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Synopsis Home Psalms Psalm 31
Book 1
Psalm 1
Psalm 2
Psalm 3
Psalm 4
Psalm 5
Psalm 6
Psalm 7
Psalm 8
Psalms 9 and 10
Psalm 11
Psalm 12
Psalm 13
Psalm 14
Psalm 15
Psalm 16
Psalm 17
Psalm 18
Psalm 19
Psalm 20
Psalm 21
Psalm 22
Psalms 23 and 24
Psalm 25
Psalm 26
Psalm 27
Psalm 28
Psalm 29
Psalm 30
Psalm 31
Psalm 32
Psalm 33
Psalm 34
Psalm 35
Psalm 36
Psalm 37
Psalm 38
Psalm 39
Psalm 40
Psalm 41
Book 2
Psalms 42, 43
Psalm 44
Psalm 45
Psalm 46
Psalm 47
Psalm 48
Psalm 49
Psalm 50
Psalm 51
Psalm 52
Psalm 53
Psalm 54
Psalm 55
Psalm 56
Psalm 57
Psalm 58
Psalm 59
Psalm 60
Psalm 61
Psalm 62
Psalm 63
Psalm 64
Psalm 65
Psalm 66
Psalm 67
Psalm 68
Psalm 69
Psalm 70
Psalm 71
Psalm 72
Book 3
Psalm 73
Psalm 74
Psalm 75
Psalm 76
Psalm 77
Psalm 78
Psalm 79
Psalm 80
Psalm 81
Psalm 82
Psalm 83
Psalm 84
Psalm 85
Psalm 86
Psalm 87
Psalm 88
Psalm 89
Book 4
Psalm 90
Psalm 91
Psalm 92
Psalm 93
Psalm 94
Psalm 95
Psalm 96
Psalm 97
Psalm 98
Psalm 99
Psalm 100
Psalm 101
Psalm 102
Psalm 103
Psalm 104
Psalm 105
Psalm 106
Book 5
Psalm 107
Psalm 108
Psalm 109
Psalm 110
Psalm 111
Psalm 112
Psalm 113
Psalm 114
Psalm 115
Psalm 116
Psalm 117
Psalm 118
Psalm 119
Psalm 120
Psalm 121
Psalm 122
Psalm 123
Psalm 124
Psalm 125
Psalm 126
Psalm 127
Psalm 128
Psalm 129
Psalm 130
Psalm 131
Psalm 132
Psalm 133
Psalm 134
Psalm 135
Psalm 136
Psalm 137
Psalm 138
Psalm 139
Psalms 140-143
Psalm 144
Psalm 145
Psalm 146
Psalm 147
Psalm 148
Psalm 149
Psalm 150

The complaint and confidence of the remnant

Psalm 31 is a proof how Jesus could use devout and holy expressions of a psalm, and indeed pass through all in spirit, without its having a literal application to Him. Here is found the expression He used, "Into thy hand I commit my spirit," which was in the fullest sense true. But the psalm continues, "For thou hast redeemed me, O Jehovah God of truth." He added Father. Yet I doubt not that His spirit had got into the comfort of divine delight again. Still the words, "thou hast redeemed me," cannot apply.* So the whole complaint of the psalm is, besides David, the complaint and confidence of the remnant connecting the two principles, trust and righteousness, and looking for guidance for Jehovah's name's sake, and deliverance when surrounded by enemies. The godly man had called on Jehovah. His name was in question. On His goodness, laid up for them that trusted in Him, he counted; and this in the midst of a life spent in sighing. Distress pressed upon him, and drank up his strength. Yet, tried for faithfulness, friends and acquaintances fled from him. Such will be the condition of the remnant. How truly Christ entered into it, I need not say. But the time of deliverance, and of all that in any time the saint should be under and pass through, were in God's hand not the enemy's, though he might rage. And in the adversities Jehovah knew his soul, for he walks in the knowledge of covenant-relationship. The presence of Jehovah was a tabernacle and a hiding-place. In the pressure of his spirit, the godly thought himself cast off; but when he cried, Jehovah heard. In all the rage around (v. 13, 14) he cried to Jehovah as his God. The result he now celebrates, and encourages the saints in the last two verses, and all that hope in Jehovah. Whatever sorrows they are in, Jehovah helps the faithful and judges the proud.

