A Psalm of David.

This is another psalm by Israel’s great shepherd-king. David once again trusts in the LORD, and cries out to Him in a time of trouble.

1.  In You, O LORD, I put my trust;

It was Yahweh Whom David trusted in. Men have many things in which they place their trust. Some trust in riches. Some trust in their own strength or power. Some trust in friends. Others trust in governments. Some trust their jobs. But for the believer, Yahweh is the only One Who is truly trustworthy in everything. He is the only One in Whom we can place our trust, and know that it has not been misplaced!

Let me never be ashamed;

Because he has trusted in Yahweh, both for his life and his kingdom, David calls upon Him to see to it that he need never be ashamed. In God’s secret dispensation in which we live, we have no promises from God that He will keep us from ever being put to shame before our adversaries. Yet one thing we can know: that we need never suffer the shame of facing trials without a knowledge of God to help us through!

Deliver me in Your righteousness.

David calls upon the LORD to deliver him in His righteousness. Even in our day the LORD can deliver us from many things by His righteousness, for how many sorrows do the people of the world bring upon themselves through the sinful acts they commit? As we abide in His righteousness, we can indeed be delivered from such things. But what David was calling upon was for the Lord to deliver him IN His righteousness. That is, he knew that he was in his troubles unjustly, and thus he asked the LORD to justly deliver him. The LORD does not deliver us in our day from things just because we deserve it, and He does not fail to deliver us from things because we do not deserve to be delivered. For the LORD to act this way would be for Him to act in judgment, and that is not the way the LORD deals with us today. We live in the dispensation of grace, and if God cannot act in grace, then He does not act at all.

2.  Bow down Your ear to me,

This is poetic imagery for the LORD listening to David’s plea, for of course Yahweh would not literally bow down His ear to hear David. What David wants is for Yahweh to pay attention to his request, and to grant it.

Deliver me speedily;

David requests a quick deliverance from the LORD once He has listened to his request.

Be my rock of refuge,

Now David asks the LORD to be the strong place of refuge that he needs to withstand the troubles that faced him. How we too need that rock of refuge in our lives as we face the many enemies of this world that stand against us! We need a firm place to stand to face the waves of opposition and deception that wash against us. We need to take our refuge in standing upon a rock.

A fortress of defense to save me.

David emphasizes his plea for the LORD to be a rock of refuge for him by repeating the request again in slightly different words, this time asking Yahweh to be a fortress of defense to save him.

3.  For You are my rock and my fortress;

David knows that the LORD already is his rock and his fortress. Therefore, he has called upon the LORD to be what He already is, to act out what David knows to be true of Him.

Therefore, for Your name’s sake,

David calls upon the LORD to do this, not for David’s sake, but for the sake of His Own name. The LORD had taken David and made him His king and representative. Therefore, for Him to be a refuge to David would benefit His Own reputation, and show forth to others His Own character in caring for the one who was His.

Lead me and guide me.

For the LORD’s reputation to benefit, not only would David have to be kept safe, but also he would have to be guided into doing the things that the LORD would have him do. Thus, David calls upon Yahweh to gently lead and guide him. He knows that by doing this, the LORD’s own reputation will benefit.

4.  Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,

His enemies had laid a secret trap for David, and now he was entangled in it. From this net he calls out to Yahweh to pull him out and deliver him from it.

For You are my strength.

This net, this trap that he was in, might be too much for a mere man to handle. Yet the LORD was David’s strength, and He was more than able to spring this trap set by David’s enemies and to bring him out safely from it.

5.  Into Your hand I commit my spirit;

Now David commits his spirit into the hand of the LORD. Spirit here carries the idea of the breath of life, which is often attached to it. David was committing his very life into the hands of the LORD, either to spare his life, or to allow him to die, whichever the LORD saw fit to do.

