9/4 – How Great is Your Goodness (Psalm 31)
Introduction — Here David cries out to the Lord in a time of trouble because his utmost trust in the Lord is firm. Throughout this psalm, David states reasons why he trusts the Lord: You are my rock and my fortress. You are my strength. You see my affliction. You know the troubles of my soul. You set my feet in a large place. You are my God. Indeed, David trusts that the Lord is good. “How great is Your goodness,” David sings to the Lord. David knows that the Lord stores up His goodness for those who fear Him, for those who take refuge in Him. The Lord’s goodness is on full display through His loving rescue and gracious protection over His people. Not surprisingly, David ends the psalm with a call to worship: O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD. It certainly seems that David’s keen trust in the Lord’s great goodness fueled his humble, joyful worship. How about us? Do we rehearse the greatness of the Lord? Do we eagerly behold His greatness? Do we reverently consider His goodness?
In my most pressing difficulties and sorrowful misadventures, the LORD God is ever faithful. He is always good. And I can trust Him. The Lord is with me. The Lord rescues me. The Lord guides me. The Lord protects me. He is good. The Lord is good. How great is the goodness of the Lord!
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth. (5)
By His goodness, the Lord gives me the faith to trust Him. (14-18)
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
Comments: Here David declares his simple, yet deep trust in the Lord. “I trust in You,” he says. “You are my God,” he states. In no uncertain terms David affirms that the Lord has no rivals in his heart. And because David trusts the Lord, he asks the Lord to rescue him. “Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,” he pleads. “Save me in Your faithful love,” he implores. Here David’s trust in the Lord fuels his prayers to the Lord. Here his prayers are bold and direct. Questions: How about me? Do I hold a simple, yet deep trust in the Lord? Do I affirm that the Lord has no rivals in my heart? Do I plead with the Lord to rescue me? Do I bring bold and direct prayers to the Lord? Do I see His goodness? Do I trust Him? Illustration: Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. ~ Isaiah 26:4
Application: I will pay close attention to the Lord’s great goodness. By His goodness, the Lord gives me the faith to trust Him. As He deepens my trust in Him, I will come before Him with bold and direct prayers. I will not hold back. I will cry out to Him. I will speak honestly with Him.
By His goodness, the Lord gives me the grace to fear Him. (19-22)
19 How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men!
Comments: Having declared his trust in the Lord, and having brought bold and direct prayers before the Lord, David now states his wonder at the great goodness of the Lord. David shows the precise focus of the Lord’s goodness—His people, those who fear Him and take refuge in Him. The Lord stores up His goodness and He pours out His goodness on His people. The Lord does this before a watching world. Captivated by thoughts of the Lord’s goodness, David highlights ways the Lord shows this goodness: You hide them. You shelter them. You make Your faithful love marvelous to me. You hear my voice. David fears the Lord. David truly reveres the Lord. He trembles before the Lord in wonder. He is in awe of the Lord. Questions: How about me? Do I live in awe of the Lord? Do I tremble before Him? Do I see His great goodness? Do I fear the Lord? Illustration: It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. and He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread. ~ Isaiah 8:13
Application: I will pay close attention to the Lord’s great goodness. By His goodness, the Lord gives me the grace to fear Him. As He grows my awe of Him, I will stand in wonder before Him. I will rehearse the many ways He pours out His goodness on me. I will revere the Lord.
By His goodness, the Lord gives me the heart to praise Him. (23-24)
23 O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer.
24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.
Comments: David ends this psalm with a call to action, a call to worship: Blessed be the Lord. O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! Be strong and let your heart take courage. Ever before David is the promise of the Lord’s presence and protection. David knows the Lord protects those who take refuge in Him, who trust Him, who hope in Him. David knows that by the Lord’s goodness, he has a heart to praise the Lord. So, David must praise the Lord. And praise the Lord he does. Questions: How about me? Do I see the many ways the Lord shows His goodness? And when I do notice His handiwork, do I praise Him? Do I urge others to praise Him? Do I want to join with others in praising the Lord? Do I bless the Lord? Do I love the Lord? Do I stand strong in the Lord? Do I take courage in the Lord? Do I hope in the Lord? Do I speak His praise? Do I sing His praise? Illustration: Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things; let this be known throughout the earth. ~ Isaiah 12:5
Application: I will pay close attention to the Lord’s great goodness. By His goodness, the Lord gives me the heart to praise Him. And so, I will praise Him. I will urge others to join with me in praise to Him. I will speak His praise. I will sing His praise. I will whistle His praise. I will praise Him with all my heart. I will praise Him with all my soul. I will praise Him with all my mind and strength. By His goodness, I will praise the Lord.
