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Psalm 31—David’s Description and the Savior’s Summary

“The little word ‘Father,’ pronounced in faith, has overcome God.” –Thomas Watson

Perhaps it was the men of Keilah who drove David to write this psalm. David and his ragtag group of men had fought for the safety of the citizens of Keilah. They had delivered the town from the threatening Philistines. (1 Samuel 23) Now Saul had heard of David’s presence in Keilah and was on his way to besiege the town, blockade the army, and capture the beleaguered David. Those delivered by David were prepared to deliver him over to Saul. So David fled and maybe he wrote.

Or perhaps it was not a group of men who caused such anguish to David. Maybe it was closer to home. David’s son, Absalom had allowed the smoldering coals of resentment to be fanned into the open flame of revolt. (2 Samuel 13-19) He murdered his brother Amnon and was willing to move from fratricide to regicide. He conspired to kill the king. He drove his father from Jerusalem. David left his earthly throne and found himself before another throne. Perhaps this psalm is the record of that encounter.

David, having lost all hope of earthly comfort, cries out for heavenly consolation. He turns to God and calls him, “a rock of refuge” and “a strong fortress.” (Psa. 31:2) His prayer is a verbal prostration begging for the help of God:

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!
For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
for you are my refuge. (Psa. 31:1-4)

David turns to God and leaves in his wake a portrait of who he believes God to be. He is a rock of refuge. He is a fortress. He is a deliverer. He does rescue. He will lead and guide. He does free from the trap. He enables David to pray, “Into your hand, I commit my spirit.” (Psa. 31:5)

A thousand years later when the darkness covered Jerusalem another rejected king prayed that very same prayer, “Into your hands, I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) On this occasion, however, Jesus summed up all that David had previously noted with this one word, “Father.” Today remember that your heavenly Father cares for you. He is willing to be your rock of refuge and your strong fortress. His delight is to rescue you so trust him today. Have a blessed week and we will see you on Sunday.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dale