Lord, Save Your People / Knowing Christ In Psalm 28

By: A.T. Walker

Psalm 28:1-9

To You I will cry, O Lord 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.
Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
Do not take me away with the wicked
And with the workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.
Give them according to their deeds,
And according to the wickedness of their endeavors;
Give them according to the work of their hands;
Render to them what they deserve.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord,
Nor the operation of His hands,
He shall destroy them
And not build them up.
Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
The Lord is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

How desperate are you to hear from God? Have you ever actually cried out to him out of desperation? Have you ever said, “If I do not hear from you, I will die!” Our situation may be unstable, but He is not. He is the Rock!

Do not take me away with the wicked
And with the workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.
Give them according to their deeds,
And according to the wickedness of their endeavors;
Give them according to the work of their hands;
Render to them what they deserve.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord,
Nor the operation of His hands,
He shall destroy them
And not build them up.

When we see and start to understand the holiness of God, the wickedness of man becomes terribly apparent. Douglas Wilson says,”If we want to separate from the wicked in their approaching miseries, we need to be separate from them in their current pleasures.” David sees the wickedness around him and wants no part of it. In fact, he wants God to destroy it.

Now there is some tension here that needs to be addressed. How can David cry for mercy from God, and then ask for God to bring justice against the wicked? Some see this as a conflict between the Old and New Testaments. Some are not comfortable with even saying these types of prayers. Some are far too comfortable with praying these prayers with very specific people in mind. Ephesians 5:19 says:

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”

We are called to speak and sing psalms with one another and to one another. That includes this psalm and the others like it. But how do we reconcile this prayer with the New Testament call to “Love our enemies” and “Turn the other cheek”? For a more in-depth look, you can read my post on the Imprecatory Psalms here. Still, there are a couple things I want to say here:

  1. The psalms are best understood when we sing and pray them in Christ, meaning that we view the psalms as being fulfilled in Christ.
  2. David is not calling down God’s vengeance against his neighbor who keeps stealing his newspaper or the guy who cut him off in traffic. These prayers are aimed at the wickedness of man.
  3. Be careful with your prayers. Do not let unholy anger and hatred creep into them.

David has seen the impact of sin, and has even been on the receiving end of it, but look close at Who sin is ultimately committed against:

Render to them what they deserve.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord

While our sins often impact and involve those around us, ultimately all of our sins are committed against the Lord. Because the Lord is holy, sin cannot be in His presence and will be punished. Jesus swallowed up the wrath of God towards His people on the cross, which is why David can approach God and ask for mercy. Those who continue in their rebellion are still subject to that wrath. As far as justice goes, we must remember that God is Judge. He is holy and just. Every sin will be accounted for either by the sinner or by Christ. Some of us have committed terrible sins against others. Some of us have had terrible sins committed against us. John Piper once said, “Either Jesus will pay for every sin committed against you, or the sinner will. There is no injustice in this universe in the end.” These types of psalms are not a way to prayerfully attack individuals who have wronged us. Instead, pray that God would break the teeth of the sin that has ensnared them. The bottom line is that we do not want what we deserve. Those of us with eyes that have seen Christ know we need His mercy. Those blinded to the gospel don’t see their destruction on the horizon. Pray, and pray desperately, that their eyes will be opened before it’s too late. Because, in the end, the Lord will give them according to their deeds, the wickedness of their endeavors, and the work of their hands. He will render to them what they deserve because they do not regard the works of the Lord.

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
The Lord is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.

For those who have seen our own wickedness and have cried out to the Lord for salvation, He becomes our joy. When our faith is in Christ, He becomes our help and our strength. His is the saving refuge of His anointed and the shield against the wrath of God that will be poured out on the wicked. David then calls on the Lord to do what only the Lord can do:

Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

Justification. Sanctification. Glorification.

Yes, Lord and amen!

“Unless we are thoroughly convinced that without Christ we are under the eternal curse of God, as the worst of His enemies, we shall never flee to Him for refuge.” John Owen

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s