Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Psalm - Chapter 31 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. (A psalm by David for the music leader.) I come to you, LORD, for protection. Don't let me be ashamed. Do as you have promised and rescue me.
    2. Listen to my prayer and hurry to save me. Be my mighty rock and the fortress where I am safe.
    3. You, LORD God, are my mighty rock and my fortress. Lead me and guide me, so that your name will be honored.
    4. Protect me from hidden traps and keep me safe.
    5. You are faithful, and I trust you because you rescued me.
    6. I hate the worshipers of worthless idols, but I trust you, LORD.
    7. I celebrate and shout because you are kind. You saw all my suffering, and you cared for me.
    8. You kept me from the hands of my enemies, and you set me free.
    9. Have pity, LORD! I am hurting and almost blind. My whole body aches.
    10. I have known only sorrow all my life long, and I suffer year after year. I am weak from sin, and my bones are limp.
    11. My enemies insult me. Neighbors are even worse, and I disgust my friends. People meet me on the street, and they turn and run.
    12. I am completely forgotten like someone dead. I am merely a broken dish.
    13. I hear the crowds whisper, "Everyone is afraid!" They are plotting and scheming to murder me.
    14. But I trust you, LORD, and I claim you as my God.
    15. My life is in your hands. Save me from enemies who hunt me down.
    16. Smile on me, your servant. Have pity and rescue me.
    17. I pray only to you. Don't disappoint me. Disappoint my cruel enemies until they lie silent in their graves.
    18. Silence those proud liars! Make them stop bragging and insulting your people.
    19. You are wonderful, and while everyone watches, you store up blessings for all who honor and trust you.
    20. You are their shelter from harmful plots, and you are their protection from vicious gossip.
    21. I will praise you, LORD, for showing great kindness when I was like a city under attack.
    22. I was terrified and thought, "They've chased me far away from you!" But you answered my prayer when I shouted for help.
    23. All who belong to the LORD, show how you love him. The LORD protects the faithful, but he severely punishes everyone who is proud.
    24. All who trust the LORD, be cheerful and strong.

Psalms - Chapter 31

Entered: November 04, 2008
Another psalm of David evidently written in a time of great distress. However a strong confidence in the Lord overrides the distress. The first verses express an urgency - "rescue me quickly." But the faith of the psalmist is there as well. He says, "You will free me from the net that is secretly set for me, for You are my refuge." Then follows one of the best statements of faith of the psalm, found in verse 5, "Into Your hand I entrust my spirit." Why is David so confident in the Lord's deliverance? Verses 7-8 - "You have known the troubles of my life and have not handed me over to the enemy." In verses 9-13 we read the heart of David's distress. His life is consumed with grief, he says. He is an object of dread to his acquaintances, and there are plots against his life. But he confesses, "my strength has failed because of my sinfulness." It is not the pouring out of David's distress, though, that makes uip the main portion of this psalm. It is instead the outpouring of his faith in God and praise for His goodness. He says, "I trust in You, Lord," and "The course of my life is in Your power." He pleads, "do not let me be disgraced," and praises, "How great is Your goodness." David concludes with words of encouragement for who are people of faith. "Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD."

Entered: December 09, 2013

The psalm begins with David's statement of confidence in the Lord as his "rock and my fortress." For the Lord leads and guides him and therefore He will "free me from the net that is secretly set for me." Then he firmly states, "Into Your hand I entrust my spirit." This is not a blind trust, however, for David had already had much experience with the Lord in the face of affliction. The Lord had seen his affliction and known his troubles and had "not handed me over to the enemy. You have set my feet in a spacious place." (31:8)

Having stated his confidence in the Lord as his refuge, David then voiced his petition. "Be gracious to me, LORD, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from angry sorrow--my whole being as well." With more detail he goes into his plight. Then comes the reality of his situation as it is for anyone in any situation, "The course of my life is in Your power." (31:15) It is not circumstances themselves or evil people or even Satan who holds our lives in their control, but it is God who has our lives in His power. Therefore, David asked that God, in His power, deliver him from the power of his enemies. His power trumps their power if He will only act on David's behalf. There was no formula necessary for David to follow or ritual to enact for God to fullfil his request for help. It was God's faithful love on which he was depending and upon which he merely needed to call upon.

God does not force Himself upon us or act without our permission. In verse 19 he says, "How great is Your goodness that You have stored up . . . and accomplished in the sight of everyone." For whom does He exercise His goodness? For those who fear Him and who take refuge in Him. He does not exercise His goodness and power for those who do not have confidence in Him or want His help. Nor does He use His attributes to entice people to come to Him. They are reserved for those who take refuge in Him.

I especially identify with verse 22 in which David says, "In my alarm I had said, "I am cut off from Your sight." In time of distress I sometimes ask myself why I am so troubled by the situation if my trust is truly in the Lord. But it is my alarm at the situation that has triggered my distress and worry. However, when I take it to the Lord and keep going back, my confidence in Him begins to override my distress.

Let us take David's closing words to heart. Let us put our hope in the Lord and then be strong and courageous.