These very words were quoted in prayer by the Lord Jesus Christ at His death in Luke 23:46. Stephen followed the Lord’s example and prayed a similar prayer at his death in Acts 7:59. This is indeed a good sentiment to have, and a good way to pass into the state of death. I trust that, should I die and the resurrection not occur before that time comes, that when I die I will be able to have the same sentiment about it: that I will be content to trust my spirit into the hands of the LORD.

You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

In David’s case, the LORD God of truth redeemed him when he thus trusted in Him with his very life. The reference to truth here probably refers back to the fact that David was innocent regarding those who sought to take his life. The LORD knew that this was the case, and so His redemption of David was in line with the truth.

It is important that we realize that our LORD is the God of truth. Many men today view truth as of little consequence. If we can have a larger group if we all agree to disagree, if we can reach more people by soft-pedaling the truth, if we can all get along as long as we stick only to certain core beliefs and leave the rest of the truth in the background, then men view this as a good thing and are more than willing to do so. Yet God is not the God of only some of the truth. He is not a God Who delights more in service or in numbers than He does in truth. He is the God of truth, and if we wish to be serving Him in the way He would have us to do, then we must stand for the truth while we do so.

6.  I have hated those who regard useless idols;

David sets forth his attitude and innocence. He is not one who would look to any god out there hoping that one of them might have pity and help him. He was not like those who go to one church to baptize their infants, another church to baptize themselves as adults, another church to go to the front to dedicate their lives to Christ, another church to speak in tongues, another church to take the Mass, and so forth. These are willing to jump from one idea to another, from one religion to another, in hopes that one of them has it right and that by doing some act that that groups suggests, they might gain favor with God. But David was not like this. He did not try to get mixed up in every religion in hopes that one of them might be right. He hated those who regarded useless idols. In Hebrew this is emptinesses or vanities. Idols are often spoken of this way, for men thought them the valuable representatives of certain gods, but in the LORD’s eyes they were empty of any power, just useless nothings. And the same is true of those religious acts that men today try to do to gain favor with God. They regard them as valuable, but to the LORD they are meaningless.

But I trust in the LORD.

David trusted in the LORD, not in the useless idols that others trusted in. In the same way, we should trust in the LORD, and not in the empty religious acts that so many around us look to for gaining favor in God’s sight. He is our Savior, and our faith in Him is what saves us, not some empty ritual that men have devised.

7.  I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,

God’s grace had been shown to David, and he will be glad and rejoice in it. How much too today can we rejoice in the grace of the LORD that has saved us from all our sin!

For You have considered my trouble;

Yahweh’s grace had been shown towards David in that He had considered David’s trouble. He had heard David’s plea and had acted to help him.

You have known my soul in adversities,

Yahweh has known David’s soul in adversities. In David’s troubles, the LORD had continued to take knowledge of him and all that he was going through. We can know that the LORD does the same thing for us as well. He never forgets us when we are going through troubles.

8.  And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;

The LORD had not just taken knowledge of David in his troubles, but He had also taken care of him, seeing to it that he was not shut up in the trap that the enemy had set for him. “Hand” here speaks of power. What is in your hand is under your power. You can keep it carefully, set it down, or dash it to the ground. So, in spite of the net that his enemies had set for him, the LORD had kept David from remaining under their power.

You have set my feet in a wide place.

As opposed to being trapped in a net, this phrase gives us a picture of freedom. David is in a very wide place, and he is able to go where he wishes within it. The LORD had set him free, and so he was free indeed!

9.  Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble;

The psalm returns, as songs often do, from David’s rescue and freedom to the time of trouble that he had been in. Once again David calls upon the LORD for mercy, for grace, in his time of trouble. Once again in this description of trouble we are reminded of the ordeal the Lord Jesus Christ went through for us on the cross, even as we were reminded of it up in verse 5 when we read the same words He spoke on the cross. These words were just as true of Christ a thousand years later as they were of David at the time he prayed them.

