Read: Psalm 28:1; Ephesians 2:8 – 10; Exodus 31:1 – 5
The Talmud, commenting on 1 Samuel 2:2 (“There is no rock like our God”) suggests that the Hebrew word for “rock” be interpreted like a similar word for “sculptor.” The Lord is the only Sculptor who can create a form within a form – the embryo within the mother – and who can endow that form with a soul. Psalm 28:1 can similarly be read “My Sculptor, be not mute to me.” In other words, “You who have created me and endowed me with a soul, do not now become silent and indifferent to me.” If this interpretation has any merit, it has a Christian parallel in Ephesians 2:8 – 10. Those who have been saved by God, created in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), are God’s workmanship, God’s “work of art” designed specifically to do the good works which God has prepared for them to do. Those good works are not limited to specifically religious activities. We are to “walk” in good works, and in the New Testament, our “walk” encompasses everything that we do. The transformed life of the Christian expresses itself in how we act as parents, children, spouses, employees, employers, citizens, rulers, servants, and so on.
Think About It: God had prepared a definite plan for the creation of the Tabernacle and its furnishings (Exodus 31). What else did God provide for in order that His plan be fulfilled (Exodus 31:1 – 5)? What has God provided for me in order that I fulfill His plans (2 Peter 1:3 – 4)?
Prayer: Praise God for how He has made me and strengthened me for His work.
Read: Psalm 28:2; Isaiah 55:6 – 9
David’s prayer in Psalm 28:2 is directed towards God in His sanctuary. During the reign of David, the Tabernacle was at Gibeon, a little less than five miles north-northwest of Jerusalem. (The Tabernacle was erected in Shiloh in the territory of Ephraim during the period of the judges; when Saul became king he moved it to Nob near his hometown of Gibeah, but after he murdered the priests at Nob during his search for David, the Tabernacle was moved to Gibeon.) The earthly Tabernacle was only a copy of the heavenly reality (Exodus 25:4, Hebrews 8:5), so that when David lifted up his hands toward God’s most holy sanctuary, it was not in the direction of Gibeon, but in the direction of heaven itself. The direction of David’s prayer is a significant detail. He did not direct his prayer towards a man-made shrine, to a god of his own making; nor did he direct his prayers inwardly, to a god he imagined in his heart. The God to whom David prayed has an objective existence independent of the thoughts and works of man; this separateness and differentiation from human thoughts and actions is an essential part of God’s holiness. Having a heavenward direction for prayer helps to avoid confusion between our thoughts and ways and God’s thoughts and ways, and hence between His will and our will.
Think About It: What are some of the differences between God’s thoughts and my thoughts, His ways and my ways (e.g. Matthew 5:21 – 48)? How and when did Jesus emphasize the importance of having a “direction” for our prayers that emphasizes God’s differentiation and holiness (Matthew 6:9)?
Prayer: Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name.
Read: Psalm 28:2 – 5; Jeremiah 9:8; Romans 12:19; 16:18; Hebrews 10:30
David’s prayer in Psalm 28 is a plea for mercy and a cry for help (v. 2). The circumstances that led to this specific prayer are not specified in the psalm, but v. 3 suggests that David was tormented by “those who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.” There were many such circumstances in David’s life: Doeg the Edomite, who tattled on David to Saul, which led to Saul’s condemnation of the priests at Nob; Nabal, who vilified David and refused to provision him even though David and his men had protected his property; Absalom, his own son, who seduced the hearts of David’s subjects with false promises; Ahithophel, David’s trusted friend and counselor, who joined in Absalom’s rebellion; Shimei, who cursed David as he fled from Jerusalem; and Joab, his military advisor who murdered in vengeance and to protect his own position in defiance of David’s wishes. David’s plea in Psalm 28:3 not to be dragged off with the wicked and workers of evil is a plea for God to differentiate between the faithful and the evil; it is also an affirmation that God will indeed punish the wicked, so that David himself need not seek vengeance for the wrongs done to him.
Think About It: What are some of the characteristics of the wicked workers of evil, according to Psalm 28:3 – 5? How will God deal with these people? Why will God do this (Isaiah 5:12)? What does it mean to “regard the works of the Lord(Matthew 11:20 – 24)? Am I ever tempted to take vengeance? Whose is responsible for taking vengeance?
