TAKING REFUGE IN GOD
Psalm 31 is a prayer of David who suffered from illness for many years (vs 9,10); who was maligned and persecuted by his enemies (vs 18, 20b); who was shunned by his friends (vs 11,12); and was threatened with a violent death (vs 13). In the psalm, he sought refuge in God and trusted that God will turn around the situation for him. His suffering drove him directly into the arms of God. From this psalm, we can see a movement of emotions, moods and thoughts within David, which in his distress, sought and found his support in God.
In this psalm, we also see the extent of God’s love – by the fact that we can plainly and frankly confess our emotions to Him, that we are allowed to come into His presence without hiding anything from Him, and, guided in our prayers by His invisible hand, we gradually proceed from fear and trembling to comfort and strength.
David found his refuge in God (vs 1-8), although he was like a trapped animal (vs 2a,4) and a retreating warrior (vs 2b, 3,5) who was able to reach a fortress and stronghold so that he could find rest and security. Our Jesus, used this psalm when He hung on the cross, “into your hands I commit my spirit.” (vs 5).
David could entrust his destiny to God (vs 14-18), especially in the phrase, “My times are in your hands” (vs 15a). He declared that he will hold on to the invisible hand which was stretched out towards him in the midst of his suffering. In the loneliness of his pain and suffering, he has found the presence and living communion with God. He threw himself into the arms of God: ‘You are my God!’. He was conscious of the fact that he is utterly dependent upon God. For it is indeed the gracious God to whom he surrendered. The psalm assures us that if we commit our destiny to God, we will not be disappointed.
Rev. Dr Timothy Chong