My eye wastes away with grief,

This speaks of David’s tears and weeping. His picturesque description gives us the idea of him weeping for so long that his very eyes are wasted away from all the tears.

Yes, my soul and my body!

His very soul, his very being, and his very body are wasting away in his grief. How often can grief affect the very health of the one who is suffering under it!

10.  For my life is spent with grief,

“Spent” means used up or gone here. It is as if David has used up the remaining years that were left to him in a very short time, using them up in his grief.

And my years with sighing;

His sighing again speaks of his sorrow, as if his sighing has decreased the years remaining to him until there are none left.

My strength fails because of my iniquity,

His strength is gone because of his iniquity. This word “iniquity” reads “humiliation” in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Bible, as well as in the Syrian version. If we apply this verse to the Lord Jesus Christ, humiliation does seem to fit better, for the Lord had no iniquity of His Own. David certainly did, though, so iniquity could fit here, though it decreases the similarity to Christ.

And my bones waste away.

The picture of his grief destroying him is completed by the idea that his very bones are wasting away because of it.

11.  I am a reproach among all my enemies,

David has become like a joke to his enemies, a reason for derision. Again this makes us think of the Lord Jesus, Who suffered the derision of His enemies as He hung on the cross, dying for our sins.

But especially among my neighbors,
This could speak of the kings of the countries around David, or even of the men of Israel who lived around him. The LORD was also derided, not just by His enemies, but also by His neighbors. See, for example, Mark 15:29-30, which speaks of just those people who passed by the cross mocking Him.

And am repulsive to my acquaintances;

Though his acquaintances did not necessarily mock him, he did seem repulsive to them in his trouble. Again, this would seem to speak of an illness that David went through that even altered his appearance, making perhaps the words above about him wasting away not entirely just colorful language. This could be the same illness that the previous Psalm spoke of. In the Lord’s case, His appearance was so marred on the cross that, though they may have mourned rather than deriding, He certainly must have seemed repulsive even to those who loved Him.

Those who see me outside flee from me.

David’s appearance is so changed, and perhaps he is so obviously one suffering from a serious illness, that those who see him when he is outside flee from him. This must have been a serious illness indeed! We can also imagine many fleeing from the cross when they saw the repulsive appearance of the One hanging upon it.

12.  I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;

In the minds of people, David is already all but dead, and so they are starting to forget him and think of who might be the next king after him. We would say that they have already written him off. The Lord Jesus Christ, of course, did die, and so was forgotten by His enemies, who did not think that He could trouble them any further.

I am like a broken vessel.

David compares himself to a broken vessel. Once it is broken, men realize that it is useless, and so they turn from it to that which is still unbroken. In the same way, men are turning from David to others whom they think could take his place. Of course, men were wrong about David, for the LORD delivered him from his illness. And they were just as wrong about the Lord Jesus, for He too came out of death and returned triumphant over His enemies!

13.  For I hear the slander of many;

David, in his illness and distress, hears many people slandering him. These are those who wish, in our common idiom, to kick him while he’s down. When David is in this distress, his enemies view this as a good time to speak against him and slander his good name. Again this reminds us of Christ hanging on the cross, and listening to the slander of His enemies.

Fear is on every side;

This is a figure of speech, meaning things to be afraid of are on every side. David knows that he is in serious danger on every hand.

While they take counsel together against me,

David knows that those who hate him are not just acting alone, but are taking counsel together against him. In this same way, the Lord Jesus’ enemies took counsel together against Him when they put Him to death.

They scheme to take away my life.

Those who took counsel against him did not wish to merely injure David, but went all the way, scheming to take away his life. The Lord’s enemies did the same thing.

The word “life” here is the Hebrew word “soul.” These enemies of David wanted to take his very soul away from him. Here his “soul” means his self or his very being. “Life” is a good interpretation of the word “soul” here, though it is not a good translation of the Hebrew word nephesh.

