|YOU ARE MY ROCK
April 5, 2022
- Starting point: 7:12
“Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”
- Praying from: PSALM 28
In its final and full form, this lament is a cry either by or for God’s anointed king that God would save him as well as the nation. The reference to the anointed is late and subtle in the psalm, so the poem can appropriately and easily be used by any who find themselves in dire straits.
The reference to David in the title and to the anointed one in verse 8b allows a connection with the Māšîaḥ (Messiah; Christ). Although Jesus was dragged away with the wicked and crucified between two prisoners, God heard his cry for help and raised him from the dead. God was a fortress of salvation for his anointed one (v. 8), and thus we can call on him to be our shepherd (John 10:11, 14) and carry us forever.
From the first verse onwards, we can recognize that this prayer is a lament. It is a lament of an individual, but in verse 8b the anointed one (the king; note that David is cited as the composer in the title) is mentioned, and then the psalm becomes a corporate lament.
“Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
4 Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
5 Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
6 Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.”
- Praying Time:
28:1–2. I call to my Rock
The lament begins with an invocation (Lord), pleas for help, along with a statement of motivation. The plea is for God to hear the composer’s cry for mercy and help, implying trouble from which he needs to be rescued. He fears that God will remain silent and not answer his prayer. If that happens, he will die (go down to the pit). He appeals to God as his Rock, a common metaphor for divine protection (see Comment at Ps. 18:2), implying that he is under attack, perhaps by people or some other external force such as an illness. His prayers are directed towards the sanctuary (your Most Holy Place), because that is where God makes his presence known to Israel.
28:3–5. Don’t treat me like the wicked
He beseeches God not to treat him as if he were wicked. That is, he begs God not to punish him with the punishment that the evil people deserve. The latter speak well to their neighbours while they plot evil against them. The book of Proverbs critiques such dissimulating speech:
Silver dross overlying clay,
smooth lips and an evil heart.
Those who hate to dissimulate with their lips,
but they set deception aside.
Though their voice is gracious, don’t believe them,
for seven abominations are in their heart.
Hatred is covered with guile,
but they reveal their evil in the assembly.
“Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.”
Verse 4 is an imprecation (see Introduction, pp. 51–52) calling on God to bring retribution on these evil people. They deserve what they get because of the harm they inflict on others (see also Pss 5:10; 56:7; 141:10). The psalmist does not take it on himself to hurt them, but turns his anger over to God. Verse 5 registers his confidence that God will hold them accountable. He uses an architectural metaphor to talk about their destruction. God will tear them down and not build them up (see Jer. 1:10 for a similar use of this metaphor).
28:6–9. Thank God
Laments typically contain an element of praise and/or confidence, and we find such in verses 6–8. The composer begins by proclaiming God worthy of worship (Praise be to the Lord). Why? Because he has heard his cry. Whether this confidence of being heard originates because the psalm was written not in the throes of trouble, but after resolution, or because a priest has assured him of God’s attention, or for some other reason, is unclear. Later worshippers, though, who pray this prayer in the midst of their own problems, will find that their attention shifts away from their own issues and towards God in a positive direction. God is the psalmist’s protection (strength and shield, vv. 7a, 8a; fortress of salvation, v. 8b).
In verse 8b, the psalmist states that God is a fortress of salvation for his anointed one (māšîaḥ). Perhaps we are to regard the anointed one as the original speaker of the poem. After all, David is named as the author in the title. If so, we understand how this individual lament suddenly becomes a national plea for help, since the individual is the king who represents all the people and their fate. It is also possible that an original individual lament takes on a more corporate dimension by the later addition of verses 8–9. In any case, the psalm ends with a final appeal for God to rescue and bless his inheritance, a not uncommon way to refer to the people of Israel (Deut. 32:8–9; Ps. 33:12; Jer. 10:16; 51:19). The psalmist calls on God to carry Israel out of danger, just as a shepherd (Ps. 23) might carry a lame sheep out of trouble.
- THE A-MEN OF ROMANS 16:20, 24, 27
16:20 “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. A-men.”