Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 23 Number 11 November 2021
Page 5

The Blessed Life

T. Pierce Brown

Although David was a man of many troubles, he was a man of great faith and a man after God’s own heart. In Psalm 31, we catch a glimpse of the life of faith that should characterize every child of God and give him a life that is blessed. We can emulate those things in David’s life that are worthy and shun those that are not.

First, in verse one, there is an expression of confident faith. “In You, O Lord, I put my trust” (NKJV). When Solomon said in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths,” he was not just giving a good Scripture for preachers to quote. He was expressing a fundamental principle that is a prerequisite for a blessed life. It involves confidence in all that the Lord has said, not only for us to do, but what He will do.

We not only have power to become sons of God through faith in Him (John 1:11-12), but we have power to become blessed, happy, useful and productive sons of God. Both the basis and results of this confidence are found in Psalm 31:2-3. The psalmist said, “…Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress…” That expression may appear strange until you think through its implications. How can he say, “Be my rock, for You are my rock?” A rock and a fortress suggest stability, unchanging nature and a place of defense against enemies and protection against all elements.

Why should one ask God to be what He already is? That awareness can be of much comfort and value to us. We need God to be to us personally what He is of Himself. That is, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Is He your King and Lord? Are you in His kingdom, submitting to His authority in all things? Or, are you one who thinks you do not need authority for what you do as long as you can say, “He did not say not to.”

He is the Savior of the world! Is He your Savior? He will not be your Savior unless you accept Him as Lord. It is significant that Peter in his wonderful sermon in Acts 2 first presented the fact that “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36) before he told them how to accept Him as Savior (Acts 2:38). When we sing, “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me,” we need to realize that He did not die just for the world but for you and me. So, like David, we can ask God to be to us what He is in reality.

In verse 5 David said, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit.” These words Jesus used at His death, but they were His attitude throughout life. We need to realize that as we live, so shall we die. If we live in the atmosphere of the Word – loving, living, breathing and obeying the Word – we shall die that way. If we commit our spirits to God day-by-day, we will have no trouble committing them on that final day. It may be significant that none of the Gospel records describe Jesus as dying, but as “yielding up His spirit.” He was the one who deliberately committed His spirit to God. We can do this day-by-day, and it should be total commitment insofar as we can make it so.

This blessed life was not only a life of confidence and commitment but also a life of joy and gladness. Psalm 31:7-8 say, “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place.” We need to be aware of these four things David discovered. (1) All of God’s people have a day of adversity in some areas. “…Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). (2) Whatever these may be, there is One who knows what they are, how long we can bear them and how to make them work for our good. (3) His consideration of our troubles should give us occasion to rejoice in His mercy and to praise Him. Failure to do this not only demonstrates ingratitude and hardness of heart, but it also increases it. It causes us to fail to reach others for two reasons. First, we simply do not try, for we do not feel grateful and happy with what we have. Second, they see our ingratitude and lack of joy, and hence, they are not pulled toward Christ by what they see.

(4) David said, “You have set my feet in a wide place.” There are those who think of following Jesus primarily in terms of what we give up and of what restrictions are placed upon us. No doubt the Prodigal Son felt that way before he left home. We get far more than we give up, and Jesus said, “…If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Freedom in Christ is one of the most wonderful things we have. It is not freedom from authority but freedom under authority. We are free to accept and to teach all truth, not bound by any creed or manual, written or unwritten. All emotions that are proper to express, we have the right to express. Any activity that is good to do, we have freedom to do under God’s direction.

There are those who seem to think we oppose the use of instrumental music in worship because we think instrumental music is obnoxious to God. This is not so. I do not oppose peanut butter on the Lord’s table because I think God does not like peanut butter but simply because it is unauthorized. I have a right to play an instrument of music, to eat peanut butter or do anything else that is good or right to do. Yet, I have no right to substitute it for what God ordained. Surely, anyone who wants to understand can see that I have the right to sprinkle water on my head, if I think it would help to keep either of my hairs in place or to do me good in any other way. However, I have no right to substitute it for baptism. Remember that God “set my feet in a wide place,” and although I can go anywhere I choose in the room, I need to stay in the room until He authorizes me to be elsewhere. Many who are connected with the church today are teaching a kind of freedom in Christ that would amount to license to practice whatever one chooses.

The blessed life portrayed by the psalmist involves confession. Verses 9-12 starts with, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble” and ends with “I am like a broken vessel.” There are two kinds of confessions each of us needs to make, and at least one that every man will make. First, we need to confess the truth about Jesus. If we confess it joyfully as the Ethiopian did to Philip in Acts 8:37, then Jesus will confess us before the Father. Whether we confess in joyous obedience in this life or in sorrow and shame at the Judgment Day, we shall all confess. As Paul penned in Romans 14:11, “Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Second, the confession in Psalm 31 is more like the confession of James wrote, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed…” (James 5:16). This is not just a confession that one might make to a so-called senior prayer partner (whatever that might be) but is of value between all Christian brothers and sisters. There are two great values of such a confession. (1) It is much easier to help a person who confesses that he needs help. If I present myself to you as one who has no faults, I will not only have a hard time overcoming them, but it will be impossible to enlist your aid in so doing. (2) It gives us a great release from fear and bondage because of trying to hide them. If I am afraid to let you know I have a fault, not only am I under tension for fear you will find out, I am subject to blackmail of various sorts, for if you do find out, you may hold over my head the threat of revealing it to others. If I have already revealed it to others, I am no longer in bondage to those things.

Then, the blessed life is one of petition (Psalm 31:15-16), adoration (v. 19) and praise (v. 21). When we realize as the psalmist that “my times are in Your hand,” it will create within us a sense of the nearness to God and give us an assurance of the concern of God, give us strength to endure temptation, help us to overcome fears and worries, encourage us to more consecrated and devoted service, gladden us with hope for the future, and allow us to make the petition with assurance and faith.

When a man lives this blessed life, the natural consequence is that he will give others the exhortation of Psalm 31:23-24, “O love the Lord, all you His saints… Be of good courage…” The heart that is full of adoration and praise for the goodness of God will eagerly long for others to love, trust, serve and obey God. Then, he “cannot but speak the things which [he has] seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Are you living the blessed life?

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