Psalm 31 is a song of trust.
At a time when his enemies are attacking his character and even his friends have betrayed him, David turns to God for help.
David takes refuge in God.
David prays and appeals to God, his rock of refuge and his strong fortress, for specific help in this time of crisis.
In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness. (v. 1)
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; (v. 2a)
Be my rock of refuge; a strong fortress to save me. (v. 2b)
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me. (v. 3)
Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge. (v. 4)
David trusts God completely.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
Redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth. (v. 5)
David trusts the God of truth to defend him against the lies of his enemy. He trusts God to redeem, or buy back, his reputation. David commits himself to God, relinquishing control and resting in His hands. David trusts God with the outcome.
I trust in the LORD. (v. 6b)
David remembers God’s faithfulness in the past.
Even in this time of difficulty, David finds joy in God’s love as he remembers how God rescued him from his enemies in the past.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set me feet in a spacious place. (v. 7-8)
David asks God for help in the present.
Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress…(v. 9)
David’s distress is so intense, he uses the words sorrow, grief, anguish, groaning, and affliction to describe it.
David’s distress is physical.
My strength fails because of my affliction, and
my bones grow weak. (v. 10b)
David’s distress is emotional.
Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends –
those who see me on the street flee from me. (v. 11)
In his pain, David feels forgotten, slandered, and afraid for his life.
What does he do?
David renews his trust in God.
But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands; (v. 14-15a)
Here again, David makes the turn from his circumstances to place his trust in God.
I am under attack.
But I trust in you.
My friends have forgotten me.
But I trust in you.
You aren’t just a god. You aren’t just the God.
You are my God. I belong to you.
David’s feelings, no matter how painful, cannot change the truth that his life is in God’s trustworthy hands.
David celebrates God’s goodness and protection.
David receives the benefits of taking refuge in God, of committing his spirit to God’s hands.
How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on all those who take refuge in you. (v. 19)
The very ones who are attacking David will one day see God’s goodness on display in David’s life.
Until then, David is safe in God’s presence, protected from the accusation and schemes of his enemies.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men;
in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. (v. 20)
David praises God for hearing his prayer.
Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed his wonderful love to me…
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. (v. 21-22)
Initially, David’s circumstances made him feel cut off from God. But God showed His wonderful love to David and heard his cry for mercy.
David returns that love to God, places his hope in Him, and finds strength.
Love the LORD, all his saints! (v. 23)
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (v. 24)
Father, you are my rock and fortress. I trust in You. My times are in Your hands. All of my days belong to You. Into Your hands I commit my spirit. Redeem me. My hope is in You. Amen.