14.  But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD;

David contrasts himself with these men. They are counseling together, trusting in each other to bring their schemes to pass. David, on the other hand, trusts in the LORD to save him and bring him through this time of trouble.

I say, “You are my God.”

David acknowledges to the LORD that He is his God, his Creator and Judge. That is why his trust is in Him in this time of trouble. He knows that the LORD Who made him is able to determine his innocence regarding those things that his enemies slandered against him, and is able to deliver him from the illness that sought to take away his soul.

15.  My times are in Your hand;

This is a beautiful sentiment and way of expressing the truth. David knew his times were in Yahweh’s hand. If his times were about to come to an end, then that was in the LORD’s hands. If, on the other hand, He wished David to escape this danger and continue to live before Him, then that was in His hand as well.

Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,

In the LORD’s hand is where David wants to be. But he does not want to be in the hand of his enemies, so he calls upon the Lord to deliver him from their power.

And from those who persecute me.

This is again a repetition for emphasis. David’s times are in the LORD’s hands, and he wants Him to deliver him from the power of his persecutors.

16.  Make Your face shine upon Your servant;

David calls upon the LORD to make His face to shine upon David. The LORD’s shining face here is put for His attention and approval.

Save me for Your mercies’ sake.

Once He blesses David with His attention and approval, David calls upon the LORD to deliver him and preserve him from the danger he is in. David knows that he does not deserve such help, but he calls upon the LORD to do this for the sake of His mercies. Indeed, His mercy and grace is the only reason any of us can hope to receive help from the LORD, for we are all sinners who deserve nothing but His wrath!

17.  Do not let me be ashamed, O LORD, for I have called upon You;

David repeats his plea from earlier in the Psalm, asking the LORD to not let him be ashamed because he has called upon the LORD.

Let the wicked be ashamed;

He pleads with the LORD to bring shame upon the wicked instead. Such a prayer is not appropriate for our day, when God works in a dispensation or policy of grace, showing only love and favor to the undeserving. Yet someday we know the day of judgment will come, when shame will come upon the wicked, but the righteous will never be ashamed. Then, David’s prayer here will be fulfilled once and for all.

Let them be silent in the grave.

He calls upon the LORD to bring the wicked to silence in the grave. Instead of his own death, he calls upon the LORD to bring the lives of these wicked men to an end.

The word “grave” here is the Hebrew word sheol, and speaks of the state of death with resurrection in view. He asks the LORD to let these wicked lie silent in death until the time for their being called forth in judgment has come.

18.  Let the lying lips be put to silence,

He continues his above request, speaking figuratively of the lips of these wicked men, asking for them to be silenced. Of course, it was their slanderous words and schemes against David that would be put to silence by the death of those who spoke them.

Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

David calls not just for the end of the lying lips that spoke against him, but also that all lying lips that speak against the righteous might be put to silence. These proud men speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. Oh, how well we know this, who hear the words of such insolent men around us on every side! In the movies, on television, on the radio, in classrooms, and among our acquaintances, we all know of those who speak insolent things against those who love and serve the LORD. The day is coming when all such lips shall be put to silence, as is set forth so clearly in passages like Psalm 64. They will not be able to speak such things forever!

19.  Oh, how great is Your goodness,

Now David soliloquies the LORD’s goodness. Having reviewed his distress and the danger he had been in, he now returns to his joy in the deliverance the LORD had brought about for him, bringing him out of his troubles.

Which You have laid up for those who fear You,

This is not just the LORD’s Own goodness, but rather the goodness He had laid up in store for those who fear Him. This may be the good things He gives them, but it could also speak of the imputed righteousness or goodness that the LORD gives to those who reverence Him in truth.

Which You have prepared for those who trust in You

The LORD has prepared this goodness for those who place their trust in the LORD. Praise the LORD for the goodness He has laid up for us!

In the presence of the sons of men!

