Scripture reading – Psalm 31
Instead of turning to the LORD, I believe many turn first to their peers when facing trials and troubles. Some vent their disappointments on social media platforms, in search of empathy. Others turn to counselors who lack spiritual discernment, whose analysis may contribute to the temptation to blame-shift and magnify one’s “right” to be angry and bitter.
My question to you, dear reader, is where do you turn when all seems against you? When your heart is breaking, where do you go for comfort and hope? When adversaries attack your character, and friends betray you, how do you respond? Those are provoking questions for us all, but the Scriptures give us a good answer to our queries. Assailed by trials and troubles, David turned to the LORD! (This devotional will focus on the introductory verses of Psalm 31.)
Psalm 31:1 – “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust [confidence]; let me never [lit. never, ever] be ashamed [confounded; confused]: deliver me in thy righteousness [justice; virtue].”
David’s first request was, “let me never be ashamed;” literally, let me never, ever be confounded, or have cause for shame.
David then prayed, “deliver me in thy righteousness” (31:1). He did not reason that he merited the LORD coming to his defense; instead, he appealed to God on the basis of the LORD’s “righteousness”—for the LORD is holy, just, gracious and merciful.
Psalm 31:2 – “Bow down [incline; stretch out; turn] thine ear to me; deliver [recover; rescue; save] me speedily [quickly; with haste]: be thou my strong [fortress; defence] rock [refuge; boulder], for an house [home; household] of defence [fortress; castle] to save [deliver; rescue] me.”
David then appealed to the Lord to hear his prayer: “Bow down thine ear to me” (31:2a); listen to every word. God hears, and attends to the prayers of His people.
David then prayed, “deliver me speedily” (31:2b). I sympathize with his request, especially when the LORD’S response to my prayers is often, “Wait.” David longed for the LORD to not only hear his prayer, but hasten to save him out of his trouble! The LORD answers the prayers of His people; however, He does so in His time.
A good example of God’s timing being best, was when Jesus received word that his friend Lazarus was sick (John 11:1-3). His sisters supposed the Master would come quickly to heal their brother; however, the opposite was true. We read, Jesus “abode two days still in the same place where he was” (John 11:6). After two days had passed, Jesus announced He would go to his friends in Bethany, saying to His disciples, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth…[and] is dead” (11:11, 14). When He arrived in Bethany, Jesus was met by those who mourned Lazarus’ death (11:17-19). Martha, one of Lazarus’ sisters said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21). The Lord had not come immediately in answer to Martha’s prayers, but He came at the time when His Heavenly Father would be glorified (11:40-42). Remember, the LORD’s answer to prayer is never too late, it’s always right on time!
David’s fifth request was for the LORD to “be [his] strong rock [fortress refuge; boulder], for an house [home; household] of defence [fortress; castle] to save [deliver; rescue] me, 3 For thou art my rock [strong hold; fortress] and my fortress [castle]; therefore for thy name’s [honor; fame; reputation] sake lead [guide; bring] me, and guide [lead; conduct] me.” (31:2b-3).
With confidence and conviction, David claimed the LORD was his ROCK, his stronghold and his FORTRESS. He pled to be delivered for the LORD’s name. Longing for God’s direction, he prayed, “Lead me”, like a soldier that goes into battle against an enemy, and “guide me,” give me your Word as my guide.
I close with a prayer, and promise I often share with those who are facing a crisis of health, and well-being. David prayed: “I trusted [secured; confident; hope] in thee, O LORD: I said [answered; promised], Thou art my God [Elohim; Mighty God]. 15 My times [i.e. seasons of life; appointed times] are in thy hand [consecrated; directed; i.e. in the power of]” (31:14-15a).
I cannot tell you what today, next month, or this year will bring; however, I assure you that God is at the helm of His creation, and your times are in the power of His hand. Pray with David, “I trust in Thee, O LORD for thou art my God!” …and then rest in Him.
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith