Trusting God to Deliver
(H) For the director of the choir, a psalm of David. (1) In you, Yahweh, I have taken refuge. Let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me. (2) Incline your ear to me. Rescue me in haste. Be for me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress to deliver me, (3) for you (are) my rock and my fortress. For your name’s sake you lead me and guide me. (4) You free me from the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. (5) Into your hand I commit my spirit. You have redeemed me, Yahweh, faithful God. (6) I have hated those who hold on to worthless idols, but I have trusted in Yahweh. (7) I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, for you have seen my affliction and have known my soul in adversities, (8) and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy. You have set my feet in a broad place.
The repetitions and synonyms in this segment provide us with a clear indication of its message. Along with three synonyms translated “deliver” (vss. 1, 2, & 8), “refuge” and its synonym also translated “refuge” are also used (vss. 1 & 2). “Refuge” is repeated (vs. 4). In addition to repetitions of “rock” and “fortress” (vss. 2 & 3), “rejoice” and its synonym, “glad,” are found (vs. 7). In these verses, David beautifully interweaves affirmations of trust in the Lord’s deliverance with earnest prayers that God will continue to protect and deliver him from adversity.
It may help to compare these eight verses to the first movement of a classical concerto in music. They open with the theme, “Yahweh, my refuge” (vs. 1), and proceed with two variations on the theme: first, “Yahweh, my rock and fortress” (vss. 2 & 3) and then “Yahweh my refuge and redeemer” (vss. 4 & 5). They close with the psalmist rejoicing in a loving God who delivers him from his enemies (vss. 6-8). In the midst of this segment (vs. 5), we find a well known expression of trust, the last of Jesus’ sentences spoken from the cross as his earthly life ended: “Into your hand I commit my spirit” (Lk. 23:46).
I. Theme: declaration of trust and prayer for deliverance (1)
II. Variation I: prayer for deliverance and declaration of trust (2 & 3)
III. Variation II: declaration of trust and prayer for deliverance (4 & 5)
IV. Close: those who trust in Yahweh rejoicing in his deliverance (6-8)
Those who take refuge in Yahweh can expect him to deliver them.
In view of the message of the psalm, namely that Yahweh delivers those who trust in him, some might be tempted to ask, “If God is so powerful, why does he not simply keep us from falling into difficulties in the first place?” A good answer comes from the life story of the one who quoted from this psalm as he was dying. If God’s Son had not suffered as he had, despised and rejected by men and wrongfully sentenced to death, he would never have accomplished our redemption by bearing our sins in his body on the cross. Take note that Jesus was careful not to quote the second line of verse 5, “You have redeemed me, Yahweh, faithful God.” The Redeemer of the world had no need himself to be redeemed.
Fitness centers across the nation hang a slogan on their walls that reads, “No pain, no gain.” That brief statement holds true for every one of us spiritually. God, in his infinite wisdom and grace, knows just what we need as disciples to develop the kind of spiritual fitness that glorifies him. That process inevitably involves trials and testings, difficulties and problems, situations that seem to threaten our well-being and, at times, our very lives. However, Yahweh’s promise remains steadfast: “If you trust in me, I will deliver you.” Whatever difficulties or problems we face at any point in our lives, we must learn to apply the principles of this psalm to our immediate situation and trust that God will come through for us as he did for his Son.