In you, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in your righteousness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Te Deum.
Let me never.—Literally, let me not for ever be ashamed.Psalm 31:1-3. Never let me be ashamed — Namely, of my confidence in thy promises. Deliver me in thy righteousness — By, or for, or according to thy faithfulness and goodness, both which often come under the name of righteousness. Deliver me speedily — Because of the greatness and urgency of my danger, which is even ready to swallow me up. For thy name’s sake lead me — For the glory of thy name, that is, of thy power, and truth, and mercy to thy miserable servant. And guide me — Lead and guide are two words expressing the same thing with more emphasis. Direct me clearly and continually in a right and safe path: for, without thy conduct, I can neither discern the right way nor continue in it.Psalm 7:1.
Let me never be ashamed - That is, let me never have occasion to be ashamed for having put this confidence in Thee. Let Thy dealings toward me be such as to show that my confidence was well founded. The word is not used here in the sense of being unwilling to confess his faith in God, or his love for Him, as it is often now (compare Romans 1:16; Romans 5:5; 2 Timothy 1:12), but in the sense of being so "disappointed" as to make one ashamed that he had thus relied on that which was unworthy of confidence. See the notes at Job 6:20; compare also Isaiah 30:5; Jeremiah 2:26; Jeremiah 14:3-4. The psalmist prays that God would interpose in his behalf in answer to his prayers, and that he would show that He was worthy of the confidence which he had reposed in him, or that He was a God who might be trusted in the time of trial; in other words, that he might not be subjected to the reproach of the wicked for having in his troubles relied upon such a God.
Deliver me in thy righteousness - In the manifestation of Thy righteous character; in the exhibition of that character as righteous; as doing justice between man and man; as pronouncing a just sentence between me and my enemies.
Ps 31:1-24. The prayer of a believer in time of deep distress. In the first part, cries for help are mingled with expressions of confidence. Then the detail of griefs engrosses his attention, till, in the assurance of strong but submissive faith, he rises to the language of unmingled joyful trust and exhorts others to like love and confidence towards God.
2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily; be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
4 Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.
5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities; but I trust in the Lord.
"In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust." Nowhere else do I fly for shelter, let the tempest howl as it may. The Psalmist has one refuge, and that the best one. He casts out the great sheet anchor of his faith in the time of storm. Let other things be doubtful, yet the fact that he relies upon Jehovah, David lays down most positively; and he begins with it, lest by stress of trial he should afterwards forget it. This avowal of faith is the fulcrum by means of which he labours to uplift and remove his trouble; he dwells upon it as a comfort to himself and a plea with God. No mention is made of merit, but faith relies upon divine favour and faithfulness, and upon that alone. "Let me never be ashamed." How can the Lord permit the man to be ultimately put to shame who depends alone upon him? This would not be dealing like a God of truth and grace. It would bring dishonour upon God himself if faith were not in the end rewarded. It will be an ill day indeed for religion when trust in God brings no consolation and no assistance. "Deliver me in thy righteousness." Thou art not unjust to desert a trustful soul, or to break thy promises; thou wilt vindicate the righteousness of thy mysterious providence, and give me joyful deliverance. Faith dares to look even to the sword of justice for protection-while God is righteous, faith will not be left to be proved futile and fanatical. How sweetly the declaration of faith in this first verse sounds, if we read it at the foot of the cross, beholding the promise of the Father as yea and amen through the Son; viewing God with faith's eye as he stands revealed in Jesus crucified.
"Bow down thine ear to me." Condescend to my low estate; listen to me attentively as one who would hear every word. Heaven with its transcendent glories of harmony might well engross the divine ear, but yet the Lord has an hourly regard to the weakest moanings of his poorest people. "Deliver me speedily." We must not set times and seasons, yet in submission we may ask for swift as well as sure mercy. God's mercies are often enhanced in value by the timely haste which he uses in their bestowal; if they came late they might be too late - but he rides upon a cherub, and flies upon the wings of the wind when he intends the good of his beloved. "Be thou my strong rock." Be my Engedi, my Adullam; my immutable, immovable, impregnable, sublime, resort. "For an house of defence to save me," wherein I may dwell in safety, not merely running to thee for temporary shelter, but abiding in thee for eternal salvation. How very simply does the good man pray, and yet with what weight of meaning! he uses no ornamental flourishes, he is too deeply in earnest to be otherwise than plain: it were well if all who engage in public prayer would observe the same rule.
