- In our last study of the psalms, we noticed psalm 27 which gave us the admonition to wait for the Lord. David was calling for us to have patience as we wait for God to answer prayer, since God’s time frame is not our time frame and His ways are not our ways.
- Psalm 28 seems to be a sequel to psalm 27. It seems to me that psalm 28 describes what David is doing as he waits for answered prayer, the prayer offered in psalm 27. After discussing our need to wait for the Lord, what else should we be doing in the meantime? I believe David discusses the answer to this question in psalm 28.
I. Appeal To Be Heard (28:1-2)
A. Longsuffering in prayer
- As we read the first two verses of this psalm, we immediately get the feeling that quite a bit of time has transpired since David offered his prayer. David begins by calling on God to no longer remain silent.
- This is an important starting point for this psalm and for us to consider when going to God in prayer. Too often our expectations in prayer is that we will receive immediate results. But we see in this psalm that David, a man after God’s own heart, was required to wait for extended periods of time after his prayer was offered. We must expect this possibility and goes back to the point we made in psalm 27 that we need to wait for the Lord.
B. Good as dead with God
- Notice the end of verse 1, “If You remain silent to me, I will be like those going down to the pit.” David makes a very thoughtful point. We are good as dead when we are not speaking to God and He is not speaking to us. David says that if God remains silent, it is just like him going down to the grave.
- Have you ever thought about life in those terms? David says without the ability to have an open dialogue with God, we are like dead people. This was the idea that Jesus used in His argument against Satan when being tempted in the wilderness. After Satan tempted Jesus to prove He is the Son of God by turning stones into bread, Jesus replied, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We all acknowledge that spiritual life is more important than physical life. If we truly believe this, then we should be serious about developing a relationship with God. If we really believed that we were perishing apart from hearing the word of God, like David did, would we not study our Bibles more? Would we not pray to God more? Would we not always be crying out to God? I hope we can see the necessity and importance of prayer in our lives. Let us not neglect our conversations with God lest we become dead to Him.
- I believe David is also using this as an argument as to why God should answer his prayer. If God does not answer David’s prayer, then David is no different from the godless. This is a reason for David’s hope in prayer. David knows he is godly and will not unheard like the godless.
C. Persistence in prayer
- What David shows us is the need for persistence in prayer. Verse 2 describes this persistence as he continues to plead and cry out to God. This is another aspect that can be lacking in our prayer life. It is hard to convince ourselves to continue to plead to God for the thing we desire.
- In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable to His disciples to show them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1). It is interesting that Jesus would teach this principle since I think we would believe we should not be persistent. We look at God as the Almighty and all-knowing God. Therefore, we should just have to ask once that is enough. But Jesus encouraged repetition in our requests. Sometimes I believe we think we have completed our requirements because we have offered one prayer and have decided that such is enough. Jesus said to be persistent and not lose heart concerning what we are praying for. So we see David doing just that very thing in this psalm.
II. David’s Petition (28:3-5)
A. Do not number me with the evildoers
- David’s first request is that he not be numbered with the evildoers and the wicked. This request is concerning the nature of answered prayer. David is saying that his prayers should not be treated like the wicked and the evildoers. This implies that the wicked to not have their prayers answered. David, as a righteous man of God, should have his prayers answered because of his character. David is not like the evildoers.
- Notice who David describes are those who are wicked and evildoers. “Who speak in friendly ways with their neighbors, while malice is in their hearts” is their description. David is describing the hypocrite. The wicked and evil one is the person who is friendly to your face but has malice in his heart. That description is not likely what we had in mind when we think about wicked evildoers. But this is what David focuses on. The prayers of those who speak in friendly ways yet have malice in their hearts are not answered by God. Let us be aware that our hypocrisy prevents us from having a relationship with God and keeps our prayers from being answered.
B. Repay them accordingly
- David’s second request is the ungodly be repaid according to the deeds they have worked. The final words of verse 4 are very strong, “Give them back what they deserve.” David is calling on God to bring justice on such wicked people.
- It can be very frustrating as a follower of God to see people who can live so hypocritically. They come to services and people esteem them, yet we know that their hearts are full of darkness and evil. We want people to see them for who they really are. But David says that we need to leave those things in God’s hands and allow Him to be the giver of justice and vengeance.
- In verse 5, David describes in more detail why such people need to be repaid according to their deeds. David says they do not consider what the Lord has done nor the work of His hands. Such people who speak friendly to us but actually have malice in their hearts do not think what they are doing. They have lost sight that God is in control and is watching how they are acting. They are unable to see what the Lord is accomplishing and have forgotten that judgment will come against people who act this way.
