Psalm 31:1-24 (ESV)
1 In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
17 O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
This psalm is a plea for help (most likely by David. Although some think that it may have been written by Jeremiah). Either way, as most prayers, the prayer reminds God (and the person praying) of God’s faithfulness, of His past mercies, and pleads for Him to continue to assist.
Many of the Psalms written by David are Messianic, and portions of this one are as well. In verse 5 we see the famous last line of Jesus, “Father, into Your hands, I commit My spirit.” The Catholic Church uses this phrase in the sacrament of Extreme Unction (or Last Rites) if the person has use of their mental faculties, they utter the phrase. If they are not able, the Priest/Deacon recites the phrase on their behalf.
Take a few minutes, and just read it thoughtfully. Let the Word speak to your heart. May the Peace of Christ be with us all.
by Virgil Stripes
Photo: Cave in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found - and very similar to the caves in which David would hide when running from the wrath of King Saul.