Be Strong and Take Heart
David trusts in his God. He describes him as his rock and fortress (Ps 31: 3). “You are my God”, he declares aloud (v 14), reminding himself of the Lord’s unfailing love and goodness in the verses that follow.
At the beginning of Ps 31, David’s prayers are those of a man in trouble. He asks God to deliver him, hear his calls for help, come quickly to his rescue, be that rock of refuge and set him free from a situation in which he has become entrapped (v 1 – 5). He is in dire need.
The tough soldier and army commander has no qualms about wearing his emotions on the outside of his armour. He is in anguish (v 7, 10), distress (v 9), full of sorrow (v 9) and with his strength failing by the day. He describes his life as like broken pottery at the mercy of those who plot to take his life.
Next time I have a rough day, I might compare it to David’s. It might not seem so bad.
I was struck by David’s opening statement in this psalm, ‘In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge’. The God of Israel is David’s Lord who has proved His faithfulness and power on many occasions. David knows this, yet he still makes a choice to trust Him. God is a refuge, but David has taken refuge. David has made a conscious decision to step behind the Lord’s protective shield – ‘into your hands I commit my spirit’ (v 5).
Jesus, of course, uttered these words, calling them out loudly to the Father seconds before he died on the cross (Luke 23: 46), an incredible moment of faith that the Father would not ‘abandon him to the grave’ (Acts 2: 27, 31 – 32 quoting Psalm 16), but that he would raise Him to life. In the weakness of the cross, we see the enormous strength of Christ’s complete dependence on His Father in Heaven.
‘In quietness and trust is your strength’ (Is 30: 15)
Putting our hope in the Lord is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of fortitude. When all else fails and the fragility of life (and the fragility of those around us) is most apparent, our hearts can find courage again in the promises of God – that He will deliver and provide safe shelter. We can look beyond the crumbling walls in view and remember the enduring pillars of His faithfulness over the years and throughout the ages.
No wonder David can end his lament with a cry to fellow believers, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord’ (Ps 31:24).
Thanks for reading and God bless – Terry
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