Day 8 – Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 – Surrounded by Despair and Death

I. Read Psalm 31 (focusing on verses 1-5 & 15-16)

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
    as for me, I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
    for you saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
    but have set my feet in a spacious place.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
    and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
    I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
    those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
    I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering,
    “Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
    and plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands;
    deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
    from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
    for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
    and be silent in the realm of the dead.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
    for with pride and contempt
    they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
    from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
    from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the Lord,
    for he showed me the wonders of his love
    when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said,
    “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
    when I called to you for help.

23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
    but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord (NIV).

Introduction – In many respects this is a cry of despair and desperation. David takes on the voice of one who is in the midst of great suffering, under attack and oppression from all sides. Certainly we know of death. We have seen loved ones pass on. We all die a little each day as this body starts to break down. All those aches and pains are reminders that your time here is limited. As James says, “You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes” (James 4:14). However, the focus of this Psalm is not on us, but on him, on the one who truly suffered and who truly committed his way to God. Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Just as Jesus trusted God the Father and committed his spirit to him in that moment of great despair, so we too must all commit to the Father our spirits as well. It is through his death and resurrection that we too are able to commit ourselves into the hands of the Father. Death will come to each of us and the comfort that we can take is that we can safely commit our spirit to him. If we can trust him in death, how much more can we also trust him in life.

In your own words, respond to the questions:

  1. In what ways can you identify yourself with struggles of the Psalmist?
  2. Do you see parallels in the experience and life of Jesus referenced in this Psalm?
  3. How often does your sense of mortality enter into your thoughts? How does this effect your decisions?
  4. Are you able to say now, through your faith in Christ, that are ready to commit your spirit to God should He will to call you home? What things should be set in order in your life before you could be at peace?
  5. If you are spiritually prepared to stand before the Lord in the righteousness of Christ, then how should you now live?

II. Pray Psalm 31. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this Psalm. Commit your spirit to him who is able to truly comfort and save.

III. Sing Psalm 31. Worship by expressing your soul through music.

  • Listen or download this version using a simple melody to sing Psalm 31 (music in the Outline).
  • Sing the metrical arrangement of Psalm 31 to the tune of Auld Lang Syne with words below.
1 O Lord, I put my trust in thee, let nothing work me shame;As thou art just, deliver me,and set me free from blame.2 Hear me, O Lord, and that anon,to help me make good speed;Be thou my rock and house of stone,my fence in time of need.3 For why? as stones thy strength is tried,

thou art my fort and tow’r,

For thy Name s sake be thou my grade,

and lead me in thy pow’r.


4 Pluck thou my feet out of the snare

which they for me have laid;

Thou art my strength, and all my care

is for thy mighty aid.


5 Into thy hands, Lord, I commit

my soul, which is thy due,

Because thou hast redeem-ed it,

O Lord my God most true.


6 I hate such folk as will not part

from things to be abhorred;

When they on trifles set their heart,

my trust is in the Lord.


7 For I will in thy mercy joy,

I see it doth excel;

Thou seest when ought would me annoy,

and know’st my soul full well.


8 Thou hast not left me in their hand

that would me overcharge;

But thou hast set me out of band,

to walk abroad at large.


The Second Part.


9 Great grief, O Lord, doth me assail,

some pity on me take;

My eyes wax dim, my sight doth fail,

my heart with fear doth ache.


10 My life is worn with grief and pain,

my years in woe are past;

My strength is gone, and through disdain

my bones corrupt and waste.


11 Among my foes I am a scorn,

my friends are all dismayed;

My neighbors, and my kinsmen born,

to see me are afraid.


12 As men once dead are out of mind,

so am I now forgot;

As little use of me they find

as of a broken pot.


13 I heard the brags of all the rout,

their threats my mind did fray;

How they conspired and went about

to take my life away.


14 But, Lord, I trust in thee for aid,

not to be overtrod;

For I confess, and still have said,

Thou art the Lord my God.


15 The length of all my life and age,

O Lord, is in thy hand:

Defend me from the wrath and rage

of them that me withstand.


16 To me, thy servant, Lord, express

and show thy joyful face,

And save me, Lord, for thy goodness,

thy mercy, and thy grace.


The Third Part.


17 Lord, let me not be put to shame,

because on thee I call;

But let the wicked bear the blame,

and into tile grave fall.


18 O Lord, make dumb their lips outright,

who given are to lies,

And cruelly with pride and spite

against the just devise.


19 How plentiful thy mercies be

laid up for thy children,

That fear and put their trust in thee

before the sons of men!


20 Thy presence shall them fence and guide

from all proud brags and wrongs;

Within thy place thou shalt them hide

from all tile strife of tongues,


21 Thanks to the Lord, that hath declared

on me his grace so far,

Me to defend with watch and ward,

as in a town of war.


22 Thus did I say both day and night,

when I was sore oppressed,

Lo! am clean cast out of sight,

yet heard’st thou my request.


23 Ye saints, love ye the Lord alway,

the faithful he doth guide;

And to the proud he doth repay

according to their pride.


24 Be of good courage, all ye just,

on God your strength depend;

For those in him that put their trust

he ever will defend.

Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God
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