Psalms 31

Collection:H. SmithBook:PsalmsBy:Hamilton Smith
Psalm 31
The confidence of the godly man when in the depth of distress that he will be delivered from all his enemies by the righteousness of God.
The psalm voices the confidence of the godly remnant in Jehovah in the midst of their distress in the last days, when, for a time God is silent to their cry, and apparently they are left in the hands of their enemies. Into these sorrows Christ fully entered, and hence there are expressions used by the Lord, though there is no literal application to the Lord.
(vv. 1-5) The godly man looks to the Lord for deliverance from all his enemies, trusting in the righteousness of God. God, being absolutely righteous, becomes the rock on which faith can build, the defense against the enemy on which faith can depend. God being his rock and defense, he looks to God to be led and guided in conformity with His Name, to be delivered from every secret snare by the strength of God, and to be kept in his spirit, for he is one of God’s redeemed.
(vv. 6-8) The confidence of the godly soul was not in any of the senseless superstitions of men, but in the Lord Himself and in His mercy: in One who had seen his affliction and known the troubles of his soul. In (his confidence he realizes that so far from being shut up in the hand of the enemy, he stands before God in a place of freedom of soul.
(vv. 9-13) Nevertheless, as to outward appearance, the soul is shut up In the power of the enemy. The circumstances of this trial are spread out before the Lord. His whole body is afflicted by the trial; his life is spent in grief; his years with sighing; his strength fails because of his distress (“iniquity” can better be translated “misery” or “distress”).
In relation to others he is a reproach among his enemies. His neighbors and acquaintances avoid him, for fear of sharing his reproach and trial. They prefer to forget him and treat him as a broken vessel that is flung aside as useless. He is slandered by many; the object of terror on every side; while some take counsel against him to destroy him.
(vv. 14-18) Notwithstanding this deep distress, the soul trusts in the Lord, knowing that his times are in the Lord’s hands. Therefore he looks to God for deliverance from his enemies, and for the favor of God to shine upon him. He prays that, calling upon the Lord, he may not be ashamed, and that the wicked, who have treated the righteous with contempt, may be silenced in shame.
(vv. 19-22) The closing verses present the answer to the cry of the godly soul. He discovers that however dark the circumstances, the goodness of God is “laid up” for them that fear God, though for a time, apparently, the sons of men are allowed to have their way. Yet, whatever the outward circumstances, God can keep His people in the secret of His presence and preserve them from the strife of tongues, and finally show His marvelous kindness. Under the pressure of circumstances the soul had said in haste, “I am cut off from before thine eyes.” Nevertheless, in the time of deepest trial, when God apparently was silent, the voice of his supplications had been heard.
(vv. 23-24) As a result of his experiences the soul calls upon all the godly to love the Lord, to be of good courage and hope in the Lord.