GOD BREAKS HIS SILENCE
Lord, I believe that You hear me when I pray.
Read PSALM 28
1 To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.
3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
but harbor malice in their hearts.
4 Repay them for their deeds
and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back on them what they deserve.
5 Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord
and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
and never build them up again.
6 Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
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.
“We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!… Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation, / our Prince of glory and our King of love” (Edith G. Cherry, 1872–1897).
“It’s not fair!” is the cry of the child when a sibling or friend seems to be enjoying preferential treatment. An inherent sense of justice seems to be part of being human. Here the psalmist cries out to his seemingly silent Lord: surely it would be unfair if the writer, who has been faithful, were punished along with those who are hypocrites (3), practice evil (4) and have no appreciation of the Lord’s acts of salvation for them (5)!
But notice that there is a dramatic change of tone halfway through the psalm, a frequent feature in psalms of lament. Contrast “Hear my cry” (2) with “he has heard my cry” (6). During his time of prayer, although the situation has not yet changed, the psalmist receives the assurance that God has indeed heard his plea. Have there been times when this has been your experience?
Two images used to describe the Lord in this psalm are also found in Psalm 18:2: “rock” (1) and “fortress” (8). To these are added “strength,” “shield” (7) and “shepherd” (9). Consider each image: what does it communicate to you about the character of God and how we can experience his help in different trying situations?
In verse 8, the writer is identified as God’s “anointed one,” the king of Israel. His experience of God as “strength,” “fortress of salvation” and “shepherd” is extended to the entire nation. The psalms rarely allow us to stay with a confined, individual faith: they frequently draw out the implications of the writer’s experience and apply them to all of the people of God. How could your experience of God’s silences and his answers to prayer be used to benefit other believers?
Give thanks for when your prayers have been heard. Pray for those for whom God seems to be silent, including yourself if that is your present experience.
Lord, teach me how to continue in faith even though it may at times seem that You are oblivious to my situation.
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