With the Lord there is shelter

With the help of Psalm 31 we can – together with David – testify of our complete trust in the Lord even though we are full of iniquity.

by rev Ronald Bain

Many of us feel insecure or anxious during this time. With good reason. We do not know what lies ahead. What will become of the economy? How long will our finances last? Will anarchy break out in the country? Will this virus maybe affect me and my family as well? What will become of us? Then there are the eternal prophets of doom who are always there, or those who do not want to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation.

There is only one answer. The church has done this through the ages. They take refuge in the Lord. David prays, but it’s not just David who prays. This is an inspired prayer. He prays by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is in dire straits. In verse 9 we read that he is very distressed. Now the Holy Spirit helps him to pray in his distress: “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge”, (Psalm 31:1). One can also translate: I take shelter in You.

How does one do that? You take refuge in the Lord when you surrender yourself completely to him in faith. You take refuge in the Lord when you rest the full weight of your salvation on him. In short: if you trust in him.

The fruit of this trust? You pray it. You confess it. “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge”. The fruit of this faith? The conclusion of the psalm. An admonition, a call to patient trust: “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24).

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!

Psalm 31:1

Then David asks something of the Lord. Never let me be put to shame. It says in the original: in eternity, do not let me be ashamed. What shame is David talking about here? That he was wrong to take refuge in the Lord.

Finally, in verse 2, David prays for the Lord’s salvation. He takes refuge in the Lord, but also asks for deliverance. A redemption through righteousness. Now David and all of us have a big problem. How will the Lord save us through his righteousness if we are then full of iniquities? Is this very troubling time not the Lord wanting to consume us because of our iniquities?

But the children of God will not be put to shame for trusting in him, because Someone else taught us to pray and sing this psalm. He knew this psalm since childhood. In fact, it was He who wrote this psalm – through his Holy Spirit. When He hangs without decent clothing on the cross, He takes away our shame, because He bears the curse of the Almighty that was meant for us.

Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God …

Psalm 31:5

He was God-forsaken, without shelter, but so He became our shelter for time and eternity. In this way he has taken our iniquity upon himself and we will forever not be put to shame before God. Therefore, when He had done his atoning work, He prays the last word on the cross: “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). Those of us who take refuge in the Lord, in Christ must also say: Into your hands I commit my spirit, my life.

We have an eternal refuge

When the judgments of the Lord strike this earth, we have an eternal refuge. Yes, we are being tested and we need to be tested. The Lord’s hand is sometimes heavy on his children, but we take refuge in the Lord. We will not be put to shame because of trusting in him.

Thus, the Holy Spirit gives calm and a different view from that of the world. It makes us persevere in prayer. It makes us bow under the hand of our Lord and all rebellion or carefreeness lies at the Lord’s feet. He who takes refuge in the Lord may count on him. He will lead his children. He will carry us through troubled times as well. Therefore, look to Psalm 31:24:

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

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