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Break Through | Psalm 31

We all need help against an enemy that is interested in keeping us entangled in sin.
Bible Talk show notes, Break Through Psalm 31

Psalm 31 has too much good stuff to be combined with another one!  I guess I could have done it, but it would have been a podcast that lasted at least an hour.  Which I guess would have been okay except why rush our time with the psalms?  At least that is the camp I am in this week.  Give me a couple more weeks and I might have changed my mind.  

Listen along to the episode here or on your favorite podcast app

[4:01] I will say that two bits in Psalm 30 seemed a good way to jump into this week.  It has been a rough couple of weeks for me.  I have had friends and family dealing with some pretty tough things.  I am heartbroken for them.  So, when David says, “Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name.  For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” and “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever” in verses 4-5 and 11-12 I had to reference it.  It is perfect for how I have been feeling and really leads so nicely into what we will talk about today.  Psalm 31 spends a lot of time talking about God being a hiding place, a place for protection, safety, a stronghold.  We have heard this before in the psalms.   Have I mentioned that when something is repeated it means you should take note?  It’s true.  Knowing where we should run to in times of fear, pain, turmoil, anxiety is a very valuable piece of information. We certainly can’t blame David for not letting us know.  Keep this in mind for your life.  I am sure…I can promise you are going to need a place to hide at some point for something.  

[5:32] The NET broke Psalm 31 into two parts:  verses 1-18 being a prayer and verses 19-24 as the results of the answered prayer.  It’s a good way to break it down.  You can see/hear/feel the change in David’s tone.  Something else I was thinking about is that when David was pleading for protection and for rescue, he genuinely needed it. Like from actual people actually trying to kill him.  You might not need that kind of literal help, but we all need help against an enemy that is interested in keeping us tripped up and entangled in sin and consequences. 

[8:14]Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3  See.  We all need this affirmation.  This is a great reminder for what Jesus did on the cross and what he endured on our behalf.  I love the part about losing heart.  The writer of Hebrews (we don’t know who it is if you were going to ask) tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus.  This is just like David saying that he finds his protection in God.  Both are saying to look to the same person for help.

[11:11] Now Psalm 31.  Whew.  Let’s try looking at it like this:

1 In you ,O LORD, I have taken refuge (NIV)
I come to you for protection (NLT)
I trust you, LORD, to be my hiding place (Passion)

2 be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. (NIV)
A stronghold where I can be safe (NET)

David prays verses 3 and 4 with such confidence.  A confidence for present and future.

Do your prayers have that confidence?  Do you pray believing God will act or move or answer?

3 Since you are my rock and fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. (That phrase sounds familiar, right?  It is that same thing of the reputation that God has to protect.  David is reminding him of the promises made and past acts of protection.)
When you deliver me it will bring glory to you (Passion)

Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
I find refuge in you alone. (NLT)

5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
(NET- this in anticipating God’s intervention showing he is faithful and reliable [heard that before]).

I just love the faith of David here.  He is committing himself to what God’s will is in this scary, anxious moment.  Do I have faith like that?  Do I pray with such an open hand?

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD.
vain things of falsehood (NET)
all this nonsense (Passion) this is my favorite one

David with the humble brag here.  Haha. He says I don’t fool with all this nonsense.  I just rely and worship you, Lord.  

Get ready for this next part.  I love it so much.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
I will be happy and rejoice in your faithfulness because you notice my pain and you are aware of how distressed I am.  You know the distresses of my life. (NET)
You care about the anguish of my soul. (NLT)

8 You have not handed me over to the enemy but you have set my feet in a spacious place.
You broke open the way to bring me freedom. (Passion)
You enable me to stand. (NET)
You set my feet in a safe place. (NLT)

See how good that is?!?! What a comforting passage.  God is not unaware of what you struggle with.  He feels your pain.  He knows your anguish.  He will help you cope.  He will bring you to a place that gives you strength.  I hope you know that this is true.  I hope you believe it.  

Verses 9 through 13 is lament-y.  David is saying it is so bad and he has had so many disastrous things happen to him that even his friends don’t want him around.  That when they see him coming they change to the other side of the street.  He words fit right in line with Hebrews 12.  He says, “my strength fails because of my affliction and my bones grow weak”.  The NLT says it this way, “sin has drained my strength, I am wasting away from within.”  There is the sin that entangles that will make you grow weary and lose heart.  Right? 

14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.

David remembers in who his strength is found and he echoes verse 5, the part about committing his soul into his hands.  My pastor, Dr. Shane Green, said this about 14 and 15; Biblical peace is that in the midst of struggle/strife/turmoil/sadness there is assurance.  He is right.

[24:00] Here comes the part where David is like “God has answered my prayers!!”  I love the Passion translations of the next two verses.

19 Lord, how wonderful you are!  You have stored up too many good things for us, like a treasure chest heaped up and spilling over with blessings-all for those you honor and worship you! Everybody knows what you can do for those who turn and hide themselves in you.

20 So hide all your beloved ones in the sheltered, secret place before your face.  Overshadow them by your glory-presence.  Keep them from these accusations, the brutal insults of evil men. Tuck them safely away in the tabernacle where you dwell.

How great is his goodness!!  The blessings believers have in store for them…WhooWhee!  They are overflowing.  Can’t you see them in your own life?

22 In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.

David is so relatable here.  NET says, “In my haste I jumped to conclusions.”  I say, “I panicked Lord!”  We may often feel cut off from God, but we aren’t actually.  We jump to conclusions.  We panic. 

One time in middle school my mama was supposed to pick me up from school.  This was not her usual duty.  My grandmother was my usual ride because at some point I just flat out refused to ride the bus anymore.  Even though I was the first one off and I was only on the bus 10-15 minutes.  I remember my Popa asking me how I was going to get home and I boldly said that he or Grandmother would pick me up.  And they did.  For whatever reason they were unavailable that day and I had to rely on Mama.  She was working in north Alabama that day, which was not that far of a drive, and she said she had plenty of time.  She was not there at dismissal time.  I was the only person standing in front of the school.  At this point in history, the school didn’t care that my ride was late.  The doors were locked pretty promptly at the end of the school day.  I just had to stand there and wait.  I panicked of course.  I felt like it had been hours.  I waited and waited…for about thirty minutes.  In my haste I jumped to conclusions that I was going to be left there overnight, or at least until dark.  I was wrong.  I still bring this up to Mama.  The day she left me at school.  

24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

Passion says this best, “Wait for him to break through for you.”

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