Word Study for Psalm 31
1 taken refuge (hasah—find safety; comfort, trust; shelter; seek refuge; to hide; to cover)
2 rescue (nasal—deliver; spare; defend; ease; save; secure; draw out; pull out; take away)
5 commit (paqad—to visit; inspect; look at; count; inventory; oversee; deposit)
5 ransomed (padah—to buy out; redeem; set free; release; liberate; deliver)
12 broken (abad—destroyed; ruined; lost; wipe out; does not exist; exterminate; annihilate)
13 terror (magor—fright; horror; atrocity; dread; panic; terror on every side)
16 make to shine (or—to dawn; become light; illuminate; ignite; shine bright; give light)
16 servant (ebed—slave; bond servant; worshiper)
16 save (yasa—help; deliver; rescue; set free; be victorious; be spacious)
19 great (rab—numerous; many; large; much; abundant; plentiful; extensive; excess; more than enough)
19 goodness (tub—the best things; beauty; prosperity; kindness; beneficial; no evil)
19 stored up (sapan—hide; shelter; treasure up; lay up; keep; collect something precious)
19 fear (yare—tremble; reverence; worship; be in awe of; shudder at)
19 wrought (paal—do; perform; work; make; fashion; forge; create; accomplish)
20 conspiracies (rokes—intrigue; plot; slander; revolutions; mob; snare)
20 strife (rib—dispute; brawl; quarrel; lawsuit; contention; hostility; debate; wrangle)
21 made marvelous (pala—do something wonderful; surpassing; extraordinary; astound; too difficult)
23 preserves (nasar—keep; maintain; protect; guard; watch over; spare; hide; store away)
Application for Psalm 31
Let’s seek refuge in the Lord.
Let’s trust in the Lord to rescue us.
Let’s refuse to seek our identity from those who oppose the Lord.
Let’s ask the Lord to be gracious to us.
Let’s continue to pray to the Lord, even when life is tough.
Let’s pay close attention to the Lord’s great goodness.
Let’s praise the Lord for his marvelous, faithful love.
Let’s encourage one another to remain steadfast in hope in the Lord.
Gospel Connections for Psalm 31
Jesus trusted the Father. Jesus cried out the Father. On the cross, Jesus was in distress. He grieved. He mourned. He sighed. His strength failed. He became our iniquity, our sin. He became a reproach on our behalf. He became a broken vessel, poured out for our ransom. Men schemed against Him to take away His life. But in all that, Jesus trusted the Father. On the cross, Jesus made His trust clear, as He cried, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last breath. Buried, Jesus was out of the minds of most people. Those who plotted against Him, hoped to never see Him again. But three days later, Jesus rose victorious over the enemies of sin and death. His sacrifice for sinners and His resurrection from the dead show His great goodness. Now, those who hope in Jesus Christ the Lord, will one day see Him forever. The Lord preserves the faithful.
Thoughts and Quotes for Psalm 31
“He's not safe, but he's good (referring to Aslan, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).” ~ C.S. Lewis
The goodness you receive from God is a treasure for you to share with others. ~ Elisabeth George
We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground. ~ Brennan Manning
If we are going to learn to trust God in adversity, we must believe God will allow nothing to subvert His glory so He will allow nothing to spoil the good He is working out in us and for us. ~ Jerry Bridges
Wonder at God's merciful love is a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship and heartfelt thanksgiving. It will cause within you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such a love as this. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Mediocrity is not a time, personnel, resource, or location problem. Mediocrity is a heart problem. We have lost our commitment to the highest levels of excellence because we have lost our awe. ~ Paul David Tripp
Adoration drives obedience, but throughout history people are prone to forget the faithfulness of God yesterday.
~ Matt Chandler
We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders. ~ G.K. Chesterton
God directs his people not simply to worship but to sing his praises “before the nations.” We are called not simply to communicate the gospel to nonbelievers; we must also intentionally celebrate the gospel before them.
~ Timothy Keller
As we see the beauty of God and feel His weightiness in our hearts, our hearts begin to desire Him more than we desire sin. Before the Bible says, "Stop sinning," it says, "Behold your God.” ~ J.D. Greear