Psalm 31:1-8 A Psalm of Lament by David
Psalm 31:1-8 A “Hand-y” Man, Part 1
Don’t lament but we’re back to another lament psalm. It is a three-parter. This one could have been written at several times in his life. He had problems at Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1–15) and at Ziklag (1 Sam. 30). But since David was closest to being in a “besieged city” (v. 21) was during his bout with his son, Absalom in 2 Sam. 15-18. Counsel was taken against him in 2 Sam. 17 which sounds like verse 13 of this psalm. David was never literally besieged but figurative siege can be bad enough. If you are stuck in a rut, you can probably relate to this psalm.
I felt like I was in a besieged city when we lived in Atlanta years ago. I felt called to the ministry but the roof, well, and the sky, fell in on us as we tried to move from Atlanta to Dallas to go to seminary. And like a meteor had hit us, too, now that I think of it. Don’t expect things to always get better after you obey God. Often, they get worse! I loved the city of Atlanta. It’s been my favorite place to live in my life . . . probably (I don’t want to insult, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, or Illinois). But I felt trapped and we couldn’t get out of town for over a year. So I know a little of how David may have felt.
When we don’t understand why things happen like they do in life, isn’t it a comfort to know we can cuddle in God’s arms and take refuge? Well, maybe cuddle is the wrong term but we certainly can be content to know He is in charge (v. 1, cf. Phil. 4:11)! When we trust in Him, we’ll never come off as a knucklehead (v. 1b, “never be ashamed”). He knew God would never do the wrong thing and would “deliver” him (v. 1c).
The “rock” thing is in verse 2 and 3 again. David mentions God as rock about thirty times in Psalms. Rocks don’t give. They are not malleable. If you fall on a rock, it hurts. Many of them are very hard to move. He asks the “Rock” to rescue, deliver, and guide him (v. 2, 3b).
David trusted God to pull him out of any trap that his enemies might set for him (v. 4). Do you sense others are trying to catch you in something to embarrass you?
Verse 5 is Jesus’ prayer on the cross (Luke 23:46). Satan thought he had trapped the Lord. Boy, was he surprised when He rose from the dead! The trick was on Satan! God “ransomed” Jesus and sprung him from the devil’s trap! Many ancient martyrs quoted something similar to verse 7 before they were killed (cf. Acts 7:59). Andrew Murray, the nineteenth century saint, stated, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”
Non-believers may trust in idols, even American idols, but believers know that God Almighty Himself is protecting them (v. 6). David again relies on Yahweh’s binding, covenantal hesed love (v. 7a). God knows all our pain, affliction and trouble (v. 7b, c).
In the Lord’s model prayer for us, we ask that God deliver us from, literally, the evil one (v. a8, cf. Matt. 6:13). When we feel squeezed in life, God often will respond to our prayers and give us elbow room so we will feel freedom (v. 8b).
We can trust God’s hands (v. 5) or fall into our enemies’ hands (v. 8). We can fall into the “everlasting arms” (cf. Deut. 33:27) or end up in the “pit” (cf. Ps. 30:3).
Proverbs 8:1-11 ONE Job
Wisdom is often personified in Proverbs. Here she is blathering again. At least, if you are a fool, that’s what you’ll think. A fool is another name for an unbeliever in Proverbs (v. 5). If you think about it, that makes sense. My daughter, when she get frustrated with some people, she’ll say, “they had ONE job . . . .” She means, of course, that there was one specific thing they were supposed to do and they messed it up. Fools have ONE job. They are supposed to trust Christ for salvation. They have their whole lives to get it right but, if they remain fools, they don’t get it right.
Wisdom, in the form of a woman, screams out again from the middle of town, right where all the cars are crisscrossing, “Hey! I’m trying to teach you something!” (vv. 4-11). As Steve Martin used to say, “But, noooooooooo.” People don’t listen (implied, cf. v. 36). How many times does Solomon have to tell his kids to listen to his commandments? I guess kids haven’t changed over the years (vv. 25-26).
Everyone believes that happiness is having a lot of stuff. They believe bumper sticker wisdom, “He who dies with the most toys, wins. Actually, the opposite would be true if you’re an unbeliever, wouldn’t it? “He who dies in the most debt, wins.” That would be cheating the system. Of course, Christians won’t think that way. They repay debt (cf. Ps. 37:21).
Wisdom is worth more than silver, gold, or jewels (vv. 10-11). It is in the Scripture that we learn about sitting by still waters (cf. Ps. 23:2), having peace that passes understanding (cf. John 14:27; Phil. 4:8), abundant life (cf. John 10:10) and eternal life (John 17:3).
What does the world give? Tribulation (cf. John 16:33), detritus (cf. Phi. 3: 7-8, “loss,” is literally skubala, garbage), and death (cf. Rom. 6:21).
We have ONE job in life. Listen to what Wisdom has to say.