How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
‘I am cut off from your sight!’
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
Love the Lord, all his faithful people!(Ps. 31:19-24 NIV)
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
The Psalmist now comes before the Lord with thanksgiving. Yesterday we considered how the Psalmist could be so up and down with his emotions. We suggested that life is pretty much like that for us all. But here is the note of hope: the Psalmist is brought to a position of thanksgiving. The state of distress for him is not permanent. The lesson that we have learned repetitively from the Psalms is the need to bring our issues into the presence of the Lord. But why do we have to have this lesson repeated so many times? The answer is we are so slow to learn and we need to be reminded and encouraged to pray. God’s presence may not deliver the answer we want, but it delivers God’s answer. The Psalmist is now able to reflect and sing about the goodness of God. God is good because He works out all things in His righteousness.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.(Rom. 8:28 NIV)
God has stored up good things for those who fear Him. The Lord openly displays His love (hesed) before all people. He shelters His people in the shelter of His presence. The Lord’s wonderful love (hesed) is displayed because even when the Psalmist was in a besieged city (or his circumstances made him feel like he was in a besieged city), he was still sheltered in the Lord’s presence. All the evil plans of the enemies will not reach the Lord’s people because they are sheltered from these plans and are kept safe from accusing tongues.
Besieged and surrounded by the enemy, the Psalmist was concerned that he was cut off from the sight of the Lord. But the Lord’s presence is not limited to the tabernacle or the temple, the Lord’s presence goes with His people. This is seen in our own services when the minister pronounces the Lord’s benediction on the congregation. The call to worship calls us into God’s presence and the benediction sends us out with the blessing of the presence of the Triune God upon us.
The ‘besieged city’ may be a metaphor for being surrounded by accusations and lies. Our perception may tell us that God is cut off, but the Lord hears our cry for mercy.
The Psalmist addresses the congregation drawing them into the experience of deliverance and praise, and because of this they should love the Lord. The Lord preserves His faithful people who remain true to His way. The Lord deals righteously with His own people, but He will also deal righteously with those who proudly resist His way.
Because God is righteous and will deal righteously with His people we can be strong and take heart because our hope in the Lord is not in vain.
Lord we thank You that You bless us with abundant goodness. You give us every good thing in Christ. We thank You that Your presence is always with us. Help us to be strong and take heart and always have our hope firmly in our covenant LORD. Help us we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen