Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. 2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. 3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. 4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord. 7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. 8 You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Psalm 31 is a Psalm of David written during a time of war. David finds himself defending a besieged city (verse 21), and in this time of crisis, he cries out and surrenders himself to the Lord, praying that his absolute submission to God will lead to a total victory against his enemies.
David “pulls out all the stops” in this anguished lament, for if God does not intervene, the king will surely perish. He has made the Lord his rock and fortress, which are greater protections than the walls of the city. He surrenders to the Lord, even unto the point of death, as he commits his spirit unto the Lord. David purges himself of all idolatry and instead rejoices in the unconditional love of the one true Lord. The king knows that Yaweh sees his affliction and anguish of soul, and therefore he will survive. Instead of perishing in the besieged city, the Psalmist will be liberated into a spacious place of victory.
The first words of Psalm 31 are a cry of David that the king will not be put to shame by being defeated by his foes. The last words of Jesus come from this Psalm as our King seems to suffer the most devastating of defeats. All Jesus can do as he is dying on the cross and gasping for breath is “commit his Spirit into His Father’s hand.”
David is spared the shame of losing his battle. Jesus is not. Jesus dies upon the cross, bearing our sin and shame. The law has proclaimed that anyone who dies upon a tree is cursed. Jesus bears our curse as the one who knew no sin becomes sin on our behalf. (2 Cor. 5:21).
David was spared defeat and death , but Jesus was not. Jesus’ victory is won through His death upon the cross. It is a victory through defeat. Only after the resurrection, is Jesus victorious and vindicated. Because of the anguish of soul and physical sufferings of the Son of God, we too are brought into this vast place of abundant life through Him.
Ask the Lord to give you a heart of surrender to the will of God. Ask the Lord to help you understand that sometimes what seems to be our greatest defeat can become an entry way into abundant life.
O Lord, I worship you who won such a great victory through your seeming defeat upon the cross. You have rescued me from a besieged city and brought me into the spacious and glorious kingdom of God. Into your hand I commit my spirit! Amen