{*The only possible sense it could have as to Him was the deliverance of His soul at that moment as a fact, from the curse He bore for us, in which He had perfectly glorified God as to our sins, and as made sin for us. But the Lord does not use it. But though He had as a fact yet to die, its bitterness and sting were past.}

Psalm 31 the expression of the Spirit of Christ, though His own relationship as Son was different

This, in a certain sense, closes and sums up the experimental expression by the Spirit of the state of the remnant? and fully unfolds it. In the psalm that follows, forgiveness in grace is spoken of. Then there is a clearer apprehension and more objective confidence and judgment of all around, till we come to Psalm 38, and Psalm 39, which have a peculiar character of their own. Of course, deliverance is not yet come; but the sentiment expressed is become more that of favour in light than confidence out of the depths. How fully this Psalm 31 is the expression of the Spirit of Christ must be obvious to every divinely-taught reader. Yet His own relationship was different. He was Son, and commends His spirit to His Father in death, not to Jehovah to save Him from it; and, as we have seen in the preface, prays for His enemies who crucified Him, instead of demanding vengeance upon them. This demand of His Spirit in the remnant is according to His mind in that day. In Him personally it must have been otherwise; for He came in grace, and was giving His life a ransom for Israel and for many. Hence He passed through all in perfection with His Father in Gethsemane, and gives Himself up then, as being His will, to death. Yet, as to the sorrow and trial, He went through all. And the prophetic Spirit in the Psalms expresses in the denunciatory words what will certainly be accomplished as the consequence of the wicked enmity of the Jews and heathens too at the close; and will become living demands in the mouth of the remnant, whose only and necessary deliverance these judgments will be.

Christ did ask life, and it was given in resurrection and glory, as Psalm 21 shows; but not, as we know, in His being spared here. The path of life led for Him through death in the accomplishment of redemption, though He could not be holden of it. Thus in spirit He entered into all their affliction. The literal application in the writer's mind was to his own feelings; the prophetical is to the godly remnant in the latter day. The word translated "iniquity," in verse 10, should, I doubt not, be "distress." But the fulness of the various motives and feelings brought together in this psalm require a further brief notice. I have already remarked how the two grounds, so frequently found, of the appeal of the saint's trust in God, and righteousness as the motive and ground of it, are both brought together here. The name's sake of Jehovah is also added here. In verses 3-6 we have His utter rejection of the followers of idolatrous vanities. In verse 7 Jehovah's goodness is recognised as mercy. He has known the soul of the believer in adversities a sweet thought, how dark soever all may have been. And deliverance was granted (v. 9, 10) He pleads his extreme present distress. The first eight verses are a kind of preface of general principles; now it is the pressure of his present state. He was a reproach to enemies, specially to neighbours a fear to his acquaintance; so mean, despised, and yet hated and rejected, was he. It is the portion of a divine character, of God Himself, to be both. Man neglects a despised person; but he never does God, or what is of Him.* They will bring Him low if He puts Himself low, or those that are His; but will fear and hate Him too. He is forgotten, yet slandered, and the active enemy plotting against his life. Thus verses 9-13 give the condition the Spirit of Christ, or Christ Himself, holds in the world.

{*What thief would, if hung, revile another thief hung by his side? But the condemned thief did so to Christ.}

It is a most striking picture in verse 14. He trusts in Jehovah. All that is to befall him is, after all, in His hand. Another motive now is pleaded. He has called on Jehovah. It is the lying lips which should be put to silence (v. 18). Confidence in goodness laid up for them is there, and the hiding in God's presence for the time of evil (v. 20). Verse 21 celebrates the faithfulness of Jehovah. Verses 23, 24, encourage the saints by it. Thus, with the extremest distress, all the pleas of the faithful are beautifully brought together here. All these past psalms have been the feelings of Israel under the pressure of distress, and sought deliverance from it. And this Israel will do.

Synopsis by John Darby