- It is disturbing to me the number of people who claim to be Christians that will speak to you as if you were their friend. Yet you come to find out that they tell other people that they are unhappy with you, do not like you, complain about you, or even backbite and slander you. How can anyone believe they are right with God and going to heaven by acting in such a fashion? Jesus called them hypocrites and we must be warned that we do not fall into the trap of thinking that we will get away with treating people this way. We may fool each other but we will not fool God.
- Therefore, David says, “He will tear them down and not rebuild them.” God will punish the hypocrites. They will not stand in the day of the wrath of God. We cannot get upset when we do not see justice served to such people. Let us remember that God will take care of them. To get back to the theme of the psalm, let us again consider that when we forget the mighty works of God, we also will slip into hypocrisy and will have our prayers hindered.
- In this prayer, David is declaring that evil should not prosper and righteousness must be vindicated. David is showing a confidence that God will do just that. God will not allow evil to continue to prosper forever. God will not allow the righteous to continue to suffer injustice. Therefore, we place our hope in God.
III. Answered Prayer (28:6-9)
A. Praise God for answered prayer
- Verse 6 is a turning point in the psalm where we come to find out that David’s prayer has been answered. The pleading of David has been heard by God. We saw in psalm 27 and at the beginning of this psalm that David had been waiting quite a while for his prayer to be answered. Now, his prayers have been answered.
- What is your first reaction to answered prayer? David shows us what our first reaction ought to be: thanksgiving and praise. We must immediately be grateful and thankful to God for responding to our cries and pleadings.
- Unfortunately we do not always remember to give thanks. Sometimes we lead ourselves to believe that we got out of our jam ourselves or that we provided ourselves with the solution. We see such a shocking instance of this in Luke 17:17-18. When ten lepers were cleansed, only one who was a Samaritan, came back and gave thanks. It is hard for us to believe this parable yet how many times are we the other nine lepers? Too often we go on our way rejoicing, forgetting to see what God has done for us and giving Him the praise He deserves. Let us be more persistent in prayer and let us be more careful to give thanks for answered prayer.
B. David’s trust in God was validated
- David, by waiting for the Lord, shows that his belief and trust in God will be validated. Verse 7 describes that great trust. When we trust in the Lord, we are helped just as we see with David. This knowledge caused David to rejoice and praise God all the more.
- You and I have every reason to trust in God. I am greatly disappointed when I see the world and even Christians blame God for letting them down. How has God ever let us down? The only reason I can see that we get to such a state is because we have misunderstood what is happening. Job shows himself to be in such a state, yet he did not realize that Satan was the one who was behind the evil that had struck him. Job failed to realize that he was in a learning trial and a pawn in the battle between the spiritual forces of good and evil. When we allow ourselves to open our eyes past the physical and see the spiritual battle we are engaged in, we can then more clearly see that God is on our side and has never let us down. More often, we have let ourselves down.
- We are the ones who violate God’s covenant. We are the reason for unanswered prayer. It is our sins that impede our progress of growing in the Lord and drawing near to Him. We like to place responsibility on everyone else but ourselves. Let us see that we may be the cause of the problem, as David identified in verses 3-5.
- Our trust in God will be put to the test. We will find out if we trust God as much as we think we do. We will see if we are merely “fair weather friends” to God or if we will completely trust our lives to Him even when the times are tough and going gets very rough. Will we be shaken or will we be strong?
C. The Lord is the strength of His people
- True trust in God will mean that when it seems that our prayers are going unanswered that we rely on God all the more. When we do not feel like God is hearing us, we will continue to pray to God and not give up.
- Is the Lord the stronghold of your salvation? Or are we living for God simply because things are easy and convenient for us? This was the charge that Satan laid against Job to God. Satan declared that Job would not be blameless and would not serve God if he lost all he had. If we serve God only because it is easy and convenient for us, then a time will come when it is not so easy and we will slip. There will be times when our prayers feel like empty words ringing in our ears and that no other is listening.
- What we do is a great test of our faith? Will we wait for God or will we give up on God? The Lord is the strength of His people. If we are truly His people, we will look to God for strength and depend on Him. If we do not, then we show that we are not truly His people.
D. Pray for others
- David ends the psalm with a final prayer on behalf of the people. David prays that God will save His people, bless His possession, shepherd them and carry them forever. We are God’s prized possession. Peter said in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We are that possession. God does not ignore His prized possessions. He hears what we have to say and can know that when we ask according to His will, He will answer us.
- As His possession, He will be our shepherd through this life if we will be His sheep. He will carry us through all that we may go through in this world when we put that great trust and faith in Him.
- May God save us, bless us, shepherd us, and carry us through forever. We can see that God has answered our prayers in the past. We can see that God has delivered us from tough times before. We can see God blessing our lives. Let us not be so shortsighted to forget the power of God to carry us through and help us in our times of need.