Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Nowhere Else To Turn

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me! Psalm 31:1

Have you ever prayed for God to deliver you in his righteousness? I don’t think I have. My prayers are always more, ‘Deliver me, in your mercy’ (especially when I’m driving to the dentist).

When the poet says, in you I take refuge—in your righteousness deliver me, it sounds like a contract. The poet has placed his trust in the Lord, and he wants the Lord to honor the contract—to make good on his righteousness—by delivering him. But, here’s another way to think about it.

In his prayer, the poet confesses two things: there is no one besides the Lord who will deliver him, and there is no one else who is righteous. Whatever the Lord does, he does in his righteousness.

So, the poet appeals to the Lord’s righteousness not because the Lord owes him something in response to his trust, but because the poet knows that no one else deserves his trust. We see this idea later in the same psalm.

Into your hand I commit my spirit … (v. 5)

The poet trusts so exclusively in the Lord, that Jesus would use the same declaration on the cross (Luke 23:46). And now, because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God not only delivers us in his righteousness; he delivers us to become his righteousness (2 Cor 5:21)!

So we have every reason to trust the Lord with the same exclusivity that the poet cried for deliverance. He concludes Psalm 31 by encouraging others also to trust the Lord.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord! (v. 24)

Here’s a question for you and me:

Does our trust in the Lord illustrate for others that we have no plan B, that we have nowhere else to turn?