The Book of Psalms Bible Study Psalm 31

Psalm 31 

This psalm speaks of G-d as the G-d of truth. If we want to be one of those who expect G-d’s assistance, provision etc then we need to approach Him and call upon Him as individuals who have submitted to His truth. When we submit to the truth of G-d we can expect the enemy to move against us in order to turn us from truth. G-d, however, is greater than our enemies (natural or supernatural enemies). 

v1: “put my trust” – most other translations say: “I have taken refuge”. David decided that he was going to trust G-d and he found protection in G-d. In David’s faith journey he reached a point where he could (with assurance) take comfort in the fact that G-d had promised to deliver him. 

  • Because David took refuge in the L-rd he will never be ashamed (cause and effect) – David will not be one of those who G-d is displeased with. 
  • When we are saved it is not possible to be uninterested in the righteousness of G-d. If we were uninterested in righteousness then we would not be “IN HIM”. And if we are not in Him then we have no hope of deliverance. 

v2: One of the benefits of being in a new covenant relationship with G-d is that we can be assured that He hears us (bows/turns His ear) and He responds (quickly!) to deliver us. This deliverance has to do with a restoration – we are delivered/restored in order to walk in the righteous standards of G-d so that we can accomplish HIS purposes. 

  • As has been explained a few times: The word “Rock” (foundation) is related to Messiah – Yeshua. A good foundation gives strength to a building. 
  • a fortress/citadel – a fortified place where soldiers live in safety and with full assurance of protection.. 
  • Save me – the children of Israel were not saved out of Egypt because they didn’t want to be there. They were saved for a purpose – to leave behind their old oppressive ways of life in order to worship G-d. This is the same concept of what salvation means for us. We are saved for a purpose. Through redemption we become the people of G-d – in order for His purposes to be fulfilled. Salvation is based upon a desire not just to escape punishment, not just to go to heaven when we die, but it is based on a desire to serve G-d – no longer living in sin but living in righteousness.

v3: Name is synonymous with character. G-d’s name = G-d’s character. 

  • The two words used at the end of this sentence are probably more accurately translated “lead/guide me and administrate/manage me.” (ie G-d leads us but he also handles our daily affairs – every aspect of our lives. He’s the “keeper of our diaries” so to speak)

v4: Pull me out – set me free/release me. 

  • A net surrounds and hems in, prevents escape. David is having problems on all sides.
  • G-d is our strength. He empowers us to get free from our enemies so that we can fulfil His purposes.

v5: ‘My spirit’ is speaking of my soul – the essence of who I am. All of who we are and what we have we place into G-d’s hands (like making a deposit, of everything that we own, into the bank). “Hand’ is a word that speaks of authority. Everything is placed under G-d’s authority. David submits to G-d’s authority in his life.

  • One of the aspects of redemption is that it brings about intimacy with G-d. David is doing all of these things because he desires G-d to move in his life, to be present (relationally) in it.
  • Truth – In order to have a relationship with G-d it needs to be based on a foundation of Truth (John 14:6). G-d has the same standard for all of us. I don’t get to choose my truth. 

v6: Hated – David uses strong language here. 

  • Vain idols – like a vapour they have no lasting significance. David hates those who base their lives on idolatrous practices.
  • Trusting in G-d (having faith in and relying upon) means that our focus is on G-d. This is in contrast to those who worship idols. 

v7: Trusting in G-d leads to us becoming recipients of His grace. 

  • G-d’s grace causes us to be a joyful people – no matter what circumstances we face (James 1:2)
  • This word for ‘trouble’ is the word ‘poverty’ in the Hebrew. Through grace we experience G-d’s provision in our lives so that we do not experience lack (not speaking here about a lack as relating to our own earthly desires, but about being given what we need to carry out G-d’s will). 
  • G-d knows the essence of who we are as we go through troubles. 

v8: David is making a declaration here. G-d is our deliverer. 

  • If we are put on a narrow ledge it is easy to fall. It is not so easy to fall when our feet are firmly set in a wide place. 

v9: David, once again, feels like he is in trouble.

  • What David sees (my eye) happening in his life causes him sadness.
  • The word that the NKJV translates as ‘grief’ is, in other places, translated ‘wrath/anger’. 
  • When David pays attention to the ‘wrongs’ in his life/to what the enemy is up to it doesn’t have a good outcome for him – it affects him to the “pit” of his stomach (soul and body). 

v10: “Life is spent’” – ie is coming to an end.

  • The grief here is speaking of being exhausted from hard labour. 
  • Sighing – suffering. When we live by our own perspective in life it causes us grief. We need to have G-d’s perspective (eternal perspective) on things.

v11: David feels as if he has become someone that no one wants to be around. 

v12: ‘Out of mind’ – David feels as if no one even thinks of him anymore. 