Prayer: Lord, give me wisdom to regard Your mighty works, and to repent accordingly.
Read: Psalm 28:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3
The psalms contain 18 repetitions of the phrase “Bless the Lord,” and 10 repetitions of the phrase “Blessed be the Lord.” Hebrews 7:7 says, “It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior” – therefore in what sense can we bless the Lord? There is nothing that He needs from us, nothing that we can add to Him. In reference to blessing directed towards the Lord, blessing can best be understood in contrast to cursing. Cursing arises in response to perceived malfeasance; cursing expresses deep anger and a desire for vengeance; cursing blames the object of the curse and envisions negative consequences for that object. If blessing is the opposite of cursing, it makes sense to bless the Lord. Blessing the Lord perceives God’s beneficence, arises from deep joy and a desire to glorify God; gives credit to God for the good He has done, and envisions eternal good (Psalm 89:52, 106:48) for the Almighty.
Think About It: David blessed the Lord in Psalm 28:6 because He had heard his pleas for mercy. Other reasons for blessing the Lord are found in the following psalms: 31:21; 68:19; 72:18; 124:6; and 144:1. Still more reasons for blessing the Lord are found in the New Testament references for today. What reasons do I have for blessing the Lord?
Prayer: Blessed be the Lord!
Read: Psalm 28:7; Genesis 15:1; Isaiah 26:3; John 14:27; Philippians 4:6 – 7
Rabbi David Kimchi ( 1160 – 1235, known by the acronym Radak) speculated that Psalm 28:7 referred to David’s narrow escape from death at the hands of the giant Ishbi-benob (2 Samuel 21:16 – 17) thanks to the intervention of Abishai. After this incident, David’s men swore that he should no longer go out with them to battle, “lest you quench the lamp of Israel.” Freed from the worldly problems of battle David was ever afterwards able to enrich his mind in spiritual studies, therefore his heart exulted. Even if the incident with Ishbi-benob was not the occasion for this psalm, David was often in mortal danger, and had learned to trust that the Lord would provide strength and protection in the midst of troubling circumstances. The peace of God “surpasses all understanding” precisely because it prevails in the hearts of the faithful when they are in dire straits.
Think About It: Have I ever experienced the “peace that passes understanding” in the midst of turbulent times? According to Philippians 4:6 – 7, how can I access that peace?
Prayer: For the peace that passes understanding.
Read: Psalm 28:8; 27:1; 89:17; Exodus 15:2; Habakkuk 3:13
Radak (see above), continuing his thought that this Psalm arises from the incident that led to David’s retirement from battle, explained Psalm 28:8 as David’s reminder to his people that it was not him, but the Lord, who was their strength. The phrase “His anointed” is in the singular; the psalmist is not referring to God’s people with this word, but to one person. Samuel had anointed first Saul and then David as the first kings of Israel, so David may have been using the term to refer to himself. As the Lord had been the saving refuge (many times) for David, so He would be for His people. Because the Hebrew word for anointed is “Messiah,” Psalm 28:8 also has prophetic overtones. Jesus, the Son of David, the Anointed One, would also find saving refuge in God the Father. God’s redemptive work in Christ is the strength of God’s people.
Think About It: Where do people without faith go for refuge? Where do they find their strength? God is referred to 47 times in the Psalms as our refuge, and over two dozen times as our strength. Do I find my refuge and strength in the Lord?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for being my fortress and my strength.
Read: Psalm 28:9; Deuteronomy 1:31; 32:9 – 11; Isaiah 40:11; 46:3; Ezekiel 34:12 – 16, 23, 31; John 10:11 – 16
In Psalm 28:9 David prayed for the salvation of Israel, his nation, and his people. We also should pray for the salvation of our nation, our family and friends, and all those who are in some way our spiritual responsibility. Praying for salvation includes praying for the preservation and sanctification of those who already know Christ.
Think About It: Psalm 28:9 refers to the Lord as a “shepherd” – a powerful image of God’s provision and protection, and also of the helplessness and neediness of His people. What do the Old Testament references (above) to God as a shepherd indicate that God has done for His people? How have I experienced God providing for me, leading me, and even carrying me? According to John 10:11 – 16, what has Jesus, the Good Shepherd, done for me?
Prayer: Praise the Lord for His faithful provision and protection.