Dear Father, I praise you for the gift of power and strength which enables me to stand firm in times of crisis.
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.
- Psalm 31:1 In Hebrew texts 31:1-24 is numbered 31:2-25.
- 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.
Open yourself to God as you read and pray this psalm.
This psalm contains the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross, so it has a special attraction and poignancy for us (v 5).1 Here is the restful certainty of the psalmist in the midst of a host of troubles. Jesus is not the only one to quote this psalm. Jeremiah and Jonah also seem to use it.2 In turn, we can see the psalmist picking up other phrases from Scripture, including the Aaronic blessing in verse 16. Here is the fullness of a life of faith in the light of Scripture and here is the benefit of having phrases of Scripture floating around in our heads to be a comfort in times of distress.
The core of the psalmist’s anxiety is fear of his enemies. While there may be physical attacks, it seems that the main form of attack is verbal: damaging the reputation of the psalmist and causing his neighbors to turn on him. The rhyme that says that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is not true for the psalmist. Verbal assaults produce physical and psychological reactions and the sense that words will soon be followed by hostile actions. In such a situation, the psalmist seeks God’s help and he prays that the wicked will be silenced in death.
Personal experience of the goodness of God is to be shared. The psalmist calls on the whole congregation to love the Lord. Here is a distinction from other religions. Not only do we have a God who loves and cares for us so that we can trust him absolutely but he is also one whom we can love in return. Our times are in his hands, and we have the hope that there is still an abundance of good things he has stored up for us.
Tell the Lord how much you love him.
Patient One, sometimes life seems to make no sense to me. I trust you during such times, assured of being in your good, guiding hand.
1 Luke 23:46 2 Jer 6:25; 20:3; 20:10; 46:5; 49:29; Jonah 2:8,9
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