*The second of two devotionals.
Scripture reading – Psalm 31
* (This devotional will focus only on the introductory verses of Psalm 31.)
Instead of turning to the LORD, 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.
Where do you turn when all seems against you? Where do you go for comfort and hope when your heart is breaking? When adversaries attack your character and friends betray you, how do you respond? Those are provoking questions, but the Scriptures give us an excellent answer to our queries.
Assailed by trials and troubles, David turned to the LORD! (Psalm 31)
I invite you to consider five requests in David’s prayer (31:1-3) that may serve as a model for our prayers amid worries and anxieties (31:1b-3).
David’s first request was, “Let me never be ashamed;” literally, let me never be confounded or have cause for shame. (31:1)
David declared: “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]” (Psalm 31:1)
David prayed, “Deliver me in thy righteousness” (31:1b). He did not reason that he merited the LORD coming to his defense; instead, he petitioned God based on the LORD’s “righteousness”—for He is holy, just, gracious and merciful.
David appealed to the Lord to hear his prayer: “Bow down thine ear to me” (31:2a).
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; defense] rock [refuge; boulder], for an house [home; household] of defence [fortress; castle] to save [deliver; rescue] me.”
David asked the LORD to listen to every word. He was confident that God hears and attends to the prayers of His people.
David prayed, “Deliver me speedily” (31:2b).
I sympathize with his request, especially when the LORD often responds, “Wait.” David longed for the LORD to hear his prayer and hasten to save him from his trouble! Be assured that the LORD answers the prayers of His people; however, He does so in His time.
An excellent 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). Then 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 his 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 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, stronghold, and FORTRESS. He pled to be delivered in the LORD’s name. Longing for God’s direction, he prayed, “Lead me,” like a soldier in the battle against an enemy. Lastly, “guide me,” give me your Word as my guide.
I close with a prayer and promise I often share with those facing a health and well-being crisis. 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” (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,” …and then rest in Him.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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