I will praise the LORD!
Reading: Psalm 31
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, LORD, my faithful God (NIV).*
We all need a place of refuge. Here as David begins Psalm 31, he pleads with God to hear him, and become a rock of refuge for him. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
David spent many of his early years fleeing from King Saul. At other times the Philistines were a threat. There were many occasions in which David needed a fortress—a rock of refuge from his enemies. Often he found himself calling out for the LORD to rescue him.
Are we any different? We may not have physical enemies who are seeking to kill us, but in the spiritual realm the demonic forces of hell are constantly seeking opportunities to trip us up, so that they can launch their vicious assault. Trouble and affliction comes to every human life. We are not immune simply because we have put our faith in Christ. We too need a safe place—a rock of refuge.
But the rock to which we flee is not an inanimate object, fixed and unmoving. No, we come to the living rock which is Christ. He travels with us on this earthly pilgrimage. The apostle, Paul reminds us that even the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness were not alone. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:3-4).
The veins of that rock were opened wide for us. Jesus bled and died so that we could experience new life and complete forgiveness. As he hung dying, Jesus called out to his Father with the words of this psalm, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Now daily that living rock accompanies you. He is the fount of forgiveness and a sure refuge in a time of need. Have you put your trust in him for your salvation now and in eternity?
Response: LORD God, I thank you for Jesus. You alone are my rock and my eternal fortress. Guide my spirit into the right path today. Keep me safe from the traps of the enemy. I trust in you. Amen.
Your Turn: Is Jesus your living rock? Why is the analogy of Jesus as a rock a comfort to you?
Reading: Psalm 141
Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,
and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.
They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth,
so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”
But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD;
in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.
Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers,
from the snares they have laid for me.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety (NIV).*
King David lived in treacherous times, and the opening lines from today’s reading reflect that reality. In fact, in its entirety Psalm 141 is a prayer for protection and personal safety. David had enemies who were eager to see his demise.
On a personal level the same is true for every redeemed believer. The apostle Peter provides us with this reminder: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Our very survival depends on heeding Peter’s advice.
David pleads for safety from the traps and snares that have been set for him. This brings to mind the word circumspect. As we move forward in life, we should be alert and circumspect. Circumspect is actually a compound Latin word. The circum portion of the word means around, or literally in a circle. The spect portion of the word means to look or see; this is the root for words such as spectacle or inspect. The circumspect person is looking around, so he does not step into the snares of the enemy.
But if we are truly circumspect, we don’t only look down for snares and traps. It is essential that we also look up. David expresses this thought with these words. But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.
The writer of Hebrews urges us on in our faith with these words: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).
We need eyes that are fixed on Jesus. He knows where the snares are, and he is well able to deliver us from the jaws of the enemy.
Response: Sovereign LORD, I commit my thoughts and ways to you. Guide me in the way of holiness for your name’s sake. I fix my eyes on you, Jesus, babe in a manger, suffering Savior, and my risen Lord. Amen.
Your Turn: How alert are you to the devil’s tactics? Are you fixing your eyes on Jesus?
*New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica