First Off…read Psalm 31!
All the psalms are special and we can learn something from them. I guess what strikes me is that while I read this psalm there is a lot of similar feeling here with many of the other psalms we have. David is in distress, David is scared, David is lost…and yet he fully trusts the Lord, seeks Him for restoration, cries out that God is good and seeks Him for his shelter. But what I am really being struck by this morning is that David has all this fear and loneliness…and paranoia…AND HE’S THE KING. David has all the money he could ever need, friends he could ever ask for, servants he could ever require, more homes than needed, more space than necessary – there literally is nothing in that time that he couldn’t get if he wanted it…and yet…here he sits.
I’m not sure why – but I picture David sitting in a dunk tank full of fear, anxiety, and paranoia. Which reminds me that even a king can feel scared, lonely, depressed, and anxious. Even someone that we would place upon the highest of pedestals that have everything one could ever want or need in life can feel as if they are in the loneliest of places.
David’s life has been one of ups and down. Persecuted by Saul, on the run from his son Absalom, waging wars, and fighting battles – so much of what we see in Scripture has David on these highs and lows of life. It had to be rough being the king! It had to be rough having someone (Saul) consistently trying to kill you. It had to be rough watching your family turn against you. So much of what we see in life and say to each other (whether warranted or not) is that the higher up in status you are the easier life must get. Money, fame, fortune…all of these “things” must make living in the world easier…or so we tell ourselves.
The fact of the matter is that simply because you have more “stuff” doesn’t negate the fact that life can be a struggle. The fact of the matter is that money doesn’t solve problems and having more friends doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t feel lonely. All the stuff in the world still is only “stuff”…and people are still people. We may THINK more means fewer problems and issues – but strip people away from what they “have” and in the end, we’re all the same.
Stand me next to Bill Gates and strip us down to our undies (sorry I put that picture in your head)…and you’ll find that we aren’t any different. We may look different…but we consist of the same material. Society may SAY we’re different…but are we? I’d say no.
Psalm 31 is laid out in chunks (or sections) as David is traversing a wave of emotions that go from being scared and seeking the refuge of God (1-8), to a petition for God to rescue him from all that he has done and all that he sees happening around him (9-18), and then to triumphant praise that he gives to God and encourages others to do as well (19-24).
I think this is why the psalms are so encouraging and used daily by millions and millions of people. David is simply just like you and me and we see that. And since he is just like you and me…there are some things we can learn (especially from this text).
- In David’s stress of what was happening…even though he was scared and possibly even paranoid…everything still came down to trusting God. (positive thing)
- David knew that God intimately saw in and through him (6-8) and because of this God kept him safe. (positive thing)
- When we are in the deepest of depths, ravaged by guilt and anguish – we tend to pile on feelings ON TOP of those. Our friends may or may not run from us, they may or may not talk about us…but we can very easily convince ourselves that they do. (negative thing)
For me, and for many others, Psalm 31 reminds us that we all struggle in life…and life isn’t always happy and pleasant – and it doesn’t always end pleasantly as well. Life is rough…and life is rough for all people at some point or another. And in a psalm like this, where darkness creeps in, when all your friends seem to be against you, when your enemies are your neighbors and hateful lying words swirl around you like a tornado of harmful tongues…there is always one thing that remains…there will always be one constant throughout life’s ups and downs: God and his faithful love.
It’s in that faithful love of God that we know that even if David was sitting in that dunk tank… even when we are in the deepest of pits and our emotions are in the darkest of places…our cries out to God still find their target. Because they don’t have to travel far when the One you cry out to is already with you…observing what you see, feeling what you feel, and holding you tightly through it all.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.