January 13 2023
Today, Friday January 13
“My Times Are in Your Hand”
“Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; My eye wastes away with grief, Yes, my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief, And my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, And my bones waste away. I am a reproach among all my enemies, But especially among my neighbors, And am repulsive to my acquaintances; Those who see me outside flee from me. I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side; While they take counsel together against me, They scheme to take away my life.
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies' sake. Do not let me be ashamed, O LORD, for I have called upon You; Let the wicked be ashamed; Let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.”
There is a verse in Proverbs that says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). In any country, whenever ungodly leaders take control of the government there will always be confusion, chaos, and everything will be broken including the people. This seems to be context of Psalm 31 when Absalom led the armies of Israel to rebel against his father David.
Today, we will be looking at the middle verses of this Psalm. In verse 4. David had prayed, "You are my strength", but now he said, "You are my God" (v. 14) and asked Him for the mercy he desperately needed (v. 16). When you consider the vocabulary, he used to describe his plight, you can well understand his need for mercy.
David was filled with grief; he was sighing; his physical strength was failing; and his very bones were weakening. His soul and inner being were pained because of the troubles that others were causing. One of the things David did during this time was examine his heart and he discovered sin there, so he confessed it to the Lord (v. 10). This is something we should also do when we are overwhelmed with trouble in our lives.
Along with David’s physical and emotional anguish was the way people were treating him (vv. 11-13). His enemies were spreading malicious lies about him and people believed them. Of course, these lies spread rapidly, and David's close friends and neighbors heard and believed them. Even casual acquaintances avoided him when they saw him coming, for who wants to be seen speaking to an evil man? He became like a dead man who had been forgotten and like a useless piece of pottery that had been thrown away. It didn't take long for "the strife of tongues" (v. 20) to poison the nation and prepare the way for Absalom to take over.
The phrase "fear [terror] on every side" (v. 13) is used six times by the prophet Jeremiah (6:25; 20:3, 10; 46:5; 49:29; Lam. 2:22). In David's day, the disruption of the government and the exile of the king brought great fear to the people, and all sorts of rumors spread throughout the land. It is not hard to see the parallel of this in our country today with the double standards of justice, the lies of the media and government, and the terrors of covid and violence. We are not safe in our own homes, the workplace, or the streets.
David's answer to this confusion? "My times are in your hands" (v. 15). He had committed himself into God's hands (v. 5), and now he committed his circumstances into God's hands. "My times" refers not to some special schedule, but to all the events and circumstances that surrounded David (see 1 Chron. 29:30). We would say, "All the affairs and details of my life are in the Lord's hands." This is the Old Testament version of Romans 8:28. David trusted God to bring light into the darkness and truth into the sea of lies that was overwhelming the people. Instead of the king being ashamed, his enemies would be ashamed when the Lord exposed their wickedness and defeated them.
Today, we also can put our circumstances and all the details of our life into the Lord’s hand and be confident that He will see us through it all!