  • A broken vessel – David is full of despair. Under the administration of G-d David became an object of ridicule, an object of anger and an object of reproach. All of this has begun to take a toll upon him. He feels forgotten and as one who has died.

v13: People are speaking out untruths against David. David is filled with desperation. Even though he had proclaimed all of those wonderful statements earlier on in this psalm he’s now

at a point where it would appear that he is feeling broken. All of a sudden it seems as if G-d had been close but now is distant. When we find ourselves in a position like this what should we do? 

v14: This word for ‘trusted’ in modern Hebrew is the same word for ‘insurance’. David has (in modern day terms) taken out a spiritual insurance policy with G-d (a covenantal relationship with G-d). This policy is put into force through faith. 

  • The name ‘L-rd’ speaks of the omniscient G-d – the G-d who knows everything, without limitation.
  • “I say” – David displays His trust in G-d by his behaviour – he speaks out about this trust to G-d and before others. The second word that David uses for G-d is the word “Elohim” – this speaks of G-d as judge. 

v15: Times/Seasons = a short window of opportunity. Our timing needs to be placed under G-d’s timing for our lives.

  • “In Your hand” – hand is a word for authority/power. David is in submission to G-d’s authority. Only when we have submitted to the authority of G-d in our lives can we then have an expectation of G-d’s power being released in our lives. 
  • When David talks of his enemies he mentions the word “hand” again. When we are not submitting to G-d’s authority, timing etc then we (by default) will be under the hand/authority of those who are against G-d. 

v16: The “face” of G-d is related to His blessing. His face also represents His Presence. When we are in His Presence we receive ever increasing revelation/illumination. This revelation leads to us living changed lives. 

  • Mercy – another name for grace. Grace saves us, but grace also causes us to grow and change (Titus 2:11-14)

v17: If we have placed ourselves under the authority and leadership of G-d then we will never be ashamed. 

  • When we call upon G-d we need to call upon His name (Roms 10:13). It is only through the name of Yeshua that we have access to G-d, to His salvation, resources, power, revelation etc. 
  • The wicked will be ashamed. In their graves it will be too late to call on the name of the L-rd for salvation. In hell people are cut off from the blessings, provision, revelation etc of G-d. 

v18: Silence again repeated, therefore emphasised. They will have no excuses – nothing to say. Those who lived in and loved falsehood will be made mute. 

  • Speak insolent things proudly – people who mock and have disdain for G-d and for the things of G-d (eg Esau). 

v19: This is a verse of contrast. Those who love and submit to the L-rd in this life have a very different future to those who don’t.

  • The words “laid up” are also the words used for something that is hidden (Matt 13:52 – this is a great motivation for us to make G-d the priority in our lives). 
  • Those who fear G-d – ie those who give G-d priority in every aspect of their lives. 
  • Prepared – an action word. G-d moves to do these things for those who fear Him. 
  • When we trust G-d we take refuge in Him. The safest place we can be is in the will of G-d. 
  • The sons of men are those who have not trusted in G-d, those who have not made G-d their priority. 

v20: V19 Spoke of the wonderful things G-d has laid up or hidden for us in His treasuries (Luke 6:23), but this verse speaks of those who are faithful to G-d as being hidden (like treasure) in the secret place of His Presence!

  • Being in the Presence of G-d is being in a protected place (Matt 10:28)
  • Pavilion – Sukkah (the tent booths that were erected and lived in during the Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot. These were places of safety and places to show that people were dependant on G-d)

v21: Marvellous kindness – G-d’s grace has a wondrous outcome in our lives. 

  • Strong city – a city under siege/under attack (see The last place a person would want to be is in a city that is under siege. Nothing can come in; nothing can go out. Supplies dwindle. People begin to die. There’s disease etc. What this Scripture is telling us is that even in this horrible place we find that G-d’s grace can function, and He can deliver us even there. 

v22: In my haste – sometimes we have to wait for G-d’s wonderful activity in our lives. Sometimes it is not immediate and may take time. Be patient and wait. Don’t be hasty in tongue or in deed. 

  • “I am cut off” – in some of the situations David found himself in he despaired and declared that there was no longer any hope or future for him. He spoke too quickly. 
  • G-d had heard him, G-d just took time to answer (Dan 10:12-14)

v23: G-d’s grace causes us to love G-d. Love toward G-d is manifested through obedience (John 14:15). Obedience doesn’t purchase grace, but obedience is a fruit that shows that we have been given grace. 

  • G-d rewards the faithful, but repays (a word of retribution) the wicked (Luke 19:26)

v24: Joshua 1:6 – words spoken over the Israelites just before they were about to go into the land to claim their inheritance. 

  • Hope also has to do with something that cannot yet been seen but is for something yet future (the Kingdom of G-d) – Roms 8:24-25

Our hearts can only be strong and courageous when our hope is in the L-rd.

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