(21) Blessed be Yahweh, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me in a besieged city. (22) As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” Yet you heard the voice of my supplications for favor when I cried out to you. (23) Love Yahweh, all you his saints, for Yahweh preserves the faithful but fully repays the one who acts in pride. (24) Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait on the Lord.
So far, Psalm 31 has displayed a structure similar to a classical music concerto with three contrasting movements. In this final segment, we reach the coda, meaning “tail,” the last part of the third and final movement. Here David summarizes the message of the psalm and reaches an appropriate conclusion.
The psalmist accomplishes this with a two-part thrust. First, as a role model, he provides us with a brief testimony of personal deliverance which summarizes what Yahweh has done to save him from near destruction (vss. 21 & 22). Then, as a teacher, he instructs us to love Yahweh and continue to trust him in whatever circumstances we face (vss. 23 & 24). Two words are repeated in this segment: “Yahweh” (three times in vss. 21 & 23) and “love” twice in the same verses. In his first use of “love,” David speaks of Yahweh’s care for him when he was in difficulty (vs. 21). In the second instance, he calls on all who have experienced Yahweh’s gracious provision to love him in response (vs. 23).
I. Extolling Yahweh for his steadfast love (21 & 22)
II. Exhorting all who know Yahweh to respond to him in love (23 & 24)
Yahweh’s steadfast love, shown consistently both to the king and to all the faithful, encourages us to love and trust him all the more.
Walking by faith in a loving God is not an issue we settle with a onetime decision thinking we have resolved the matter for the rest of our lives. While the gift of eternal life is ours the moment we place our trust in Christ as Savior, never to be taken away or lost, our daily experience of walking with him requires constant attention and regular refreshing.
The marriage relationship illustrates this for us. If we were to ask a couple precisely when their marriage began, they would likely point to their wedding day and to the specific moment when they exchanged vows, pledging to remain together until death separates them. While such a promise provides the basis for a lifelong commitment, a strong and vital marriage requires constant attention. Every day a husband and wife need to rekindle their devotion for one another with words like “I love you” and with actions that prove that love genuine. Couples that neglect regular demonstrations of devotion thinking “He knows I love him” or “I thought I made this clear to her a long time ago” will soon find their relationship growing stale and losing its fervor. In the same way, each of us must refresh our relationship with God repeatedly.
The testimony found in the closing verses of Psalm 31 reminds us of this truth. David, who in his youth had committed himself to Yahweh, testifies to God’s faithfulness during a long and eventful life that was filled with triumphs as well as tragedies. On the basis of his testimony, he challenges “all you his saints” to love Yahweh, that is, to deepen our commitment every day to walk by faith in our loving and gracious God.