Short Meditations on the Psalms: Psalm 31

Psalm 31  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
This Psalm is still the utterance of the Lord in resurrection. He recites His cry in the day when He was appointed for the slaughter, as He stood before Pilate and was borne thence to the accursed tree—when He committed His Spirit to the Father (Psa. 31:55Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. (Psalm 31:5); Luke 23:4646And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)). In Psalm 31:1010For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. (Psalm 31:10), we must read “distress” instead of “iniquity.”
He was then deserted by all: slander, fear, and reproach were on every side; His eye, His soul, and His body were consumed, and He was treated as one already dead, cast aside as a broken vessel. As another expresses it, “I doubt whether Christ speaks personally” in Psalm 31:17-1817Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. 18Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. (Psalm 31:17‑18). For He was not dealing with His enemies in judgment, but in grace, when He was here. He did, however, commit Himself to Him who judged righteously (1 Peter 2:2323Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (1 Peter 2:23)).
But in the deadest hour of that horrible night He calls to mind how He had trusted in God and remembered His former mercies. And from Psalm 31:1919Oh 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! (Psalm 31:19) to the end, it is no longer the recital of His cry in the hours of Pilate and Calvary, but the utterance of joy and praise for present resurrection. He had now exchanged the grave and dust of death for the power of God in resurrection. And now also He remembers the loving-kindness of the Lord shown Him in “the strong city,” the place of the confederates, out of which He had been delivered, but into which He will by and by go again, not however as a captive, but as an avenger. (See Psa. 60; Psa. 108.)
How suddenly and vigorously does a fresh current of affections set in at Psalm 31:1919Oh 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! (Psalm 31:19), and continue to the end! Is not this still ofttimes the experience of tried saints?
And on the ground of His resurrection, He calls on all the saints to love the Lord and be of good courage, drawing a word of exhortation for them (as is common with Him) from His own experience. (See Psa. 27:34.) But I still would speak of the resurrection of the Lord as the pledge of that of Israel, as I have just done in the preceding Psalm, and this is to be remembered here.