2038.) Psalm 31

Psalm 31 (NIV)

An interesting feature of this Psalm is that it is often quoted in other passages of Scripture.

  • The author of Psalm 71 (possibly David himself) quotes the first three verse of Psalm 31 to start Psalm 71.
  • Jonah seems to quote Psalm 31:6 in Jonah 2:8, his prayer from the belly of the great fish.
  • Jeremiah quoted Psalm 31:13 six times, in Jeremiah 6:25; 20:3; 20:10; 46:5; 49:29, and Lamentations 2:22. 
  • Paul quoted Psalm 31:24 in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (according to Clarke this is more clear in the Septuagint).
  • Most significantly, Psalm 31:5 was quoted by Jesus Christ on the cross as His final words before yielding His life (Luke 23:46). Stephen, the first martyr of the church, also alluded to Psalm 31:5 (Acts 7:59).

–David Guzik

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.

martin-luther-9389283-1-402

Early in the 16th Century, a German monk and seminary professor named Martin Luther taught through the Psalms, verse-by-verse at the University of Wittenberg. In his teaching he came upon this statement in Psalm 31:1 (31:2 in German). The passage confused him; how could God’s righteousness deliver him? The righteousness of God -– His great justice –- could only condemn him to Hell as a righteous punishment for his sins.

One night up in a tower in the monastery, Luther thought about this passage in the Psalms and also read Romans 1:17:  For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed. Luther said he thought about this day and night, until he finally understood what the righteousness of God revealed by the gospel is. It is not speaking of the holy righteousness of God that condemns the guilty sinner, but of the God-kind of righteousness that is given to the sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ.

Luther said of this experience: “I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise . . . This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven.” Martin Luther was born again, and the reformation began in his heart. One great Lutheran scholar said this was “The happiest day in Luther’s life.”

–David Guzik

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 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.

5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 31:5 — Into Thine hand I commit my spirit:  Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

Do you ever find prayer difficult because of tiredness or dryness?  When that is so, it is an immense help to let the Psalms and hymns we know by heart say themselves or sing themselves inside us.  This is possible anywhere and at any time.

We can’t be mistaken in using this easy, open way of prayer, for our Lord Jesus used it.  His very last prayer, when He was far too tired to pray as He usually did, was Psalm 31:5.  Every Jewish mother used to teach her child to say those words as a good-night prayer.

Hymns, little prayer-songs of our own, even the simplest of them, can sing us into His love.  Or more truly, into the consciousness of his love, for we are never for one moment out of it.

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
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.

“Hagar and the Angel in the Desert,” by James Tissot, 1896 (The Jewish Museum, New York)

“Hagar and the Angel in the Desert,” by James Tissot, 1896 (The Jewish Museum, New York)

Genesis 16:7, 13 (NIV)

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur . . .

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me.”

8 You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.

9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.

10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.

11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.

12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.

Psalm 31:12 (CEV)

I am completely forgotten

like someone dead.

I am merely a broken dish.

13 For I hear the slander of many;
there is terror on every side;
they conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”

Faith and prayer must go together.  He that believes, let him pray—I believe, therefore I have spoken; and he that prays, let him believe;  for the prayer of faith is the prevailing prayer.

–Matthew Henry

15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from my enemies
and 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, O LORD,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and lie silent in the grave.

18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

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

21 Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.

_________________________

Music:

So many stories in the Bible of God answering the prayers of desperate people! Are you feeling trapped in a “besieged city” now? Call to the Lord for help.  HERE  is “You Are My Hiding Place”  by Selah.

_________________________

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 saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.

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

Ps31 v24

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
verses 14-15.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/preview_psalm31_14-15.jpg
Martin Luther.    http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-9389283
face of Jesus.    http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/Stations/images/hface.jpg
Tissot.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/hagar_desert.jpg
“Broken Dishes” by Jean Cannon.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/31-brokendishes.jpg
prayer and faith.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/31-prayer-and-faith-umbrella2.jpg
“Deep Roots”  oil painting by Jimmy King.   http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/deep-roots-jimmy-king.jpg
He shall strengthen your heart.    http://alittleperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/psa-31-24-ww-wall-900×600.jpg
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