Psalm 31

Psalm 31
The Suffering Remnant Cries for Deliverance, the Messiah Identifies with Their Expressions
Psalm 31. This is a Psalm of David, and it focuses on the suffering remnant and they face death and cry for deliverance. The Messiah identifies Himself with parts of the Psalm, such as v.5 which was was quoted by Christ on the cross! However, most expositors agree that the Psalm cannot be considered to be directly Messianic.123 Prophetically, this Psalm describes the feelings and expressions of the remnant in extreme trial, yet confident in the salvation of God.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 In thee, Jehovah, do I trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.
2 Incline thine ear to me, deliver me speedily; be a strong rock to me, a house of defence to save me.
3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; and, for thy name’s sake, thou wilt lead me and guide me.
4 Draw me out of the net that they have hidden for me; for thou art my strength.
5 “Into thy hand I commit my spirit:” [quoted in Luke 23:46] thou hast redeemed me, Jehovah, thou GOD of truth.
vv.1-5 The cry for deliverance. The faithful remnant cry out to Jehovah to be delivered according to His righteousness. They ask Him to listen to them and to help quickly before it is too late. They call on the Lord to be a “strong rock”, a “house”, a “fortress” to them in their time of need. They look to Him for guidance. They feel that they are in a net, which the enemies have secretly set for their feet, and which only the Lord can deliver them from. In v.5 they commit their entire cause into the hand of the Lord who has redeemed them. It is beautiful to see that this verse is quoted by the Lord Jesus on the cross, although He does not pray “Jehovah”, but “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). It is the committing of His entire cause, His whole life, into the hands of His Father. This is a blessed thing for any of the faithful to do in times of trial! How precious to see the Messiah identifying with the expressions of His suffering people!
6 I have hated them that observe lying vanities; and as for me, I have confided in Jehovah.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy loving-kindness, for thou hast seen mine affliction; thou hast known the troubles of my soul,
8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large place.
9 Be gracious unto me, Jehovah, for I am in trouble: mine eye wasteth away with vexation, my soul and my belly.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength faileth through mine iniquity, and my bones are wasted.
11 More than to all mine oppressors, I am become exceedingly a reproach, even to my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that see me without flee from me.
12 I am forgotten in their heart as a dead man; I am become like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many — terror on every side — when they take counsel together against me: they plot to take away my life.
14 But I confided in thee, Jehovah; I said, thou art my God.
vv.6-14 Apparent defeat before enemies. The faithful reflect on their abhorrence of the wicked. The wicked trust in falsehood and lies, but the faithful put their trust in Jehovah. Their confidence is that the Lord has seen the affliction and known the troubles of their soul. In v.8, they trust that the Lord has set their feet free, which were previously tangled in the net. Their feet are brought into a large or unrestricted place; i.e. delivered from a trap. In v.9 the troubled condition of the faithful is poured out before the Lord. In. vv.11-13 the social aspect of their condition is especially a burden to the remnant; i.e. the reproach before their enemies and their neighbors. This also was one of the more grievous aspects of Job’s sufferings (read Job 19). Those who see them run away from them. How deeply Christ these very things! This is what we call the “interpersonal sufferings” of Christ. Read more… Worst of all v.12, is the knowledge that they are forgotten “as a dead man”, or discarded “as a broken vessel”. In all of these things, the Messiah Himself can sympathize with the remnant. He can sympathize with us also, as our faithful, merciful, sympathetic High Priest. Whether it be the “slander of many”, the plotting for their lives, all is made mention of to the Lord. But in it all there is confidence in Jehovah as their God!
15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from my persecutors.
16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save me in thy loving-kindness.
17 Jehovah, let me not be ashamed; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, let them be silent in Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips become dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
vv.15-18 The faithful commit their cause to Jehovah. The faithful can commit their cause to the Lord completely, saying “My times are in thy hand”. They acknowledge that the only deliverance they will have from their enemies and persecutors will come from the Lord. To have His face shine upon them is their greatest desire. They call on the Lord not to disappoint them, not to cause their hopes to be ashamed. They want the wicked to be ashamed, whose end will be in Sheol. The wicked, who incessantly speak in their pride and their arrogance, will one day be silent in defeat.
19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee, before the sons of men!
20 Thou keepest them concealed in the secret of thy presence from the conspiracies of man; thou hidest them in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be Jehovah; for he hath shewn me wondrously his loving-kindness in a strong city.
22 As for me, I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes; nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
vv.19-22 Jehovah’s intervention, and the remnants praise. At this point in the Psalm, they remnant look on to deliverance. It is a deliverance that Jehovah gives to those who fear Him that trust Him. They speak in v.20 of His deliverance as shielded from the efforts of man; concealed in the secret of His presence. This is what the Lord will do prophetically for the faithful remnant when the king of the north returns from Egypt. He will protect them. In v.22 the remnant reflect that they were almost to the point of giving up hope; “As for me, I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes”. But the Lord did hear the voice of their supplications, and answered.
23 Love Jehovah, all ye his saints. Jehovah preserveth the faithful, and plentifully requiteth the proud doer.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all ye that hope in Jehovah.
vv.23-24 The remnant call on others to love and trust in Jehovah. Having seen prophetically the deliverance of Jehovah, the remnant call on all His saints to love Him and to take courage. Jehovah is One who preserves the faithful and who rewards for proud according to their deeds. He is worthy of our confidence!
  1. “Hence the Lord did not hesitate to adopt its words for Himself at that moment (Luke 23:46), only substituting as became Him “Father” for Jehovah; as now He risen from the dead authorises us to do in the faith of His redemption, as later the ‘Spirit of adoption was given to be its power. But it is not as a whole His utterance, still less in resurrection power. The closing rise of the soul from verse 20 is very fine after varied trials, with solemn sense of the judgment awaiting persecuting foes and the haughty wicked. He realises the pavilion of the divine presence, and the great goodness laid up for the God-fearing. It is the Spirit of Christ in the tried and delivered soul, rather than Christ personally.” – Kelly, W. Notes on Psalms.
  2. Into these sorrows Christ fully entered, and hence there are expressions used by the Lord, though there is no literal application to the Lord. – Smith, H. Psalms.
  3. Psalm 31 is a proof how Jesus could use devout and holy expressions of a psalm, and indeed pass through all in spirit, without its having a literal application to Him. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.