Psalm 31 (Part 3) – I Call to You, Lord

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

It didn’t take long for the grandeur of the creation story to devolve into tragedy. Genesis 4 tells the story of the conflict between Cain and Abel, resulting in murder.

At the end of this sad story, there is a hopeful sign. Another child, Seth, was born to Adam and Eve. To Seth was born a son, who was called him Enosh. The Bible says it was “then began men to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4.26).

Jim Cymbala, the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, has traced the phrase “call upon the Lord” through the Bible. He shows that to “call on the Lord” is a distinctive mark of God’s followers.

Here are a few examples of the phrase, “call or called upon the Lord.”

Deuteronomy 4:7For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”

2 Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry entered His ears.

1 Chronicles 16:8Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!

Psalm 55:16As for me, I will call upon God,
And the Lord shall save me.

Romans 10:12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Psalm 31 teaches us to “call on the Lord” at all times and especially when in trouble.

I Call to You

The wicked are the loudest at condemning good people. When we are the victim of someone’s harmful words, we can call on the Lord for help.

I call to you, Lord;
don’t let me be disgraced.
May the wicked be disgraced;
may they go silently down to the world of the dead.
Silence those liars—
all the proud and arrogant
who speak with contempt about the righteous.
(Psalm 31.17-18)

We live in a world where the proud and arrogant strut their power at the expense of those who are trampled upon. The more they think of themselves, the less they think of others.

Words are a very cheap way to disgrace or shame another person. However, they are extremely harmful. Social media magnifies the impact of harmful words, because of the number of people who view it.

May this prayer restrain prideful words that bring shame, disgrace, and pain to others.

If you feel the sting of proud, arrogant, and untrue words, you can call on the Lord for help.

How Good You Are!

God has every reason to be proud. He is the Creator, Savior, Guide, and so much more. In contrast to arrogant persons, God uses his might to build up and not to tear down.

How wonderful are the good things
you keep for those who honor you!
Everyone knows how good you are,
how securely you protect those who trust you.
You hide them in the safety of your presence
from the plots of others;
in a safe shelter you hide them
from the insults of their enemies.
(Psalm 31.19-20)

Pause for a minute and reflect on these verses.

— How wonderful are the good things God has done for you? Stop for a moment and tell God three or four things he has recently done for you.

— Everyone knows how good God is! If you are on social media, use it to tell the world how good God is. Make a post and brag on God.

— Praise God for answered prayer. The speaker in Psalm 31 called on God. God heard his prayer and he told God how he had been a shelter against enemy words.

Praise God today for an answered prayer that he has recently given to you.

He Heard My Cry

In these verses, we see that God hears our prayers even when we feel distant from him.

Praise the Lord!
How wonderfully he showed his love for me
when I was surrounded and attacked!
I was afraid and thought
that he had driven me out of his presence.
But he heard my cry,
when I called to him for help.
(Psalm 31.21-22)

As we relate to the words of this Psalm, we can praise God for specific ways that he has shown his love for us. Let’s recall answered prayers and fill our hearts with gratitude to our majestic God.

Love the Lord

If followers of Jesus don’t love the Lord, who will?

Love the Lord, all his faithful people.
The Lord protects the faithful,
but punishes the proud as they deserve.
Be strong, be courageous,
all you that hope in the Lord.
(Psalm 31.23-24)

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the most important commandment” (Matthew 22.37-38).

I remember my first date with my wife, Toni. I walked her to the door of her apartment and we hugged. That hug was so warm and wonderful, that no one had to give me a command to love her.

To love Toni and to love God is the greatest gift I could ever hope for. Love is not a duty, but an opportunity. I have had the joy of loving Toni for over 40 years and the pleasure of loving God for over 50.

God always gives what he commands us to do. In loving God, God gives us a relationship with the Greatest Being of All. Let’s be sure to enjoy a loving friendship with him.

May We Pray for You?

Maywood Baptist Church has a prayer team who is honored to pray for you. Please email me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. We will pray for your requests.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve enjoyed this 3 part series on Psalm 31 and have waited until the end to comment.

    As I read this Psalm, I can feel David’s panic set in. He has enemies everywhere he looks, but he keeps pulling his eyes back to God. He is depressed, he is being attacked; verbally, emotionally and physically. And he keeps crying out to God. He can recall times when God protected him, saved him, loved him. He feels deeply the oppression, but he knows, without doubt, that his strength and courage lie in God’s hands. Even as I see David’s panic, I see calm overtaking his thoughts as he praises God.

    It seems as though he shifts from praying to God (vs 1-22) to talking to people with him (vs 23-24). He reminds them “Love the Lord, all you godly ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant. So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!”

    It’s a bit of a mic-drop moment. Were there people with him as he poured out his heart to God? Who was he talking to in that moment – people with him, generations to follow, us? His prayers seem so raw, so personal, in the beginning, I imagine him being alone with God….but was he? Was he giving us the example to be raw and vulnerable with others? To be open about our fears and Who calms those fears? I’m not really sure. I’m not a theologian by any stretch, but I do see something here that reminds me we can be vulnerable with each other and in doing so, point to God and His love and mercy, encouraging others to be strong as well. Ultimately, as we deepen and strengthen our relationship with God, we should be doing the same with our human relationships, and pointing them to God, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Denise. I ought to list you as a co-author of this blog. I hope many people read your comments. Thanks so much for them.

    David prayed these prayers before the people in the Temple. I have never read an estimate of how many people were present when they were prayed.

    As king, David was the representative of the people to God. He was an excellent picture of leadership that has caused him to be the greatest king of Israel.

    Thanks again, for your comments.

    Like

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