(H) (A psalm) of David. (1) To you, Yahweh, I call. My rock, do not be silent to me, lest, if you are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. (2) Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy place. (3) Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while malice is in their hearts. (4) Repay them according to their deeds, according to the evil of their doings. Repay them according to the work of their hands. Render to them what they deserve. (5) Because they do not discern the works of Yahweh nor the undertakings of his hands, he will tear them down and not rebuild them. (6) Blessed be Yahweh because he has heard the voice of my supplications. (7) Yahweh (is) my strength and shield. My heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart exults, and with my song I praise him. (8) Yahweh (is) the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed (one). (9) Save your people and bless your inheritance. Shepherd them and sustain them forever.
This psalm readily falls into two segments. First, David concerns himself with evildoers, his enemies and the enemies of God (vs. 1-5). Then his focus shifts to Yahweh’s relationship with the covenant nation which he calls “your inheritance” (vs. 6-9).
David begins by asking Yahweh to hear and answer his prayer using the terms “calling” (vs. 1) and “crying” out to him (vs. 2). Twice he uses the word “silent” in pleading with God not to be unresponsive to his supplications (vs. 1). Regarding evildoers, the psalmist makes two requests and one assertion. He first asks Yahweh not to associate him, “drag him away” in judgment, with the wicked (vs. 3). His second request, stated emphatically through repetition, is for God to repay the wicked for their evil deeds (vs. 4). Finally, David expresses his conviction that Yahweh will judge the wicked by destroying them (vs. 5).
In the second segment, David declares his praise for Yahweh’s having heard his prayers (vs. 6). The concerns he expressed earlier (vss. 1-5) are now being remedied by Yahweh’s response. The psalmist rejoices in the strength and protection Yahweh constantly provides both personally and for the nation he governs (vss. 7 & 8). He closes the psalm with an earnest prayer for the salvation and blessing of the covenant people, asking that Yahweh might shepherd and sustain them forever (vs. 9).
I. Petition for Yahweh to hear and repay the wicked (1-5)
II. Praise that Yahweh has heard and strengthened us (6-9)
For hearing and answering our prayers and for strengthening and sustaining us Yahweh deserves our highest praise.
Students of human behavior agree that the silent treatment is one of the worst tortures we can inflict on those around us. Silence is often more difficult to endure than harshly shouted insults. When God seems silent or unresponsive to our prayers, we can quickly lose heart. We may even be tempted to question his loving care. When we feel abandoned, we need David’s example in Psalm 28 to encourage us to keep on praying, crying out boldly for God to respond. There is nothing wrong with letting God know how we are feeling even when we are angry, discouraged, or frustrated with him. He can take our negativity.
In human relationships, our frequent response to silence is to become silent in turn. We think, “If he or she refuses to talk to me, then I won’t talk either.” We should never be tempted to let that thought hinder our praying. The key word in the statement, “When God seems to be silent or unresponsive” is the little word, “seems.” Scripture repeatedly assures us that God hears our every prayer and will eventually answer us. In fact, he knows what we are going to ask even before we utter a word. While he may at times seem distant, he is closer to us than our hands and feet. When his response seems delayed, we need to persist in praying and determine to wait. Eventually his seeming absence will turn into the delight of his presence when he comes through with just the right answer at just the right time.