A Psalm of David. 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. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. 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. 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. Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up. Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. 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. The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.
(Psalms 28:1-9 KJV)
Psalm 28 is a heartfelt prayer composed by King David, expressing his pleas for God’s intervention and protection against his enemies. Each verse portrays different aspects of David’s trust in God and his reliance on divine help. Let’s delve into an easy-to-understand explanation of each verse, utilizing other scriptures to provide additional context.
Verse 1: “To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit.”
David begins by addressing the Lord, acknowledging Him as his steadfast foundation (“Rock”). He fervently calls upon God, beseeching Him not to ignore his cry. David expresses his dependence on God’s response, highlighting the potential despair that could ensue without divine intervention. This verse aligns with the plea for God’s attentiveness to our prayers found in Psalm 86:6-7, where it says, “Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.”
Verse 2: “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help when I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.”
David implores God to hear his plea for mercy, emphasizing his earnest prayer for assistance. He expresses a physical gesture of lifting up his hands toward the Most Holy Place, signifying his reverent approach to God’s presence. This verse echoes the act of lifting hands in prayer and seeking mercy, as mentioned in Lamentations 3:41, which says, “Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.”
Verse 3: “Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.”
David pleads for deliverance, asking God not to associate him with the wicked who speak kindly but secretly harbor malice in their hearts. He desires to be separated from their wickedness and preserved by God. This verse aligns with the plea for God’s protection from evil companions and deceitful hearts found in Psalm 26:4-5, where it says, “I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.”
Verse 4: “Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve.”
David appeals to God’s justice, requesting that the wicked receive appropriate retribution for their evil deeds. He desires the consequences of their actions to be brought upon them. This verse reflects the plea for divine justice and retribution found in Jeremiah 17:10, which says, “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Verse 5: “Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again.”
David highlights the wicked’s lack of regard for the Lord’s works and their failure to acknowledge His deeds. As a result, David anticipates their downfall and the absence of God’s restoration or favor upon them. This verse corresponds with the consequence of rejecting God’s ways and works, as mentioned in Psalm 9:16-17, where it says, “The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.”
Verse 6: “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.”
David breaks into a moment of praise and gratitude, acknowledging that the Lord has indeed heard his plea for mercy. He rejoices in God’s attentive ear and responsiveness. This verse aligns with the exhortation to praise God for answered prayers and His faithfulness, as expressed in Psalm 66:19-20, which says, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!”
Verse 7: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song, I praise him.”
David declares his unwavering trust in the Lord, recognizing God as his source of strength and protection. He testifies that God’s assistance leads to great joy, prompting him to praise the Lord through song. This verse reflects the affirmation of God as our strength and helper, inspiring praise and joy, as emphasized in Psalm 33:20-21, where it says, “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.”
Verse 8: “The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”
David broadens his perspective, acknowledging the Lord as the strength and stronghold not only for himself but for all of God’s people. He recognizes God’s role as a fortress of salvation, providing protection and deliverance to His chosen ones. This verse aligns with the proclamation of God as a fortress and deliverer for His people, as expressed in Psalm 144:2, where it says, “He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge.”
Verse 9: “Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.”
David concludes his prayer by appealing to God to save and bless His people. He asks for God’s shepherding care and eternal support. This verse reflects the plea for God’s salvation, guidance, and everlasting presence, as expressed in Psalm 23:1-3, where it says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
Through the verses of Psalm 28, we witness David’s heartfelt prayers, his reliance on God’s justice, protection, and provision, and his expression of gratitude and praise. The psalm serves as a reminder for us to call upon the Lord in times of need, trust in His strength, and seek His guidance and deliverance.