"For thou art my rock and my fortress." Here the tried soul avows yet again its full confidence in God. Faith's repetitions are not vain. The avowal of our reliance upon God in times of adversity is a principal method of glorifying him. Active service is good, but the passive confidence of faith is not one jot less esteemed in the sight of God. The words before us appear to embrace and fasten upon the Lord with a fiducial grip which is not to be relaxed. The two personal pronouns, like sure nails, lay hold upon the faithfulness of the Lord. O for grace to have our heart fixed in firm unstaggering belief in God! The figure of a rock and a fortress may be illustrated to us in these times by the vast fortress of Gibraltar, often besieged by our enemies, but never wrested from us: ancient strongholds, though far from impregnable by our modes of warfare, were equally important in those remoter ages - when in the mountain fastnesses, feeble bands felt themselves to be secure. Note the singular fact that David asked the Lord to be his rock (Psalm 31:2) because he was his rock; and learn from it that we may pray to enjoy in experience what we grasp by faith. Faith is the foundation of prayer. "Therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me." The Psalmist argues like a logician with his fors and therefores. Since I do sincerely trust thee, saith he, O my God, be my director. To lead and to guide are two things very like each other, but patient thought will detect different shades of meaning, especially as the last may mean provide for me. The double word indicates an urgent need - we require double direction, for we are fools, and the way is rough. Lead me as a soldier, guide me as a traveller! lead me as a babe, guide me as a man; lead me when thou art with me, but guide me even if thou be absent; lead; me by thy hand, guide me by thy word. The argument used is one which is fetched from the armoury of free grace: not for my own sake, but for thy name's sake guide me. Our appeal is not to any fancied virtue in our own names, but to the glorious goodness and graciousness which shine resplendent in the character of Israel's God. It is not possible that the Lord should suffer his own honour to be tarnished, but this would certainly be the case if those who trusted him should perish. This was Moses' plea, "What wilt thou do unto thy great name?"
"Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me." The enemies of David were cunning as well as mighty; if they could not conquer him by power, they would capture him by craft. Our own spiritual foes are of the same order - they are of the serpent's brood, and seek to ensnare us by their guile. The prayer before us supposes the possibility of the believer being caught like a bird; and, indeed, we are so foolish that this often happens. So deftly does the fowler do his work that simple ones are soon surrounded by it. The text asks that even out of the meshes of the net the captive one may be delivered; and this is a proper petition and one which can be granted; from between the jaws of the lion and out of the belly of hell can eternal love rescue the saint. It may need a sharp pull to save a soul from the net of temptation, and a mighty pull to extricate a man from the snares of malicious cunning, but the Lord is equal to every emergency, and the most skilfully placed nets of the hunter shall never be able to hold his chosen ones. Woe unto those who are so clever at net laying: they who tempt others shall be destroyed themselves. Villains who lay traps in secret shall be punished in public. "For thou art my strength." What an inexpressible sweetness is to be found in these few words! How joyfully may we enter upon labours, and how cheerfully may we endure sufferings when we can lay hold upon celestial power. Divine power will rend asunder all the toils of the foe, confound their politics and frustrate their knavish tricks; he is a happy man who has such matchless might engaged upon his side. Our own strength would be of little service when embarrassed in the nets of base cunning, but the Lord's strength is ever available; we have but to invoke it, and we shall find it near at hand. If by faith we are depending alone upon the strength of the strong God of Israel, we may use our holy reliance as a plea in supplication.
