Psalm 31 — Confiding in a Close Friend — Reading the Psalms

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed:
Deliver me in thy righteousness.
2 Bow down thine ear unto me; deliver me speedily:
Be thou to me a strong rock, an house of defence to save me.
3 For thou art my rock and my fortress;
Therefore for thy name’s sake lead me and guide me.
4 Pluck me out of the net that they have laid privily for me;
For thou art my strong hold.
5 Into thine hand I commend my spirit:
Thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, thou God of truth.
6 I hate them that regard lying vanities:
But I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy:
For thou hast seen my affliction;
Thou hast known my soul in adversities:
8 And thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
Thou hast set my feet in a large place.
9 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in distress:
Mine eye wasteth away with grief, yea, my soul and my body.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing:
My strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are wasted away.
11 Because of all mine adversaries I am become a reproach,
Yea, unto my neighbours exceedingly, and a fear to mine acquaintance:
They that did see me without fled from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the defaming of many,
Terror on every side:
While they took counsel together against me,
They devised to take away my life.
14 But I trusted in thee, O LORD:
I said, Thou art my God.
15 My times are in thy hand:
Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant:
Save me in thy lovingkindness.
17 Let me not he ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee:
Let the wicked be ashamed, let them be silent in Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be dumb;
Which speak against the righteous insolently,
With pride and contempt.
19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee,
Which thou hast wrought for them that put their trust in thee, before the sons of men!
20 In the covert of thy presence shalt thou hide them from the plottings of man:
Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD:
For he hath shewed me his marvelous lovingkindness in a strong city.
22 As for me, I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes:
Nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
23 O love the LORD, all ye his saints:
The LORD preserveth the faithful,
And plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
All ye that hope in the LORD.

The psalms of the 30s are some of my most favorites. David wrote most of them and they among the most intimate and moving he ever wrote. The sense of dependence and connection with God is specially strong in these psalms. Keep your eyes and ears open as we continue through them together.

David’s words with God – the language of his relationship with God – are intimate and close in this psalm. He almost seems to be confiding in a confidante, not the creator of the cosmos. This friend is the trusted help to David’s difficulties. All David needs to live is God’s secure support and helping hand.

There are a number of great lines and phrases: “terror on every side’ is set in contrast with, “thou hast set my feet in a large place”. The line “I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind … like a broken vessel” is especially acute. God is truly the only one on which David can depend.

Is this not our story, too? Many of the lines of this psalm fit my circumstances. “I said, ‘Thou art my God.’ My times are in thy hands.” This is what our days are, resting in the hand of God, trusting in his true help. Let us use this psalm to grow closer to our friend and savior, our Lord and creator. Let us love the Lord.

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