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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 31



Verses 1-24

Psalms 31:1. In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust;

This is a good beginning; this is the fulcrum which will give us the necessary leverage for lifting any weight of sorrow or trouble that may be burdening us: “In thee, O Jehovah, do I put my trust.” Can each of us truthfully say that to begin with? If so, we may go on with David to the petitions that follow: —

Psalms 31:1. Let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.

It would be to us the shame of shames if God, in whom we put our trust, could fail us. Then, indeed, might the scoffers say, “Where is now their God?” and what should we then be able to say of the righteousness of God? He has pledged himself that he will never fail nor forsake anyone of his people; so, if he ever did fail them, what would become of his honour?

Psalms 31:2. Bow down thine ear to me;

“Listen to me, O Lord! Stoop down out of thy glory to catch the faint accents of my sorrowing, almost expiring spirit.”

Psalms 31:2. Deliver me speedily:

“My case is urgent, Lord, for I am in deep distress. Delay will be dangerous, and may be even fatal: ‘Deliver me speedily:’ “

Psalms 31:2. Be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.

David was so accustomed to hide in the rocks of Engedi, and similar fastnesses, that we do not wonder that he found such a comparison as this come naturally to his mind: “Be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.”

Psalms 31:3. For thou art my rock and my fortress;

Why did David just now pray God to be to him what he here says that God is? It was, surely, in order that he might know experimentally what he already knew doctrinally; he wanted the truth, in which he already believed, to be proven in his own experience, so he prayed to the Lord, “Be thou my strong rock, . . . for thou art my rock and my fortress;” —

Psalms 31:3. Therefore for thy name’s sake —

“For thy glory’s sake, for thy honour’s sake,” —

Psalms 31:3. Lead me, and guide me.

“Lead me, as a child needs to be led. Guide me, as a traveler in a foreign land needs to be guided. I need thee both to lead and to guide me.”

Psalms 31:4. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.

Sometimes the believer gets so entangled that he sees no way of escape. He is caught like a bird in the fowler’s net, and he is so surrounded by it that he cries to the Lord, “Pull me out of the net.” He feels that he can only be delivered by the putting forth of God’s power, and that is the reason why he adds, “O Lord, use thy strength on my behalf; give a desperate tug, and pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me; for thou art my strength.”

Psalms 31:5. Into thine hand I commit my spirit:

The dying words of Jesus may well be the living words of each one of his redeemed people. We ought continually to commit our spirit into our great Father’s hands, for there is no other place that can be so safe and blessed as between the strong, almighty, never-failing hands of the eternal God.

Psalms 31:5. Thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

Redemption is such a blessed ground for confidence in God. Even the ordinary redemptions, such as David had experienced when the Lord had redeemed him out of the hand of his enemies, and redeemed him out of troubles of many kinds, were great sources of consolation to David; but what shall we say of that rich, full, free redemption which Christ accomplished for his people upon Calvary’s cross? Think you that God will not keep those whom he has purchased with the blood of his own dear Son? Will he suffer those to perish who have cost him so dearly? Oh, no! none shall pluck them from his hand. This is a sound argument that David uses: “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.”

Psalms 31:6. I have hated them that regard lying vanities:

That is, those that trusted in their idol gods, which he calls by this contemptuous name, “lying vanities.” David was not very respectful to false religions; he called them vanities and lies, and said, “I have hated them that regard them;”

Psalms 31:6-7. But I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

“ ‘Thou hast considered my trouble;’ — thou hast looked at it, weighed it, understood it.” When a wise man gives his consideration to a thing, we respect his judgment; but what shall we say of the consideration of God? This is a wonderful expression: “Thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities.” “When I hardly knew myself, and could not make out what I was or where I was, thou hast known all about me; and thou hast known me when I was in rags and tatters, when I was so down at the heel that nobody else would own me, thou didst not discard me: ‘Thou has known my soul in adversities;’ “ —

Psalms 31:8-10. And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room. Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing:

That is better than spending our years in sinning; yet it is a painful experience when every breath seems to be drawn with a pang, and the effort to live is itself a struggle, as it is in certain trying diseases.

Psalms 31:10-11. My strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours,

They were the nearest to him, and therefore could smite him the most keenly.

Psalms 31:11. And a fear to mine acquaintance:

They did not like to own him even as an acquaintance; they were afraid of him. Yet what a light this verse throws upon David’s previous declaration, “Thou has known my soul in adversities”!

Psalms 31:12. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind;

The very man, in whose honour, in the former times, the women out of all the cities of Israel sang, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands,” now had sorrowfully to say, ‘I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind.”

Psalms 31:12. I am like a broken vessel.

“Men think me of no more value than a piece of broken crockery that is flung away on the dunghill as utterly useless.”

Psalms 31:13. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side:

The very best of men have had to smart under the wounds caused by that cruel, accursed thing slander. No quality of purity, no degree of piety, can screen a man from the tongue of slander; in fact, as the birds peck most at the ripest fruit, it is often the best of men who are most slandered.

Psalms 31:13-14. While they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.

That is a grand utterance of the psalmist; now he is coming back to the point where he began; the Psalm is now in harmony with its keynote.

Psalms 31:15. My times are in thy hand:

My times are not in the hands of my enemies; they cannot hurt me without God’s permission.

Psalms 31:15-16. Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant:

Oh, for the shinings of God’s face! How blessed and glorious they are! I is heaven on earth to dwell within the circle of that light; and if we get out of the range of those rays, what joy can we have?

Psalms 31:16. Save me for thy mercies’ sake.

That is a prayer for a sinner, and a prayer for a saint; a prayer for every day in the year: “Save me for thy mercies’ sake.”

Psalms 31:17 19. Let me not be ashamed, O LORD for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. Oh, how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;

Then, be off good courage, you tried ones; think of all the god things that are laid up in store for you, the treasures that are put away for the present.

Nor is this all: “How great is thy goodness,” —

Psalms 31:19. Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

So there is goodness in the present as well as goodness in the future, goodness wrought out as well as goodness stored up.

Psalms 31:20. Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

There is nothing much worse than the strife of tongues. A pack of wolves would not be half so bad as a pack of tongues let loose upon a man. Wolves do but tear the flesh; but tongues devour a man’s character, and eat up his very life. Oh, how blessed it is to be kept secretly in God’s royal pavilion from the strife of tongues!

Psalms 31:21. Blessed be the LORD for he hath showed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city.

He has kept me in safety, and preserved me from every foe, blessed be his holy name!

Psalms 31:22-23. For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. O love the LORD, all ye his saints;

It seems as if David felt that he could not love the Lord sufficiently by himself, so he calls upon all the saints to bring their hearts full of love, and yield their treasure unto God.

Psalms 31:23. For the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

He gives him a sharp blow with the back of his hand, but he gives to the righteous a full-handed mercy.

Psalms 31:24. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Your heart is faint, but the Lord will put strength where now there is weakness; wherefore “be of good courage.” Cowardice weakens, fear saps a man’s strength; so “be of good courage,” for your strength shall be equal to your day, and you shall yet win the victory, “all ye that hope in the Lord.”


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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 31:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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