A Psalm of David.
1 Unto thee, O LORD, will I call;
My rock, be not thou deaf unto me:
Lest, if thou be silent unto me,
I become like them that go down into the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee,
When I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
3 Draw me not away with the wicked,
And with the workers of iniquity;
Which speak peace with their neighbours,
But mischief is in their hearts
4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings:
Give them after the operation of their hands;
Render to them their desert.
5 Because they regard not the works of the LORD,
Nor the operation of his hands,
He shall break them down and not build them up.
6 Blessed be the LORD,
Because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart hath trusted in him, and I am helped:
Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth;
And with my song will praise him.
8 The LORD is their strength,
And he is a strong hold of salvation to his anointed.
9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance:
Feed them also, and bear them up for ever.
In this psalm David asks for two things which I would like to compare. First, he asks that the Lord will not be deaf to his words. Second, he asks not to be drawn away with the wicked. While these two petitions are about different ideas and actions, it strikes me how closely related they are.
First, the Lord’s deaf ear would be like death to David. To be unheard is to be in the pit; if God regards not our words, needs and heart, then we are walking dead. Second, to be drawn with the wicked is to be drawn into destruction. They will receive just fruits and results from their doings, and David wants no part of that. He sees this path to destruction and he wants to avoid it.
Both of these requests are about escaping the pit of destruction and earth. They’re not really about hell, though eternal punishment comes to the wicked after death. Rather, these requests are about living now – about being alive here on earth and living a full life.
To live a rich life David needs the Lord’s ear and the Lord’s direction. He needs God to hear his heart; he needs God to help him walk aright.
This, in turn, leads David to lift his lips in praise. A God who hears and helps is indeed a strength and shield. Even today, when we read this psalm from our heart we pray for God’s salvation for our lives and souls.