Psalms 28-32
(Into Your Hands)
June 8th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

- Psalm 31:5 (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

This group of Psalms continues many themes from previous chapters. For example, it includes petitions for help and protection, praises God’s for his power and forgiveness, and uses metaphorical phrases describing the character of God.

The author of this set of Psalms is presumed to be David, who had defeated Goliath to defend Israel and was a successful warrior for Saul, the first King of Israel. Despite his loyalty, David had been subjected to an unwarranted pursuit through the desert by Saul, as described in 1 Samuel. Why was David put through this torment? The reason is that Saul’s jealously had thoroughly blinded his good judgment. He saw David as a threat rather than an ally and conducted a long-running quest to capture and kill this loyal soldier and son-in-law, who had done nothing but bring glory for Saul and Israel. David survived to become the second king of Israel, but then committed serious sins which led him to seek and receive forgiveness. Thus, he had a lot of good first-hand material for writing various Psalms.

In previous Psalms, God had been described as a shepherd and a light. In Psalms 28 and 31, the author cries for help, asks for God’s ear, and describes God as a rock, a shield, and a fortress. For example, in 31:3 (King James Version): “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.”

Psalm 29 praises God for his extraordinary power that “breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon (Psalm 29:5 - NIV),” and “shakes the desert (Psalm 29:8 - NIV).” The 30th Psalm exalts God for saving the author and for turning around his life in a way that reminded him of the temporary nature of suffering: “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5 - NIV).”

Psalm 32 describes the joy and blessings of men who seek and receive forgiveness, and contrasts that restoration versus painful time spent without confession:

Reflection and Application

There are not enough words to praise God for all he is and does. But once again, the Psalmist gives us images and metaphors that we can read to more fully appreciate God.

The Psalms also give us examples of how to devote ourselves to God, such as, “Into your hands I commend my spirit (Psalm 31:5a - NAB).” Luke recorded that Jesus shouted this scripture as his final words on the cross, “when he said this, he breathed his last (Luke 23:44-49).” If this Psalm verse was important enough for Jesus to use his last breath to say, then it’s surely worthy of our attention and reflection. The verse is also alluded to by Stephen in Acts 7:59 and is used as an antiphon in the Divine Office at Compline, the last prayer of the day in the Catholic Church (1). The Psalmist also gives us an additional image of commitment, using God’s hands as a metaphor again, in Psalm 31:15: “My times are in your hands.”

The promise of forgiveness in Psalm 32 reminds us of the freedom that awaits us when we confess. God always has an ear for hearing our admissions of sin. We suggest you take some time to re-read this Psalm, perhaps in different versions and try to relate to the emotions of the author. When you read the opening verses consider how you feel when sin weighs you down and you feel the heavy hand of God. Then imagine how you feel when you are drained of energy on a hot and humid summer day (maybe you are feeling that today) as you read verses 3 and 4. Then, picture how you feel when you have confessed - perhaps like a weight has been taken off your shoulders.

Think about the solace found in this Psalm by many other believers from past generations. Paul studied this Psalm and quoted it in his letter to the Romans two thousand years ago. He found it to be a useful phrase when he talked about justification by faith not works: “Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him (Psalm 32:2, Romans 4:8 - NIV).”

We cannot earn God’s favor, but we can request forgiveness. When we confess, we are agreeing with God that we broke his law, and he agrees to forgive us. Paul continued this line of thinking when he wrote that “(Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25 - NIV).” If God can break a forest into pieces, shake the desert, and raise the dead, then surely forgiving sins is but a small task.

Ask and you shall receive.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What experiences have you had chopping down trees, chopping wood, or breaking sticks into small pieces?
    2. Think of all of the words that come to mind when you ponder who God is and what he does?
    3. The author is willing to put his spirit and times into God’s hands. What are you willing to put in his hands? What are you trying to hold back?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in Heaven you are our rock and fortress, but you also offer a gentle and forgiving hand. Help us to commit ourselves to you.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Gardeners and Landscapers


    (1) New American Bible, footnote after Psalm 31

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Psalms 33-37 (Taste and See)

    Comments and Questions
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