Life is hard sometimes — Psalms 31-33

One of the impressions one cannot escape in reading through the region of the Psalms we’ve been in lately is that life is difficult especially for those trying to do right. Psalm 31 tells of the many enemies, terrors, slanders, and misunderstandings that have come his way, though he’s done nothing wrong. Psalm 32 tells of the sin that he committed, the guilt he bore, and way back to the Lord via repentance. Even Psalm 33 urges the reader to find his help not in the world’s strengths, but in the Lord Himself. This is not said in self-pity, but as a statement of the facts that we must face as disciples of Jesus. Satan is quite dedicated to proving us unworthy and unfaithful to God by throwing “the kitchen sink” of trouble, challenge, temptation, slander, misinformation, pain, and hardship at us. Don’t be fooled, Satan is the kind of “guy” that would throw a drowning man an anvil; so he “helps us out” sometimes with money, position, other idols or their phantom promises for us to depend on rather than God. Let these psalms remind us that faithfulness to God is a war that indeed takes courage, honor, discipline, dedication, faithfulness, loyalty, and a single-minded setting of the eyes on the Lord for our real help (Col. 3:1)

From Psalm 31 Jesus, while on the cross and just before giving up His spirit, cries out “Into your hand I commit My spirit.” What a great psalm to quote from in such a terrible circumstance. This psalm is actually one of thanks and praise to the Lord for victory. He speaks of the aim and effect of his enemies upon his life, but how the LORD rescued him and gave him victory, because he didn’t trust in idols but in the true and everlasting God. “My times are in Your hand,” he says; implying that they are not in the hands of his enemies. The secret to remaining faithful in times of distress is keeping our eyes on things above and not on things below. If you look only at the things that can be see around us on the earth, it will be easy to lose heart; on the other hand, if we keep our eyes on the things above, we’ll see our rescue and victory and we’ll gain courage. Now, that’s all easy to say and much harder to do; but do it we must, if we are determined to remain faithful to the Lord. It’s what kept Jesus on course, and it’ll keep you and me on course, too.

Psalm 32 speaks of the oft suffered circumstance of being found in sin. When, as a disciple of Jesus, we find ourselves in sin, we can pursue at least a couple of courses: hide the sin or confess it. Hiding it is tempting, so we sometimes deny it or rationalize it or explain it as not our fault — like David in his sin with Bathsheba. This sinks us deeper and doesn’t help at all.

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. (vv.3,4)

But confession — as painful as it is, as much courage as it takes — actually does help:

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.

The psalmist, as a “satisfied customer” of the latter approach, therefore recommends: “Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found.”

Lastly, Psalm 33 speaks of the power of our Creator to also preserve us in times of trouble. This is a simple concept, but one that we often forget: the One who created us and the world we live in can surely rescue and preserve us, when we are troubled. The key is simply to be faithful to Him and His eye will be on us (v.18).

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the Rock Hill church of Christ in Frisco TX where I've worked since 2020. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, and the Lord's church.
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