages. God gives His children a safe dwelling place to praise Him all the more.
The proportion of difficult times with good times in our lives will be lesser. The Scriptures call it a light momentary affliction (2 Corinthians 4:17). Unfortunately, we stretch our difficulties as a life-threatening ocean and sink in them. The love of God and the grace of Jesus provides us with abundant life. Paul told the Corinthians to sync with His everlasting life and not with momentary affliction so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life (2 Corinthians 5:4). Not knowing the provision of the abundant life, we stick with our perishable lives.
Do we have fellowship with our God in our dwelling place, or do we invite people to have a good time together? Only when we are with God; our dwelling place will become secured. The people who come against us in one way will flee through seven directions, and we will condemn the accusing tongues (Isaiah 54:17).
The LORD Preserves Those Who Are True To Him
Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
Love the LORD, all his faithful people!Psalms 31:21-24
The LORD preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.
God saved us when we were in a place under siege. He gave us His Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 5:5). God never shifts His eyes from us, He watches us consistently and cares more than we care for ourselves.
The entire Bible portrays the love of God but only a few authors of the Bible ask the people to love God. David loved God so much that he asked all the saints to love Him, to experience His goodness. Loving God pleases Him, and he gives us strength. Our love is a joy to our God and His joy is our strength. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). As Jesus asked Peter, do you love me, he asks us the same today if we love Him? Not loving God is the reason for the struggle we face in our lives.
God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble (James 4:6). God loves us and saves our souls, and loving God preserves our salvation for eternity. God intended to save the life of Job and told Satan not to touch his life. Job loved God and guarded His soul to receive a double measure of blessings. Loving God will keep our salvation secure and when our salvation is secured, we should encourage others to be strong and take heart.
God, help us love you with all our heart and with all our strength.