let me never be ashamed; neither in this world, nor in that to come. The believer has no reason to be ashamed of anything in this life but sin, and the imperfection of his own righteousness, and his trust in it; not of the Lord, in whom he trusts; nor of his Word, or Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom he believes as his Saviour and Redeemer; nor of the Spirit, and his work of grace upon him; nor of his faith, hope, trust, and confidence in them; nor of the Gospel, the means of faith, and of the support of it; nor of, the reproaches, afflictions, and sufferings, he endures for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; nor of his ordinances and his people; nor will he be ashamed hereafter at the coming of Christ, when he will appear in his righteousness, be clothed with white robes, have palms in his hands, and shall stand at his right hand, and be received into glory;
deliver me in thy righteousness; not in his own, by which he knew there was no acceptance with God, no justification before him, nor any deliverance and salvation from sin and death; but by the righteousness of God, which the Son of God has wrought out, God the Father accepts of and imputes, and the Spirit of God reveals and applies; by this there is deliverance from sin, its guilt, and damning power, and from the curses and condemnation of the law, and from wrath to come, and from the second death.<
(a) For then God declares himself just, when he preserves his as he has promised.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. do I put my trust] Have I taken refuge. Cp. Psalm 7:1 (note); Psalm 11:1; Psalm 16:1; Psalm 25:20.
let me never be ashamed] Disappointed and confounded by finding that my trust was vain. Cp. Psalm 31:17; Psalm 25:2; Psalm 25:20; Psalm 22:5.
in thy righteousness] To desert His servant (Psalm 31:16) would be inconsistent with Jehovah’s righteousness.
1–8. The prayer of faith, Psalm 31:1-3 are repeated in that beautiful mosaic, Psalms 71; and Psalm 31:1 a forms the close of the Te Deum.Verse 1. - In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust. If prayer to God for aid in a special time of trouble is the main object of the psalm, the expression of full trust in God is a secondary object, and is maintained throughout (see vers. 3-8, 14, 19-21, 24). Notwithstanding the extremity of his danger, his belief is firm in the coming overthrow of his enemies, and in his own deliverance and restoration. Let me never be ashamed (comp. ver. 17, where the idea is expanded). David's enemies having come to an open rupture with him, and appealed to arms (2 Samuel 15:10-12; 2 Samuel 17:24-26), one party or the other must of necessity be put to shame. Here he prays that it may not be himself; in ver. 17 he goes a step further, and asks that the shame may fall upon his enemies. Deliver me in thy righteousness. Seeing that my cause is the righteous one. Psalm 31:23; Psalm 49:4) he contrasts his former self-confidence, in which (like the רשׁע, Psalm 10:6) he thought himself to be immoveable, with the God-ward trust he has now gained in the school of affliction. Instead of confiding in the Giver, he trusted in the gift, as though it had been his own work. It is uncertain, - but it is all the same in the end, - whether שׁלוי is the inflected infinitive שלו of the verb שׁלי (which we adopt in our translation), or the inflected noun שׁלו (שׁלוּ) equals שׁלו, after the form שׂחוּ, a swimming, Ezekiel 47:5, equals שׁלוה, Jeremiah 22:21. The inevitable consequence of such carnal security, as it is more minutely described in Deuteronomy 8:11-18, is some humbling divine chastisement. This intimate connection is expressed by the perfects in Psalm 30:8, which represent God's pardon, God's withdrawal of favour, which is brought about by his self-exaltation, and the surprise of his being undeceived, as synchronous. העמיד עז, to set up might is equivalent to: to give it as a lasting possession; cf. 2 Chronicles 33:8, which passage is a varied, but not (as Riehm supposes) a corrupted, repetition of 2 Kings 21:8. It is, therefore, unnecessary, as Hitzig does, to take ל as accusatival and עז as adverbial: in Thy favour hadst Thou made my mountain to stand firm. The mountain is Zion, which is strong by natural position and by the additions of art (2 Samuel 5:9); and this, as being the castle-hill, is the emblem of the kingdom of David: Jahve had strongly established his kingdom for David, when on account of his trust in himself He made him to feel how all that he was he was only by Him, and without Him he was nothing whatever. The form of the inflexion הררי, instead of הרי equals harri, is defended by Genesis 14:6 and Jeremiah 17:3 (where it is הררי as if from הרר). The reading להדרי (lxx, Syr.), i.e., to my kingly dignity is a happy substitution; whereas the reading of the Targum להררי, "placed (me) on firm mountains," at once refutes itself by the necessity for supplying "me."
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