Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Psalm 28 and Turning to the Lord
God cannot tire of us coming to him to find rest because he knows nothing else will do.
POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 BY DOUG BASLER IN CHRISTIAN LIFE, PSALMS
Read Psalm 28
What does it look like to find refuge in the Lord?
The Psalms repeatedly describe God as refuge, rock, shelter, fortress, shield and sanctuary. In my article on Psalm 34 we saw the psalm’s honest expectation of affliction, sorrow, and struggle and then we are invited to taste and see the goodness of the Lord. The question is how? Psalm 28 gets us started.
You don’t have because you don’t ask
Psalm 28, like many Psalms, begins with a cry for help.
“To you, O Lord, I call, My rock, be not deaf to me.
Lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, When I cry for you to help,
When I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary” (vs. 1-2).
Finding refuge begins with prayer. Prayer, by definition, requires humility. Prayer that is real prayer is the recognition that the circumstances of your life are often beyond you.
In times of flourishing the humble acknowledge all good gifts come from the Father of lights.
In times of suffering and sorrow the humble cry out in desperation because they recognize that they have very little control of anything.
When the Psalmist here describes the wicked (vs. 3) the overarching characteristic is this: “they do not regard the works of the Lord, or the work of his hands” (vs. 5). How many hours of the day, or days of the week, or weeks of the year do we go through life without regarding the works of the Lord?
Our prayer life reveals what we believe about God. The Psalmist here believes that if God won’t listen then he has no hope, nothing else provides security – “if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit” (vs. 1). Many of us have a tendency not to turn to the Lord in times of affliction but instead we become quick to question and blame. “Why me?” “Why this?” “Why didn’t you?” It is certainly true the Psalms often declare “How long?” But it seems to me that “how long?” comes from a different starting point than “How could you?” “How long?” comes from a perspective that recognizes God has made promises and God always keeps his promises. And so the cry “how long?” even in times of utter desperation (see Psalm 13) is still grounded in steadfast hope in the faithfulness of the Lord.
Give me an undivided heart
Martin Lloyd-Jones describes it this way:
“I commend to you the reading of biographies of men who have been used by God in the church throughout the centuries, especially in revival. And you will find this same holy boldness, this argumentation, this reasoning, this putting the case to God, pleading His own promises. Oh, that is the whole secret of prayer, I sometimes think. Thomas Goodwin uses a wonderful term. He says, ‘Sue Him for it, sue Him for it.’ Do not leave Him alone. Pester Him, as it were, with His own promise. Quote the Scripture to Him. And, you know, God delights to hear us doing it, as a Father likes to see this element in His own child who has obviously been listening to what his Father has been saying.”
God promises to be our refuge. Sue him for it. Plead with him. God cannot tire of us coming to him to find rest because he knows nothing else will do.
In John 6 Jesus describes himself as the bread that God has sent from heaven and that in order to have life we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. This is symbolic language for sure, and yet it still requires radical commitment about who we believe Jesus is and so “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (Jn. 6:66). Jesus then turns to his twelve disciples and says, “Are you going to leave too?” To which Peter famously responds: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68).
To whom shall we go? That is ultimately