Where do you turn when everything seems against you? Where do you flee for comfort and hope when circumstances are wretched (Psalm 31:1, 6, 14, 19)? How do you respond when enemies attack your character and friends betray you (31:8, 13, 15, 18, 20)? David in Psalm 31 models the righteous answer to those questions. Today’s devotional will focus on the opening verses of Psalm 31.
Psalm 31:1-3 – “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.
2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
in the midst of a crisis, too many of us seek out the counsel of peers who reflect our struggles and sinful attitudes instead of turning to the LORD. Posts on Facebook become a platform for venting and seeking sympathy. Secular counselors lack spiritual discernment and weigh in with their human analysis, contributing to the temptation to blame shift and magnify our “right” to be angry and bitter.
David’s example in Psalm 31:1-3 challenges us to turn to the LORD and trust Him when we are assailed by trials and troubles! In verse 1 we find the basis of David’s prayer was his faith, confidence and security in the LORD.
Psalm 31:1 – “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust [confidence]; let me never [lit. never ever] be ashamed [confounded;confused; shamed]: deliver [escape; carry away] me in thy righteousness [justice; virtue].”
We find five requests in David’s prayer (31:1b-3). 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 for the LORD to “deliver me in thy righteousness” (31:1). David did not reason that he merited the LORD coming to his defense; instead, he appealed to the LORD on the basis of the LORD’s “righteousness”—knowing 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’s third request was for the Lord to hear his prayer (“Bow down thine ear to me” – 31:2a), literally, to listen to every word. God hears the prayers of His people without regard to their station in life, the offices they hold or their financial status.
Fourthly, David prayed for the LORD to save him, “deliver me speedily” (31:2b). I sympathize with the king’s request for the LORD to not only hear his prayer, but also hasten to save him! Let’s be honest; it often seems the LORD’s answer to our prayers is to wait. The LORD does answer the prayers of His people; however, He does so in His time and in His will. The LORD’s answer to prayer is never too late!
Consider the story in John 11 when Jesus received word that Lazarus; the brother of Martha and Mary, was deathly ill (John 11:1-6). Martha and Mary expected the Lord 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, Jesus announced He would go to his friends who lived in Bethany; sending a panic among the disciples who warned His enemies in Jerusalem plotted to kill Him (John 11:7-8). Knowing Lazarus was dead (John 11:14), Jesus arrived in Bethany and was confronted by those who mourned Lazarus’ death and his sister said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21). You see, the Lord had not answered Martha’s prayers when she deemed it was necessary; instead, we find Jesus had a greater purpose in tarrying: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:4).
David’s fifth request was embodied in his entreaty that the LORD would “be thou my strong [fortress; defence] rock [refuge; boulder], for an house [home; household] of defence [fortress; castle] to save [deliver; rescue] me.”
Psalm 31:3 – “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.”
With confidence and conviction, David’s states that the LORD was his ROCK, his stronghold and FORTRESS. David pled to be saved, not to salvage his name or reputation, but for the LORD’s name.
Notice David’s urgent request for the LORD’s direction (31:3). “Lead me”, like a soldier goes into battle against an enemy, placing his confidence in his commander, David prays, LORD, lead me and I will follow; “guide me”, without your physical presence, give me your Word as my guide.
Dear friend, I don’t know what storms, trials or enemies you are facing, but I urge you to turn to the LORD and trust Him. He hears your prayers, and when it is time, He will answer your cry. Make the LORD your Rock, Fortress and His Word the guiding light of your life.
Psalm 119:81, 105 – “My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word… 105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith