Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Struggling With A Sense Of Guilt

Psalm 31:1-24

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

“In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.  Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.  For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.  Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.  Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.” (Psalm 31:1-5)

David had committed himself to trust God in every situation.  He asks that God deliver him before he begins to question his faithfulness.  He was depending on the Lord rather than his own efforts to save him and asked that God Lead and guide him so that he could be a testimony to God.   Others had plotted to ensnare him and he needed God to prevent his being trapped.  He was depending completely on God as his redeemer. 

“I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.  I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.” (Psalm 31:6-8)

David had rejected the world’s ideas about how to gain the victory, and was trusting God instead.  He believed God would deliver him and he would be able to rejoice in what God had done, because God had demonstrated his love.  God knew the things he had done under duress and still loved him, not forsaking him to his enemies.  Instead of being cornered, he had freedom to move around. 

“Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.  For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.” (Psalm 31:9-10)

David was consumed with feelings of guilt, as he faced his problems, aware he did not deserve God’s blessings, and that grief was resulting in depression that affected him physically.  There is nothing harder to live with than a guilty conscience.   It can destroy one’s confidence and faith and leave a person emotionally paralyzed.   Understand that if we have honestly repented of our sin, God has promised to put it behind us and never remember it again.  It is not God  who keeps bringing it up.

“I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.  I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.  For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.” (Psalm 31:11-13)

Not only was he struggling emotionally with his sense of guilt, David found his neighbors and acquaintances avoiding him, fearing they would be embroiled in his conflicts and killed by Saul for supporting him.  They had reason for concern after Saul had the priests murdered in I Samuel 22:11-23 for having fed David.  Even people he had helped betrayed him for fear of Saul. 

“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.  My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.  Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.  Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.  Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” (Psalm 31:14-18)

David has trusted God, and the outcome is strictly up to Him.  He asks that God would bless and show favor by delivering him, and shutting up the enemies who lied about him and others who serve God.  He asks that their pride be turned to embarrassment and that they be destroyed as they though to do to David.   

“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!  Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.  Blessed be the LORD: for he hath showed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.  For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.” (Psalm 31:19-22)

God has made wonderful promises to those who trust him.  He promised to hide and protect them from the pride of people and their conflicts and accusations.  Unfortunately many times promises do not live up to expectations, but God had exceeded the promises.  David had been protected, so he wasas safe as if he had been in a strong fortified city.  When he had almost given up hope and was thoroughly depressed, God heard and answered his prayer.

“O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.  Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”  (Psalm 31:23-24)
Christians should love the Lord with all their hearts, because he always takes care of those who believe in him, and punishes those who think they can ignore him.  If we trust him and don’t yield to our fears, he will strengthen the faith of everyone who trusts him.

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