JUST AS I AM
Lord, my life would be much worse without You.
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.
Have you ever experienced God as your refuge, rock, and fortress? Take time to thank him for these times.
As you read this psalm, did you find yourself wondering, “Is David happy or sad?” The opening verses make it clear he’s in some kind of trouble (again!), and he develops this theme throughout the psalm. There are further complicating features: David knows he is partly to blame; as he says, “my strength fails because of my iniquity” (10, ESV). However, as we read on it seems the trouble is past (21,22) and that God has brought him to “a spacious place” (8). So, which is it, happy or sad?
The answer seems to be both, and that conclusion helps us to understand the main point of the psalm. Sometimes we may think, “If I follow God, wouldn’t things turn out better for me than if I had not?” The answer depends on how we define “better.” David has trouble, conflict, enemies and real danger throughout his life—but he isn’t on his own. He knows the Lord continues to be his refuge, rock and fortress (2,3). No matter what happens, David has the inner confidence of knowing that God is there. I’ve discovered that the times of trial in my life are often the times that I feel closest to God. It’s the bittersweet joy of hard times.
Perhaps the pivotal words in this psalm are those that Jesus quoted on the cross, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (5). That’s the heart cry of a person who, in spite of the worst circumstances, has learned to trust God completely. How wonderful to know we can turn to him “just as I am,” not when our lives are less messy, not when we have no troubles, not even when we have no sin. We, too, can experience God as our refuge, rock and fortress any time we sincerely turn to him.
Sing or hum the hymn “Amazing Grace” as your concluding prayer.
Lord, my confidence rests in the knowledge that You are my refuge, rock, and fortress and that You will never leave me.