1 For the director of music. A psalm of David.
In you, O 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 Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; 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 handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my 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; I am a dread to my friends—those who see me on the street flee from me. 12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. 13 For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and 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, O LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave. 18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
19 How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. 20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. 21 Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city. 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 saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full. 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.
Psalm 31 – At times it can be very hard
(Verses 1-5) This multi-prayer of David starts from the truth of the words ‘In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge.’ A man who sees his sin and repents to receive mercy and cleansing, is forgiven by his trust in Jesus as his sole Sin-bearer, Saviour and Sovereign. Jesus becomes his eternal refuge against the world, the flesh and the devil. What blessings has he now in Christ? Liberty from shame, righteous freedom from sin and from judgment. God’s ear ever-open for him. Having a rock-solid, strong fortress, being built and hidden in Christ. He is led and guided for the sake of Jesus. Set free from ensnaring traps. So, he now commits his spirit into the Lord’s hands and asks his ‘God of truth’ to still ‘redeem’ him (‘buy him back’) from sin and shame. He is Christ’s, bought by Him.
(Verses 6-8) Now he hates idolatry, but he loves rejoicing and joy in the Lord’s love that overcomes affliction, anguish, and enemy victory. He is in a ‘spacious place’.
(Verses 9-13) Yet it can be very hard. He is weak and sick. This worsens his distress, sorrow, grief, anguish, groaning and affliction. Neighbours treat him with contempt. Friends avoid and forget him. Many slander him as ‘broken pottery.’ His conspiring enemies now try to take his life.
(Verses 14-18) But he trusts in God to free him again. He is in His hands and timing. He repeats detailed prayers for previous blessings from God and against his foes.
(Verses 19-22) Expecting God’s help, he thanks God for who God is and for His past help and blessings. An excellent practice!
(Verses 23-24) David now urges all set apart for God to love Him, be strong and take heart’, as they ‘hope in the LORD.’