[Editor's note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to carry you through the week.]

Focus Verse of the Week

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth." (Psalm 31:1–5)

Commentary

These verses mark, perhaps more comprehensively than any other similar passage, the covenant relationship of the believer to his God. Not only good hope through grace, but safety from all danger, calm and peace in the surrender of our spirit to God, and the assurance of our redemption, are here expressed in the language of intimate prayer.

A precious life-song for our faith, a sweet night-song for death, it opens (verse 1) with a conviction which at its close (ver. 5) is shown to have been amply warranted. It almost seems as if on reading it we felt ourselves "surrounded a great cloud of witnesses." How many of God's dear children have comforted themselves with these words, during their "great fight of afflictions"; how many have in its language breathed forth their prayers and their hopes; how many have experienced the reality and truth of its consolations! Above all, to how many have the words of verse 5 proved not only their last prayer, but their joyous farewell to earth when they laid themselves down to rest in Christ. Now, world and time, enemies and death, do your worst: we are beyond your reach

"Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth." Many saints of old have died with these words on their lips. Polycarp and John Huss thus comforted themselves on their way to the stake. Luther and Melanchthon repeated them on their deathbeds. "Blessed," said Luther, "are they who die not only for the Lord, as the martyrs, nor only in the Lord, as all believers, but also with the Lord, as they who expire with this saying."

And yet better than all, we remember that this formed the last saying of our blessed Lord Himself upon the cross (Luke 23:46).... Once more then, is it believing fellowship with Christ which makes this Psalm so precious to His people. He marked out the path, and we follow Him; and because in all its fullness it was true of Him, in all its richness it applies to us.

(Adapted from Alfred Edersheim's The Golden Diary of Heart Converse with Jesus in the Book of Psalms.)

A Thought to Keep

Being like Christ means following Him in all that He went through, both joy and sorrow, life and death. Or as Paul put it, "To live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).