Applying Psalm 31

Psalm 31 is perhaps not a messianic psalm in the proper sense: that is, one verse from this Psalm was quoted by Jesus while he was on the cross. “Into your hand I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5).

Yet a believer reading this Psalm and considering how the lamentation and imprecation of David might apply to our own struggles and desires comes to verse 5 and can’t help thinking of Christ’s quote of it.

Does there remain, for the Christ-follower, application of David’s attitude given the use of his expression by Christ? Does it demean the redemption-accomplished-payment-satisfied use of this verse by Christ to consider whether we, too, should commit our spirit to God?

Yes and No. Yes, there remains application, and No, it does not demean Christ’s use.

David, as a type of Christ, in this Psalm expresses the sentiment of a man who is God’s annointed but who has not yet been given the throne promised him. Others thwart him, seek his harm, and generally oppress and attempt to destroy him. Christ, as the anti-type of David’s earthly kingship, while on the cross is in similar straits: as God’s Annointed, he currently endures suffering, oppression, and the general abhorence of men who seek him harm while waiting on God to provide him the promised throne and kingdom in its consummation.

David not only commits his spirit to God, he also recognizes that God’s sovereignty over his life does not rely upon David’s granting it. In verses 14 and 15, David says “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand. …”

My times are in your hand. Or, as the Holman Christian Standard puts it, “The course of my life is in your power.”

David recognizes that the entire outworking of his time on earth — the “course” of his life — is in God’s power. He yields to that truth, and despite enemies all about, finds solace, comfort, assurance and hope that whatever the outcome of this particular episode of his life, the “course” of it is under the control of the Almighty.

For believers called to follow Christ, and to follow him in his suffering, to be crucified with him, to be jeered, persecuted, hated, perhaps even die in proclaiming the gospel, what better sentiment, what better attitude could we have than that we commit our spirits to God, who holds the course of our life in his powerful grip.

Out times are in his hand.

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