HANG IN THERE
Renew your commitment to serve God and him alone today.
Read Psalm 31
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 In you, 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 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, 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 given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,[b]
and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
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, Lord,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
19 How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
21 Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
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 faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
a Psalm 31:1 In Hebrew texts 31:1-24 is numbered 31:2-25.
b Psalm 31:10 Or guilt
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAs you look around, what causes you pain? What do you find puzzling or disturbing?
According to the heading, David wrote this psalm, but it fits well with the struggles we have just been reading about. Jeremiah echoes the words of verse 13 (Jer. 6:25; 20:3). Israel was clinging to worthless idols (6). There were those who trusted in God (14), but, same as here, the overall story was one of godlessness.
So how does this psalm speak into our situations? Like David and like Jeremiah, we feel the pressure and pain of living among those who have no time for God, who chase the idols of money, status, sex or anything else that takes their fancy. The casual and ubiquitous “O my God,” or in social media terms “OMG,” is a painful reminder that despite the words, few people take God seriously. How do we respond?
We acknowledge the pain of living among those who live counter to the psalmist’s call to trust God for our own protection (14), live in the hope that God will bring blessing (19–21), encourage others to remain true to God (23) and tell our faith story as David did.
God will bring us through. But it may not be an easy road. Sometimes there seems no way forward (10–14), and all we can do is hang on and leave it with God.
Do you find it hard to serve God in our godless culture? How can you set boundaries that will help you walk in obedience to God rather than joining in with the world?
Ask God to keep you true to him. If you are finding it hard to trust him, ask for his strength.
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