Read Psalm 31
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, I trust in the Lord.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbours
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
17 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.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
19 How abundant are the good things
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.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
21 Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
22 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.
23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
This is a Psalm full of prayer, distress, pleading, praise and hope. I can relate to some parts of this Psalm of King David and yet many parts seem full on and truly beyond any experience of mine.
So, I find it amazing and wonderful that King David finishes with verses 23-24. These verses are statements, not pleas, and they’re said to the people, not just for himself. He says it to his people because he knows it. Love the LORD. Trust Him. He is a solid rock and refuge in the midst of chaos and storms.
However, the commentator Christopher Ash says that this Psalm is first David’s, then supremely belongs to Jesus, and only then belongs to us, “in Christ” as the people of the King (Psalms for You commentary).
It probably comes as no surprise but Jesus quoted the first part of verse 5 as he took His last breaths on the cross (Luke 23:46). The verses of this Psalm (much like Psalm 22) speak volumes of Jesus. As He died the death we deserve on the cross He committed Himself to His Father, and as the good Father raised Jesus to life again and took Him to rule at His right hand, we can imagine Jesus singing verses 23-24, and we with Him as His redeemed, forgiven people.
By Ian Coutts (Families Pastor & Gospel Community Vision Coordinator)
Read this Psalm through Jesus eyes and consider verses like verse 5, verses 14-15 and verses 23-24. What do you think this meant for Him? What does this Psalm mean for you in light of Jesus perfect sacrifice for His people?