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FRAMEWORKS: Psalm 31: Prayers for Deliverance & Confidence in God


For the director of music. A psalm of David.


[Preliminary Comments: A song composed by David when he senses a trap [v.4], and an enemy against him [v.8] and yet it seems his greatest feeling is physical anguish brought on, first of all by the general anguish he feels [v.7,9,10] that is obvious to onlookers who demean him [v.11-13]. Nevertheless, as he prays, faith rises in him and he declares his trust in the Lord [v.14,15]. This does not stop him praying for help [v.16-18] but having done that, again faith rises in him and he declares his confidence in the Lord again having known his deliverance in the past [v.19-22] and ends up exhorting all God's people to love and trust the Lord and remain strong in Him [v.23,24]. A roller-coaster of a psalm which we'll consider again at the end.]


v.1-5 A series of petitions


v.1  In you, Lord , I have taken refuge;
     let me never be put to shame;
     deliver me in your righteousness.
v.2   Turn your ear to me,
     come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
     a strong fortress to save me.
v.3  Since you are my rock and my fortress,
     for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
v.4   Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
     for you are my refuge.
v.5  Into your hands I commit my spirit;
     deliver me, Lord , my faithful God.


v.6-8 David contrasts himself with the godless & rejoices in his security


v.6  I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
     as for me, I trust in the Lord .
v.7  I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
     for you saw my affliction
     and knew the anguish of my soul.
v.8  You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
     but have set my feet in a spacious place.


v.9,10 Yet he still awaits physical healing and cries to the Lord for help


v.9  Be merciful to me, Lord , for I am in distress;
     my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
     my soul and body with grief.
v.10  My life is consumed by anguish
     and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
     and my bones grow weak.

v.11-13 He's aware of enemies and those who deride him


v.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.
v.12  I am forgotten as though I were dead;
     I have become like broken pottery.
v.13  For I hear many whispering,
     “Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
     and plot to take my life.


v.14,15 Yet he declares his trust in the Lord


v.14  But I trust in you, Lord;
     I say, “You are my God.”
v.15  My times are in your hands;
     deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
     from those who pursue me.

v.16-18 Fourfold petition


v.16  Let your face shine on your servant;
     save me in your unfailing love.
v.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.
v.18   Let their lying lips be silenced,
     for with pride and contempt
     they speak arrogantly against the righteous.


v.19,20 His confidence in God's good provision


v.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.
v.20  In the shelter of your presence you hide them
     from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
     from accusing tongues.


v.21,22 Praise for the deliverance he has so far received


v.21  Praise be to the Lord ,
     for he showed me the wonders of his love
     when I was in a city under siege.
v.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.


v.23,24 A call to all God's people to be faithful, true and strong


v.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.
v.24  Be strong and take heart,
     all you who hope in the Lord .



[Additional Thoughts: As we said a roller-coaster of a psalm, going up and down systematically:

v.1-5 : (Going down) Petitions coming out of anguish for his situation

v.6-8 : (a short upward turn) Declarations of his differences from the godless

v.9,10 : (Going down again) Petitions from feeling physically and emotionally low

v.11-13: (Still down) Anguish over his enemies

v.14,15 : (Going up) Declaration of trust

v.16-18 : (A trough) Prayer petitions

v.19,20 : (Going up) Declarations of confidence

v.21,22 : (Still going up) Praise for deliverances

v.23,24 : (The peak) Exhorting all God's people.

Again we should note, as often occurs with David, he pours out his heart in anguish over his life-situations but as he does faith rises in him which we see in his declarations. A good model to emulate!]



Continue to Psa 32