The context of Psalm 31 is that David is seeking refuge from his adversaries. As the reader skims over the verses of the psalm, David’s plight is clear, although the details are not. The LORD has seen his affliction and has known the distress of his soul (31:7). David is in distress and his eye is wasted from grief (9); his life is spent in sorrow (10). He has been “forgotten like one who is dead;” he has become “like a broken vessel (12).” Finally, his distress reaches its height:
“For I hear the whispering of many – Terror on every side! – as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.” 31:13
Is there any escape for David? How can he be delivered from his adversaries? His enemies are arrayed against him and there seems to be no means of rescue. Surely despair and self-pity are understandable at this point, for where is the reason for any hope? How will David, a man whose hope is in the LORD, respond to this crisis? Will he respond in faith and trust or in fear and despair?
David has a secret weapon that will level the playing field, a champion who will appear when His servant cries out to Him.
But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 31:14
Now the balance of power has suddenly swung completely to David’s side. The LORD is his God, and terrors and adversaries must take their proper place. David trusts in the LORD and is confident that the LORD will deliver him, because the LORD has no rivals. Moreover, the LORD will hear David’s cry for help and will come to deliver him. The whispering and the plotting of David’s enemies now holds no terror because of David’s Champion. The LORD cannot fail, and, so, David can rest secure.
APPLICATIONS of this psalm:
- David here is an example of how the believer is to behave in a situation where adversaries are many and the odds seem to be stacked against us. In the midst of distress and threat, the believer can respond with confidence that the LORD will be with him and will deliver him. Our threats will seldom be physical dangers from enemies who are plotting against us but threats we will have, and these threats can produce fear. Instead of fear, the believer can rest in the LORD’s strength and trust in His deliverance. “But I trust in You; I say, ‘You are my God.'” And that changes everything.
- It occurs to me that the LORD brings ‘terrors’ and threats into my life for the express purpose of evoking my cry for help and thus for demonstrating His power to save and to deliver. He brings enemies into my life so He can show His power over any adversary. How could I know of His power to deliver or that He is mighty to save or that He would answer my cries for help if He never sent enemies into my life? Therefore I will see threats not as an occasion to fear but as another opportunity for the Lord to demonstrate His power (Romans 9:17) over all my adversaries.
SDG rmb 3/16/2020