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Psalm 28

28:0We do not know when David wrote Psalm 28. The end of the psalm tells us that there was danger for the whole country. Verse 8 is about the Messiah. In the time of David, this was the king. Later it meant God's special servant and last of all Jesus. At the time of David, if God gave help to the Messiah it meant that he gave help to the whole country. In verses 1-5 David prays for help. In verses 6-9, he thanks God for giving him and his people help. Perhaps the danger was fighting other countries; perhaps it was illness in many homes. Whatever it was, God answered David's prayer. He gave help to David and to his people.

God Answers Prayer

28:0There are some key words in Psalm 28. A key word is the most important word. A key opens a locked door. A key word opens understanding. The key words are:

– Verse 1 – from me

– Verses 2, 6 – the sound of my prayers

– Verses 3-5 – hands

– Verses 4, 5 – work of their or his hands

This is a psalm of David

1 LORD, you are my rock. I am praying to you for help.

Do not turn your ears away from me.

If you hide your answer from me,

I will be as those people that go down into the pit.

28:1Verse 1: ‘Rock’ is a name for God. You will find it in Psalm 18:2 and in other psalms. It means that God is a place where people can hide and be safe. Twice David says ‘from me.’ He felt that God was looking away from him. This makes us think of Psalm 22:1, ‘My God, why have you left me by myself? Why is my help far away?’ David thinks that he will go down into the pit. The pit is where the Jews believed that very bad people went when they died.

2 Hear my voice when I pray for mercy.

I am asking you for help.

I am lifting up my hands towards your most holy place.

28:2Verse 2: When they prayed, Jews often lifted their hands up to God. This meant that they were lifting themselves to God. It also meant that they had nothing to hide. Christians do the same. Paul wrote, ‘I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands.’ (1 Timothy 2:8) The most holy place was part of God's house. There God spoke to the leader of the people.

3 Do not drag me away with godless people,

or with people that have done very bad things.

They say kind words to their friends

but plan to do wrong things.

28:3Verse 3: ‘Drag’ is what they did to bad people. They dragged them to the place where they would kill them. In the psalm, the people were bad because they did not obey God. They were godless.

4 Give them what is fair for what they did

and for the bad things that they have done.

Pay them for the work of their hands

and bring back justice upon them.

28:4Verse 4: These people made bad plans. God can make these bad plans hurt the people that made them. ‘The work of their hands’ means the things that people do. In verse 4, the people did bad things with their hands.

5 Do it because they do not understand

the things that the LORD has done,

or the work of his hands.

He will tear them down,

he will not build them up again.

28:5Verse 5: Here we read of ‘the work of his hands.’ This means the good things that God did. The word ‘God’ is not in Psalm 28. David uses the word ‘LORD.’ That is the word that the people of God use for him. It means that they are his servants. And they love him and they obey him. It also means that they have begun to understand God. The godless do not understand God. It means that they do not love him or obey him. In the end God will destroy what they do (‘the works of their hands’).

6 I say that the LORD does good things,

because he heard my voice when I prayed for mercy.

28:6Verse 6: The psalm changes here. David has stopped asking for help. This is because God has given him and his people help. Look in verses 2 and 6. You will find the same words in them, ‘my voice when I prayed for mercy.’ In verse 2, David makes the prayer, but here he says that the LORD has heard his prayer. In the Hebrew, this also means that he has answered the prayer. The word ‘mercy’ is a special Christian word. It means that God is kind to people that he really should punish or hurt. Only the Christian God does this.

7 The LORD makes me strong. He is my shield.

My heart trusts in him and he gives me help.

Now my heart jumps for joy and I will thank him with my songs.

28:7Verse 7: In the Bible, the heart means the place where you think. To jump for joy means that you are very, very happy.

8 The LORD makes his people strong.

He is a safe and strong place for his Messiah.

28:8Verse 8: The Hebrew says ‘the LORD makes them strong.’ ‘Them’ must mean the people that David is king over. The Messiah when David wrote the psalm was David himself, the king. To Christians, the Messiah is Jesus.

9 save your people and do good things for your inheritance.

Be the shepherd of your people and always lift them up.

28:9Verse 9: ‘Your inheritance’ here means ‘your people.’ ‘Be the shepherd’ gives us help to remember that Jesus (LORD in the psalm) is the good shepherd. ‘Lift them up’ may mean ‘carry them’ or it may mean ‘make them great.’