David’s Response to His Rejection

Criticism

This passage begins with the phrase “My times are in thy hand” (v. 15). David was expressing his belief that all of life’s circumstances are under God’s control. Knowing this enables us to keep steady in our faith regardless of our circumstances. It keeps us from sinning foolishly by taking matters into our own hands or resenting God’s timetable. We find David praying for deliverance (vv. 16-18). He prays that God will save him and silence his enemies. His kingdom may have fallen apart but he still had God, whose promise set him on the throne and whose power can set him back there.

Next David turns from prayer to praise (vv. 19-20). He paints a beautiful picture of the protection of God for His own “from the strife of tongues.” He had suffered much in his life from gossipers. His critics were unmerciful, malicious and persistent. David discovered that he could hide in God’s presence from all such people. He celebrates the goodness and protecting love of his Lord. God heard His servants petition and granted his request (vv. 21-22).

When it comes to critics there is no use of answering such people. Anything you say will simply be twisted and distorted. Turn all of their slander over to the Lord. Let Him comfort you and at the same time let Him take care of those who would maliciously wound you with their tongue.

David admits that his faith had wavered. Now in coming back to the Lord, he admits that he spoke too hastily (v. 22). This is something that each one of us needs to admit from time to time. On the basis of what he had learned about the Lord’s deliverance of the faithful, he encouraged the saints to be strong in their faith and hope in the Lord (vv. 23-24). He actually challenges the saints of God to renewed love, courage and hope.

Application

I can think of times when I have spoken too hastily to my critics and said things that it would have been just as well that I had left unsaid?”

Psalms 31:14-24 (English Standard Version)

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, "I am cut off from your sight." But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

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