Observe: A lament, a cry for help, a place to run, praise. God is David’s Rock but He is silent (1). Those who reject God go down to the ‘pit’ – ultimate eternal silence, without God, and he fears being dragged down with them.
He cries out against those with malicious hearts, whose mouths speak cordially with their neighbours (3), and he demands God repay them for their evil. Their deeds will find them out, for God will bring deserved punishment -- a moral necessity. The Lord God cannot tolerate wickedness and hypocrisy. He will not be rejected.
In this lament, verses 6-9 express trust in his Rock’s protection, my strength and my shield (7), praise and thanks for His justice and sustaining presence. David the king becomes David the priest as he offers praise on behalf of his people who also trust in his God and King. (8,9). The Great Shepherd will bear them up forever (9).
Interpret: “Rock” applies only to God in the Hebrew Bible, not to humans. His stability and strength show where David (and we) can run for protection in all difficulties and challenges. This image invites our trust in His strong care; it doesn’t erase suffering but reminds us of His protection in all situations.
Yes, hypocrisy is all around, in places that might surprise us. Yet common grace, the undeserved blessings God pours out on the entire human race without discrimination or bias between one person or another, unknown in David’s time, is God’s loving kindness to all His creatures. His grace is our strength and shield, too.
Apply: It’s so easy to start wailing when we’re confronted with setback or suffering. “Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Why is God doing this to me? Where is God in all this?” Our secular society is terrible at enduring suffering, however mild, and questioning abounds.
Think about Zacharias and Mary and their hearts’ attitudes in Luke’s gospel, and the different outcomes to each of their questions. We can ask, and wonder, and doubt – but the answer is God’s alone. And so is His grace.
Believing even as we ask that our prayers and petitions have been answered, heartfelt thanks follows lament. More than mere resignation, we develop patience and endurance until God responds, according to His will.
As we become more practiced (by much repetition!) in prayer and the Word, our deepening relationship with Him opens our heart’s eyes, that Thy will be done truly does deliver us from evil. Then we know deeply that His is the kingdom, power and glory, His is love in action.
Ask: Is all my complaining necessary, Lord? Help me to turn griping into praise, this so-necessary switch in my heart’s attitude to difficulty. Can anything be more difficult than what You went through, for me? Yours was true suffering.
Pray: My Rock, my Strength, my Shield -- thank You that I can go to You at any time to lament, but far better, to praise You in all humility and honesty.
Sing Ps. 28: Word for word Zac Fitzsimmons
Psalm 28 Poor Bishop Hooper
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.