Psalm 31 TALK: Confidence in God in the Face of Adversity

(All bible quotes from The Holy Bible, New International Version)

PSALM 31 TALK – CONFIDENCE IN GOD IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

(THE CONFIDENCE WE CAN HAVE IN GOD’S FORGIVENESS)

 INTRODUCTION

I remember back to my wonderful three years of intensive bible study in The Sydney Missionary and Bible College in the early 1970’s and the often intellectually hostile theological arguments I had there. One issue that came up was the assurance of all believers. Some would argue that Christians can fall away from God and must heed the many bible verses that encourage us not to do this like Hebrews 10: 26 – 27,

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God”.

Others would argue that once Jesus had us in his hands or once we have truly turned to Christ then our salvation is secure as we read in verses like John 10: 27 – 29:

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand”.

So the verbal battles would rage the first group putting the emphasis on our own earnest efforts to remain saved and the other on the Loving and Sovereign will of God as the basis for our assurance.

In Psalm 31 David reveals great confidence in God in the face of terrible adversity. This Psalm seems to have been written with the background of the events recorded for us in 1 Samuel 23 when David narrowly escaped a trap he seemed to be in in the city of Keilah. Here David seemed trapped in the city (vs’s 4 and 21 of the Psalm) and here he was betrayed by people from his own tribe who he had just bravely fought for against the Philistines to save them from destruction (verses 11, 12, 13 of the Psalm). Finally it was here that Saul plotted to kill him in the city (verses 8, 13, 15 and 20 of the Psalm).

This Psalm will reveal to us that David would have been with the students at Bible College who argued that our confidence and assurance is in God and does not depend on us but solely on God. It is only those who truly come to him who have this confidence and we must show that we are those who are “in his hands” by the way we endue to the end as Jesus says in Matthew 24: 13.

We will learn from this Psalm what real assurance and confidence in God is all about and we will see that in Christ we can face any problem and difficulty life can throw at us.

This Psalm is said to have the journey of anguish to assurance twice (as Coffman puts it).  I have divided this Psalm into 5 sections:

  1. DAVID’S PRAYER OF CONFIDENCE IN GOD (1 – 6)

2.  DAVID’S PRAISE FOR GOD’S DELIVERANCE (7 – 8)

3.  DAVID’S TERRIBLE  PREDICAMENT (9 – 13)

4.  DAVID’S FURTHER PRAYER OF CONFIDENCE IN GOD (14 – 18)

5.  DAVID’S FINAL PRAISE FOR GOD’S DELIVERANCE (19 – 24)

 

  1. DAVID’S  PRAYER OF CONFIDENCE IN GOD (1 – 6)

This section of the Psalm has all the hallmarks of a David Psalm as he uses terms and expressions that he has used many times before. Some of his favourite expressions for the character of God appear here.

His prayer starts with a statement of Confidence in God,

“In you. O Lord, I have taken refuge”

The term “Refuge” speaks of a life already well and truly confident in a God who has saved and helped him so many times in the past. David goes on to declare what his confidence is in when he prays the words,

“deliver me in your righteousness”.

Derek Kidner writes, “Note the grounds of his appeal: not his persuasiveness but God’s righteousness”.

What is David referring to here, when he speaks of God’s righteousness?

John Calvin believes that God’s righteousness is in fact God’s faithfulness he will not let David fall to the trap that the evil King Saul has set for David because David’s God is a God of Justice and love. If Saul’s trap worked then this would mean that evil would win over right. David knows that in God he will never be put to shame because his God can be relied upon and is always faithful to those he has called to be his own.

David’s desperate situation at Keilah with the immanent threat of Saul coming to trap and kill him runs right through this Psalm. In verse 2 David asks God to

“Turn your ear to me” and to “come quickly to my rescue”.

These are the words of a man cornered but not beaten as he looks to his God to save him who he calls,

“His rock of refuge”.

David continues his desperate prayer for deliverance from the hand of Saul with further confident words in verses 3 and 4,

“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge”.

The words “rock” and “refuge” appear a number of times in this section and in deed throughout the many Psalms of David and they reveal his constant sure hope that God will never forsake him but would always be with him and protect him.

We to should have this sure hope as we have a Saviour who promises to be with us always, Matthew 28: 20b,

“And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age”

A Saviour who promises to be our rock and refuge when he offers to help us when we face the many burdens of life, in Matthew 11: 28 – 30,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Then we come to a famous verse in this Psalm, verse 5, which the first part of the verse seems to have been quoted by Jesus on the cross,

“Into your hands I commit my spirit”

Jesus uses the term. “Spirit” to mean his whole life and this seems to be what David means as well. However Jesus committed his life into God’s hands as he died while David committed his life into God’s hands expecting to be saved from death.

Interestingly David goes on to use the words, “redeem me”. Here Kidner points out that the word redeem here “means to rescue or ransom out of trouble”. In Mark 10:45 Jesus declares,

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many”.

Yes Jesus did die, he was not saved from death like David was when he was trapped in Keilah but in the offering up to God of his life he saved many by being the ransom payment for their sins.

In the final verse of this confident but desperate prayer of David he nails his colours to the mask, he states clearly who his brave and confident faith is in,

“I hate those who cling to worthless idols, I trust in the Lord”

He is not trusting in idols or false representations of God but his trust is in the one and only true God who he knows as “Yahweh” or “The Lord”, the God who is, was and will be forever more.

2.  DAVID’S PRAISE FOR GOD’S DELIVERANCE (7 – 8)

Now in this prayer of confidence in God’s assured help in the face of extreme trial and difficulty David turns to praise. This is the first round of praise for God’s deliverance in the Psalm. The Psalm has probably been written after David’s escape from Keilah and is reflection of God’s deliverance but is written as though David is in the midst of the difficulty.

