Psalms 31

1 I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don't let me down! Take me seriously this time!
2 Get down on my level and listen, and please - no procrastination! Your granite cave a hiding place, your high cliff aerie a place of safety.
3 You're my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide.
4 Free me from hidden traps; I want to hide in you.
5 I've put my life in your hands. You won't drop me, you'll never let me down.
6 I hate all this silly religion, but you, God, I trust.
7 I'm leaping and singing in the circle of your love; you saw my pain, you disarmed my tormentors,
8 You didn't leave me in their clutches but gave me room to breathe.
9 Be kind to me, God - I'm in deep, deep trouble again. I've cried my eyes out; I feel hollow inside.
10 My life leaks away, groan by groan; my years fade out in sighs. My troubles have worn me out, turned my bones to powder.
11 To my enemies I'm a monster; I'm ridiculed by the neighbors. My friends are horrified; they cross the street to avoid me.
12 They want to blot me from memory, forget me like a corpse in a grave, discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
13 The street-talk gossip has me "criminally insane"! Behind locked doors they plot how to ruin me for good.
14 Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God!
15 Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from the hands out to get me.
16 Warm me, your servant, with a smile; save me because you love me.
17 Don't embarrass me by not showing up; I've given you plenty of notice. Embarrass the wicked, stand them up, leave them stupidly shaking their heads as they drift down to hell.
18 Gag those loudmouthed liars who heckle me, your follower, with jeers and catcalls.
19 What a stack of blessing you have piled up for those who worship you, Ready and waiting for all who run to you to escape an unkind world.
20 You hide them safely away from the opposition. As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces, you silence the poisonous gossip.
21 Blessed God! His love is the wonder of the world.
22 I panicked. "Out of sight, out of mind," I said. But you heard me say it, you heard and listened.
23 Love God, all you saints; God takes care of all who stay close to him, But he pays back in full those arrogant enough to go it alone.
24 Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up. Expect God to get here soon.

Psalms 31 Commentary

Chapter 31

Confidence in God. (1-8) Prayer in trouble. (9-18) Praise for God's goodness. (19-24)

Verses 1-8 Faith and prayer must go together, for the prayer of faith is the prevailing prayer. David gave up his soul in a special manner to God. And with the words, ver. 5, our Lord Jesus yielded up his last breath on the cross, and made his soul a free-will offering for sin, laying down his life as a ransom. But David is here as a man in distress and trouble. And his great care is about his soul, his spirit, his better part. Many think that while perplexed about their worldly affairs, and their cares multiply, they may be excused if they neglect their souls; but we are the more concerned to look to our souls, that, though the outward man perish, the inward man may suffer no damage. The redemption of the soul is so precious, that it must have ceased for ever, if Christ had not undertaken it. Having relied on God's mercy, he will be glad and rejoice in it. God looks upon our souls, when we are in trouble, to see whether they are humbled for sin, and made better by the affliction. Every believer will meet with such dangers and deliverances, until he is delivered from death, his last enemy.

Verses 9-18 David's troubles made him a man of sorrows. Herein he was a type of Christ, who was acquainted with grief. David acknowledged that his afflictions were merited by his own sins, but Christ suffered for ours. David's friends durst not give him any assistance. Let us not think it strange if thus deserted, but make sure of a Friend in heaven who will not fail. God will be sure to order and dispose all for the best, to all those who commit their spirits also into his hand. The time of life is in God's hands, to lengthen or shorten, make bitter or sweet, according to the counsel of his will. The way of man is not in himself, nor in our friend's hands, nor in our enemies' hands, but in God's. In this faith and confidence he prays that the Lord would save him for his mercies's sake, and not for any merit of his own. He prophesies the silencing of those that reproach and speak evil of the people of God. There is a day coming, when the Lord will execute judgment upon them. In the mean time, we should engage ourselves by well-doing, if possible, to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Verses 19-24 Instead of yielding to impatience or despondency under our troubles, we should turn our thoughts to the goodness of the Lord towards those who fear and trust in Him. All comes to sinners through the wondrous gift of the only-begotten Son of God, to be the atonement for their sins. Let not any yield to unbelief, or think, under discouraging circumstances, that they are cut off from before the eyes of the Lord, and left to the pride of men. Lord, pardon our complaints and fears; increase our faith, patience, love, and gratitude; teach us to rejoice in tribulation and in hope. The deliverance of Christ, with the destruction of his enemies, ought to strengthen and comfort the hearts of believers under all their afflictions here below, that having suffered courageously with their Master, they may triumphantly enter into his joy and glory.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 31 Commentaries

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.