Thoughts On Psalm 31

This Sunday we will be reading Psalm 31. From various commentators:

The theme permeating the entire psalm is trust and the fulfillment of that trust. The psalmist, lamenting his distress, comes to God in prayer, but even as he prays, his spirit sours upward toward trust in God. That his trust was fulfilled and properly placed becomes evident in the concluding praise and thanksgiving. –Peter Craigie & Marvin Tate

An unusual feature of this psalm is that it makes the journey twice over from anguish to assurance: first in 1-8 and again in 9-24. –Derek Kidner

The psalm has been called a model of prayer that is confident of being heard. This confidence informs the prayer from start to finish; to pray this psalm is to be led into and instructed in this confidence. But the confidence of the prayer is not in any respect a virtue of the one who prays. It is, rather, a possibility that is based on the character of the one to whom the prayer is made. The psalm speaks to the Lord as the ‘el ’emet [God of faithfulness] (v. 5), the God who can be relied on and believed in because he is true to himself and continues always to be what he has shown himself to be.– James L. Mays

God owns his saints when others are ashamed to acknowledge them; he never refuses to know his friends (v. 7b). He thinks not the worse of them for their rags and tatters. He does not misjudge them and cast them off when their faces are lean with sickness, or their hearts heavy with despondency. –Charles Spurgeon

The deepening demoralization of the victim, from gloom to hopelessness (12) and terror (13), shows how murderous is the impact of hatred, especially when it takes the form of rejection. –Derek Kidner

In verse 14, I and thee are emphatic, as David wrests the initiative from his enemies and deliberately turns in a new direction. –Derek Kidner

“My times are in your hand” (v. 15) means: my destiny (the occasions when things happen that determine my life) is in the hand of God. — James L. Mays

As a provident man will regulate his liberality toward all men in such a manner as not to defraud his children or family, nor impoverish his own house by spending his substance prodigally on others; so God, in like manner, in exercising his beneficence to aliens from his family, knows how to reserve for his own children that which belongs to them (v. 19), as it were by hereditary right; that is to say, because of their adoption. –John Calvin

Christian courage (v. 24) may thus be described. It is the undaunted audacity of a sanctified heart in adventuring upon difficulties and undergoing hardships for a good cause upon the call of God. The genus, the common nature of it is an undaunted audacity. –Simeon Ash

The words that Jesus quotes [at Luke 23:46] from Psalm 31 do not express the alarm, distress, and lament that are also present in the psalm, but rather focus on the element of confidence and trust in God. Jesus’ death, accompanied by the words of the psalmist, “Father, into your hand I commend my spirit,” is portrayed as a proactive event, as a gesture of confidence. Since Luke places the passion narrative in Luke 22:37 into the horizon of Isa. 53 [with a quotation from Isa. 53:12], the voluntary nature of Jesus’ death is thus emphasized by the quotation of Ps. 31:5: as the vicarious death of the Suffering Servant in Isa. 53 was compared with the lamb that goes to the altar to be killed as sacrificial victim, so Jesus went to his death voluntarily. –David Pao & Eckhard Schnabel

Why not stop for a moment now and read the psalm itself?


Thoughts on Psalm 28

This Sunday we will be reading Psalm 28. From various commentators:

The thorn at the breast of the nightingale was said by the old naturalists to make it sing: David’s griefs made him eloquent in holy psalmody. The main pleading of this psalm is that the suppliant may not be confounded with the workers of iniquity for whom he expresses the utmost abhorrence; it may suit any slandered saint who, being misunderstood by men, and treated by them as an unworthy character, is anxious to stand aright before the bar of God. — Charles H. Spurgeon

Dear reader, in the time of your trouble, do not roam. Fix your heart as the psalmist did, and say, “Unto thee will I cry.” Oh, how happy is that man, who feels and knows that when trouble comes, he cannot be bewildered and confused by the stroke, no matter how heavy it may be. His is no vague theory of the general sympathy of God for man; his is a knowledge of God, as a personal and feeling God; he says with the psalmist, “Unto thee will I cry.” — Philip Bennett Power

The petition to be helped (verses 3-5) combines a plea not to be dealt with as one of the wicked with a request that the Lord give the wicked what their conduct deserves.– James L. Mays

David, being free from every evil passion, and likewise endued with the spirit of discretion and judgment, pleads here (verses 4-5) not so much for his own cause as the cause of God. And by this prayer, he further reminds both himself and the faithful, that although the wicked may give themselves loose reigns in the commission of every species of vice with impunity for a time, they must at length stand before the judgment-seat of God. –John Calvin

The first half of the psalm prayed for deliverance and for judgment; the second half gives thanks for both. If the poet wrote the psalm at one sitting, then at this point (verse 6) the certainty of being answered dawns upon him. — Keil & Delitzsch

Faith substantiates things not yet seen; it alters the tenses, and puts the future into the present tense as here (verses 6-7). — John Trapp

The pictures of God’s saving power, both active (strength…shepherd) and defensive (shield…refuge), come in profusion now (verses 6-9), enriching the praise; but the solitary metaphor in verse 1, “my rock,” perhaps outbids them all, as the urgent cry of faith under trial. — Derek Kidner

Oh, sweet consolation! If a man have a burden on him, yet if he have strength (verse 7) added to him, if the burden be doubled, yet if his strength be tripled, the burden will not be heavier, but lighter than it was before to his natural strength; so if our afflictions be heavy, and we cry out, “Oh, we cannot bear them!” yet if we cannot bear them with our own strength, why may we not bear them with the strength of Jesus Christ? — Isaac Ambrose

David now (verse 8) builds on the fact that he is more than a private citizen. As the Lord’s anointed (a term which grew into the word Messiah) he stood for his people, and God’s grace must be meant for them as well. –Derek Kidner

The psalm holds the individual, the anointed, and the people of the Lord together in that inseparable unity which belongs to the purpose of God. — James L. Mays

The Lord Jesus may be seen here (verses 8-9) pleading as the representative of his people. — Charles H. Spurgeon

The metaphor of the flock, an everyday feature of Jewish life, pervades the Old Testament. God himself was known as Israel’s Shepherd (verse 9), and his people are the sheep of his pasture. In John 10:1-21 Jesus sees himself as embodying the characteristics and expectations attached to this salvation-historical biblical figure as the Good Shepherd par excellence. — Andreas J. Köstenberger

Why not stop for a moment now and read the psalm itself?