Before the sons of Adam, who trust in themselves and in each other, there are those who go against the ways of the world around them and who trust in the LORD instead of in man. It is these for whom the LORD had prepared His goodness to be bestowed upon them. Praise the LORD for those we know who, with us, trust in the LORD above all others!

20.  You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence

In the LORD’s presence is a secret place where those who plot against the righteous can never find them, and where their schemes cannot touch them. It is here that the LORD shall hide them from their enemies. This could be a reference to the time of the tribulation, when the LORD shall hide His faithful in the wilderness from the presence of the anti-Christ and his men who seek to destroy them. Yet we too can find a secret place in the LORD’s presence where we can rest and find safety in Him. Even if our road leads us to enter the state of death, we can know that He will preserve us there unto His glorious Kingdom and the world to come.

From the plots of man;

In the secret place of His presence, all the plots of men cannot touch those who fear the LORD and trust in Him.

You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion

These faithful are kept secretly in a pavilion, which indicates a booth or tent. This may not be a literal building, but rather the tent of His presence and protection. This verse reminds me of Ezekiel 11:16, which contains the LORD’s promise to the Israelites as to His dealings with them in their captivity and scattering into other lands.

Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.”’

Just as the LORD was a little sanctuary to the scattered Israelites in the captivity, so He will be a pavilion of safety for those whom He hides in the secret place of His presence from the wicked who scheme against them.

From the strife of tongues.

They are kept there safe from the tongues of their enemies striving against them. Even today, when many speak against those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and stand up for His truth in His Word rightly divided, we know that, though in the world we may have persecution, yet in the Lord we are kept safe from all the strife of tongues that our enemies may bring against us. We may “lose face” in the sight of men, but we will never lose face for standing for the truth in the sight of God!

21.  Blessed be the LORD,

David proclaims blessing upon the LORD for all He had done for him.

For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!

God’s marvelous kindness is basically the same thing as His grace. David was referring to the grace the LORD had shown to him in his own home city of Zion by bringing him out of the trouble that had come upon him.

22.  For I said in my haste,

This is what David had said to the LORD when he had been in the midst of his trouble and misery. But now he realizes that what he had said had been spoken hastily.

“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;

David had thought that it was all over for him, and that he would be cut off by death from living before the LORD.

Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications

In spite of the fact that David had all but given up, the LORD did not abandon him, but rather heard his supplications and granted his request.

When I cried out to You.

The LORD had answered David’s cry, even when he had given up on Him doing so.

23.  Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints!

David calls upon all the LORD’s saints to love Him, as well they should, even as he himself did for all that the LORD had done for him. The word “saints” here means “favored ones,” and speaks of all those to whom the LORD has shown His grace. Indeed, how gracious He has been to us in this, the dispensation of grace. For He has saved us from our sins and given us the seal of the Spirit, guaranteeing us life in His world to come. So we, like David, ought to love the LORD for all the grace He has showered upon us.

For the LORD preserves the faithful,

David wants all the saints to love the LORD because He preserves the faithful. Well David knew this, having just experienced this preservation himself through the terrible danger he had been in!

And fully repays the proud person.

Those who are too proud to be faithful to the LORD, however, will not be so blessed. Rather, the LORD will reward them for their own headstrong ways. Pride is always our enemy in serving the LORD faithfully as we ought. Ever must we remember that all that we have is from Him. It is not for our own righteousness that He has blessed us, but rather through His grace. If we keep this in mind, it will help to keep us from the pride that is so hateful in God’s sight.

24.  Be of good courage,

In concluding this psalm, David calls upon his readers to be of good courage. No doubt David himself was greatly encouraged by the gracious deliverance the LORD had just given him.

And He shall strengthen your heart,

When we have courage to serve the LORD, He shall strengthen us to do it.

All you who hope in the LORD.

For those of us who have made Christ our Savior, we have indeed placed our hope in Him. Let us dwell in that hope, and the LORD will strengthen us in times of trouble when we stand courageously for Him.