Scripture: In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! Psalm 31:1-2 ESV
Observation: In this psalm of David, Israel’s king laments over his shame and physical suffering at the hands of his enemies and pleas for God’s deliverance. The layout of the psalter reveals David’s vacillating thoughts and feelings, from trusting in God’s protection to reminding the Lord of his present, unmitigated trials. But as his psalm draws to a conclusion, David sings Yahweh’s praises, declaring his goodness, steadfast love, and faithfulness. He then ends the psalter with an appeal to love the Lord and exercise courage and patience in waiting for his salvation.
Takeaway: David certainly had plenty of practice waiting on the Lord’s deliverance, whether it be on the run from Saul or his own son, Absalom. And the craggy rocks of the wilderness were a favorite spot to take refuge until the passing of danger. But sometimes, the enemy strikes a mortal wound. Luke records for us Jesus’ last words from the cross that harken to Psalm 31: “Into your hand(s) I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5 and Luke 23:46). And for both, the Father is their Rock of refuge regardless of whether they escape enemy pursuit or face their final breath. So how do we find refuge in our Rock? David provides a few tips:
- Seek God’s grace—cry out to him (verse 9).
- Remember that our lifespan is in his hands—keep perspective of his sovereignty (verse 15).
- Trust that our good Father will expose the machinations of those who seek us harm and will rescue us in due time—patiently wait (verse 17-18).
- Transform fears and sorrow into renewed faith—praise the Lord amid suffering (verses 21-23).
And how are we to appropriate grace, perspective, patience, and praise? In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus concludes that we need to build our faith on the Rock of his Word (Matthew 7:24-27). We need to renew our minds continually through the reading and reflection of Scripture and Spirit-led prayer. We also need the support of a community of believers who will join us in Bible study, worship, and intercession. And when we commit our spirits to the Lord, when we “surrender our claim to what we had thought to be life, we discover the true nature of living in the power of God alone and in his presence” (G. H. Wilson).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that we find refuge in your Rock, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Would you please help us to commit our spirit to you wholeheartedly and live in the power of your presence? That we might rise above our fear of enemies or concern for our reputations and sing your praises. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling