Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 28

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 28:1-9

1 Of David. To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

3 Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.

4 Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.

5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.

6 Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Communication.

I struggle with it everyday, seeking to translate my thoughts into noises in order for others to comprehend my questions, needs or warnings. But that is only half the effort of communication. I may elucidate my thoughts perfectly, (in a theoretical world that is!) and if the one(s) I am addressing do not hear, understand and receive the message, it is all for naught.

David is letting us know of the communication between the God of Israel and himself. David is crying out for help, and nothing is happening. After years of open communication between the King and his King, David is calling out to God in some emergency.

The first verse has a bit of ambiguity to it when the ESV coins the phrase  “be not deaf to me”. A few of the other translations translate the phrase as “Do not be silent to me”.

There is a difference in my mind. The end results are the same of course, in that the praying saint seems to find no response from the One who can help. But David’s tone of the psalm changes based on this difference.

If the term is rightly understood to be “be not deaf to me”, David is implying that God isn’t hearing the prayer. God’s willingness (or ability?) to hear David has changed. He is not allowing any prayer to reach His understanding.

If the term is “do not be silent to me”, David is simply reiterating the same truth in the next phrase. The tone of the psalm then becomes that the saint isn’t receiving a response, though God may be hearing of the complaint.

You see, it is a different scenario if one doesn’t hear, and then doesn’t respond, than if one does hear and doesn’t respond. The ESV understands David’s complaint to be twofold. God isn’t hearing his prayer, and He isn’t responding to his prayer.

I think this allows us to see a bit deeper into David’s relationship with his God. He understood when his God heard his prayers, and when his God would answer his prayers. This is incredible, for many believers (my self included) struggle with this assurance and knowledge of God’s hearing and responding to our prayers.

Of course this may be a one-off for David, meaning this may be a specific time when David understood this situation. Therefore, I don’t mean we are to constantly know how and if God is receiving and responding to our prayers. But that is not the main point.

David had the sense, the discernment of knowing God’s attitude toward the prayer he offered up. And based on this knowledge, made his complaint anyway! He would not take no for an answer, and continued with his plea.

David pleads to the One on the throne, claiming that if his God is silent, he will die. God is the only One whom David leans on. If God doesn’t help, David’s life is over.

Get a feel for this situation.

You have spent your life seeking to hear and follow God, (imperfectly of course) and have come to a point when all is against you. At the time when all hangs in the balance, and you seek help from your God, all communication falls silent. No help comes. You are stranded, left to your enemies and the fate of death.

King David had to wait for his rescue, but it came.

Psalm 28:6

Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

David’s voice was heard. The LORD responded and saved his anointed one before he went to the grave.

Psalm 28:8

The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

David’s voice was heard and the grave was avoided. The greater David, our Lord Jesus, his prayers were heard, and yet the grave was not avoided. As a matter of fact, the grave was inevitable. Where David sought rescue from the grave, Jesus sought strength to endure entering to the grave.

Hebrews 5:7

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

David’s salvation and Jesus salvation, both men facing the grave, followed different trajectories.

David was saved from the grave. (At least in relation to the current plea!)

Jesus was saved out of the grave, in resurrection power, not only to live forever, but to become the priest of a new creation, bringing many others into the same resurrection life.

Jesus prayers were heard. God the Father’s ears were (and are) always open to the Anointed One. The Fathers answer to the Saviors prayers were greater than any may have imagined, thought or wished for

Hebrews 5:7

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Jesus was heard by the Father. He is alive and praying for us.

Romans 8:34

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

David sought deliverance from the grave. Jesus sought to enter the grave, to go through death in order to be “taken up”.

Luke 9:51

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

He is the One to follow, if for no other reason than the incredible bravery and faith He exercised. The single minded focus of His life was to enter the grave, to obey the call of the Father on His life and to prove (ultimately) the great love wherewith He has loved us.

Love. It is the difference.

Let us love one another as the One who loved us has taught us.


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