Psalm 28 - With wicked draw me not away
I love this short psalm because the calling and crying to the Lord releases my spirit. The turnaround from distress to praise is quick. It seems there is not physical suffering here, but danger of being led away with the wicked.
I think David wrote this psalm when he was young and 1st became a part of King Saul's administration and was promoted very quickly, and encountered the politics there (v3, 1Sam 18:20-23). He was under pressure to conform to those men-pleasers seeking advancement, so he prayed this.
v1 - "my Rock" is the unchangeable God. No matter how my situation changes, God is still the same.
David's prayer not to be like those who are descending into the pit is for the Lord to keep him from being like the wicked or the lawless workers surrounding him.
David prays for the Lord to hear him, but then says that if you are silent to me, then I will be like those descending to the pit. I need the Lord's speaking to me or I will be like them. The Lord's speaking empowers us and makes us different from the crowd.
v2 - The Hebrew word for "cry" is shua, which means to cry for help (HALOT).
It is good to sing the rest of this psalm with your hands lifted up to God's holy oracle, expecting and needing the Lord's sanctifying speaking.
The oracle is the place of God's speaking. God's speaking is holy and makes us holy (Jn 17:17-19; Eph 5:26-27). Holiness makes us different from the world and from the common.
This is the only usage of the word "oracle" outside of 1 Kings 6-8 and 2 Chron 3-5 which describe Solomon's building of the temple, where it is used for the holy of holies. It is never used to refer to the holy of holies in the tabernacle.
As in v1, David also prays for the Lord to hear him, and he lifts up his hands unto the Lord's holy oracle to receive some speaking from the Lord.
v3 - We should pray as David did, for the Lord to not draw us off to be conformed to others even if they are Christians. We do not know what is in others' hearts, but we should pray to not be like this, because the tendency is in us. If we think it would never happen to us, then we are defenseless against it.
Lawless workers, or workers of iniquity, refers especially to religious workers (Mt 7:22-23) as evidenced in v5.
v4- "as they dealt with others" is literally "as they dealt wickedly with others". The "with others" is implied because the verb has to do with relationships (TWOT).
v5 - "works" is the same word as in v3 & v4. To serve the Lord, we must have faith to discern His works and what He is doing. The lawless workers think everything depends on their doing instead of seeking the Lord's blessing and the Lord's discipline.
Why would it say "He will not build them up" regarding evil workers? It should be more than obvious that the Lord would not build up evil workers. It is because they appear to be righteous, and they and others think that the Lord will build up their work for Him (1 Cor 3:12-21).
v6- "entreaty with my voice" is the same phrase as in v1.
This is my favorite verse in this psalm. I like the abrupt change from the previous verse. It seems that discerning the Lord's hand and working turned David around.
v7 - "In Thee" is literally "In Him".
"In Him my heart trusts" and "My heart exults" means that his inner person does this without trying or willing to do so.
This was one of George Beverly Shea's favorite verses. He often signed this verse with his autograph. This verse reference was inscribed on his wedding ring.
From the Hebrew structure of this verse, the 1st 3 are in sequence: My heart trusts Him -> I am helped -> My heart exults. The last one "and from my song I will praise Him" is joined differently such that it is not in sequence, but occurs simultaneously with the previous 3. In the case of the 1st 3, the "and" is attached to the verb, but in the last phrase, the "and" is attached to "from my song".
v8 - "His people's strength" comes from the LXX. MT says "their strength". The words "His people's" and "their" are both pronounced lamo in Hebrew, but spelled differently. I think the LXX is correct because there is no antecedent for "their". In either case, the meaning is "His people" according to v9.
The Lord is His people's strength, but not their strength to save, because we cannot save ourselves. We need the Lord's Messiah to save us.
At this time David knew he was the Lord's anointed, and thus needed the Lord to be his strength to deliver the Lord's people.
v 9 - 4 prayers for the Lord's people connected by "and" meaning that they all go together. In this sequence the verbs are all imperative, so they are not necessarily sequential, but could be simultaneous.
David experienced the Lord's saving, blessing, shepherding and lifting up in this psalm, so he prayed it for God's people whom he served.
-copyright Steve Miller 2010