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Psalm 28: The Lord Is My Strength and Shield

One writer, based on the elements of petition, thanksgiving, and intercession considers this psalm a model representative of the individual complaint psalm, commonly referred to as the individual lament.  Lament is a major theme in the Bible and particularly in the book of Psalms. To lament is to express deep sorrow, grief, or regret.  Help and intervention is asked of God to deliver one from suffering, sorrow, great loss, failures, and rescue from enemies. Expressions of trust in God to act in one’s favor lead to hope and joy.  David is the author and wrote this Psalm out of an urgent need to get help from God. 

The very act of praying displays belief that there is a God somewhere who hears us even in the shortest of prayers. However, if we do not receive an answer to our prayers immediately, we are prone to think that either God is not listening, or He does not care about us.  So, what should we do while we are waiting?  We need to persevere in praying.  Jesus told a little parable to illustrate that we should always pray and not give up. The story involved a woman who had a case for the judge to hear and he refused but she continued to appeal to him to hear the case.  Finally the judge said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!”  The comment Jesus made was: “Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. and shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. (Luke 18:1-8).

By calling upon God, David confessed his…faith in the Lord’s power and ability to save him, confidence in God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His promise to David, total dependence on the Lord above all of his vast worldly resources, and certainty of God’s love and care for him.  The Hebrew writer tells us to:” come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

His uplifted hands are the universal sign of surrender, evidence of his readiness to receive from God. As he prays, he also faces the place where the divine presence dwells. David throws his whole self into his prayer. A characteristic feature of David’s biography is that he frequently sought the Lord’s counsel and direction. What a great lesson for us.

David asked God “do not take me away with the wicked and with the workers of iniquity, who speak peace to their neighbors, but evil is in their hearts.”  What David was asking God to do is to keep him from being enticed by the wicked to go along with them and commit the same sins.  He knew that he had the power of choice and could decide to follow them and was asking God to keep from that.  We too need to realize that each of us have the potential to be persuaded at some point to follow others to sin.  That is why Paul said: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12).  While the way of righteousness may be hard at times it pays to serve the Lord in the end and we must learn to focus on heaven as our goal when tempted.

David then asked God to punish the wicked because they did not regard the works of the Lord and deserved punishment for the works of evil. David was not asking anything God had not already promised would happen to the wicked.

How long David waited for God to answer his prayers we do not know but God did and David declared that God had heard his supplications.  Therefore, David said that the Lord was his strength and his shield.  Because David trusted in the Lord he was helped, and he greatly rejoiced in song.  

David was a warrior. And he understood the importance of both strength and defensive protection. God gave David the strength to endure and be victorious over those who opposed him. And God was also his shield, protecting him from those who opposed him.  We are promised the same help.  Consider Paul’s statement in I Cor. 12:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  Psalm 34:19 - "Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all." God may not remove all the afflictions, but He makes sure we are able to endure them faithfully - all of them.  Romans 8:35-39 - No temptation or trial can separate us from God. In them all, we are "more than conquerors." If we endured the temptation without sinning, we would just be "conquerors." But we are more than conquerors because the problem can actually make us better people. (See also 1 Pet. 5:8,9; James 4:7; Eph. 6:10-18; Prov. 24:10.)

Let me close this short note with the promise with Paul’s statement in Col. 3:1-4: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”