In these two verses, 7 and 8 David praises God for two things:

  1. God’s Love
  2. God’s Deliverance
  1. God’s Love (vs. 7)

David was always conscious of God’s love in his life. He rarely took God’s love or unmerited favour for granted. He was the one who was plucked from the obscurity of a lowly shepherd boy to be the King in waiting of Israel.

He was now on the run from King Saul who in his mad and jealous rage thought only of David as his rival and enemy. This caused David affliction and anguish as the verse reveals,

Yet David also knew that the God who had called him to be the true King of Israel also knew his pain and difficulty and was right there with him to help and save him so David writes,

“ I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul”.

       2. God’s Deliverance (vs. 8)

Over and over again David came close to destruction at the hands of Saul yet David confidently writes,

“You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place”.

Such was the deliverance from Keilah where he was trapped in a small town and God enabled David to escape to the desert area of Ziph as 1 Samuel 23: 13 records,

“So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there. David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands”.

This desert area David describes as “a spacious place”.

This is a wonderful poetic description of God’s deliverance and could be used to help us understand our deliverance from sin by the God’s of Love. I like how the “Amplified” version of Romans 7: 24 – 25b puts it,

“O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?

O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord!”

        3.  DAVID’S TERRIBLE PREDICAMENT (9 – 13)

In the middle of this Psalm David speaks a bit more particularly about how he felt and what he faced in Keliah where he felt trapped and betrayed.

Those who oppose the concept that David wrote this Psalm in the context of his deliverance from Keliah argue that in this section of the Psalm David is speaking about great physical sickness and the 1 Samuel 23 passage does not indicate in any way that David was sick at this time. Leupold writes these words to explain what is going on here,

“Since David was not physically ill at this time, the afflictions spoken of are to be thought of as being the distress of mind which seemed to break his physical strength and shaken his days”

It is so true that often when people face great difficulties in their lives they ever get physically sick or feel the same pain of physical sickness. I know in my life that a number of times when I faced great difficulties often as a result of sins I had committed I did not feel very well within myself and suffered a form of depression that can be so painfully debilitating.

David’s description of how he felt when locked up in Keliah make a apt poetic description of what it is like to face great difficulty and trauma in our lives,

“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, 
my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affection, and my bones grow weak”.

Note how David tells God in his prayer just how he feels and he calls to God for mercy, again unmerited love and help.

In the next three verses we read of why David is feeling so low. He does not just have Saul breathing down his neck seeking to kill him but the people of Keilah, members of his own tribe who he had just risked his life to save have betrayed him. The 1 Samuel 23 text makes it clear that the people of Keliah had secretly gone to Saul to inform on David. Now David describes this treachery and how it affected him in verses 11 – 13,

“Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbours and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; have become like broken pottery. For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me
 and plot to take my life”.

It is a very terrible experience to be ostracised by people but it even worse if those people are our friends or at least people who come from the same family or community as we do. Many Christians throughout the churches history have had to endure this as a result of their stand for God. I think of Martin Luther who once he stood up against the wrong teachings of the Roman Catholic Church faced being ostracised and was excommunicated from the church he had served so faithfully for so long. He too, faced certain death if the officials of the church ever caught up with him.

But we too can find in God a refuge and help like David did and like Martin Luther did who composed the Hymn “A Mighty fortress is our God” which first verse reads,

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never-failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing: For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal”.

         4.  DAVID’S FURTHER PRAYER OF CONFIDENCE IN GOD (14 – 18)

Once David remembers the terrible predicament he was in Keilah he returns to a second prayer of confidence in his Lord. I would like to break up this prayer of confidence with three headings:

  1. Trust in the one true God (vs.14)
  2. Trust in the providential love of God (vs.15- 16)
  3. Trust in the God who will judge his enemies (vs’ 17 – 18)
  1. Trust in the one true God (vs. 14)

As David declared in his first prayer of confidence in God in verse 6 he states again in whom his confidence is based it is based in “ The Lord” or Yahweh, the God who set up his covenant with his people, the God who “is, was and will ever be”. David makes this clear with these words.

“But I trust, in you, O Lord; I say., “You are my God”

Against the uncertain and changeable nature of man seen in the treachery of his very own countrymen is in contrast to the unchangeable and reliable nature of God.

If our assurance and confidence of our faith is based in anything else then the one true God of Heaven and earth than we have not got any real sense of real assurance and confidence. I know from my own experience that my capacity to endure and remain faithful is week but I also know that the love of God will never let me down as Paul put it so well in Romans 8 : 31 – 35,

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

 

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

2.  Trust in the providential love of God (vs.15 – 16)

So many around me, who do not know this love of God or who will not accept it speak of Luck. They believe there is no plan or purpose for life and  that we live in a hostile unpredictable world. They hope that life some how will serve up to them some good times, fortune and health. But the reality according to the bible is that yes we do live in hostile world but working through this is the will of God.

For the Christian there is no sense of luck as we believe that everything is under the control of God who has got a plan for this world and for us who are called to love and serve him.

David expresses this concept in verse 15,

“My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me”

David trusted in the providential care of God and believed so much in it that in this verse and in verse 5 he was willing to place his life and future in the hands of his God.

Again Paul in another part of Romans 8 expresses this so well for us, Romans 8 : 28,

“And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

In this too we should find great assurance and confidence in God.

David continues this idea of the providential love of God by taking a famous Hebrew expression and applying it to himself and his current situation. The famous Hebrew expression is found in Numbers 6: 24 – 26 which reads,

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you
 and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you
 and give you peace.”

These words come from Moses and they are according to him God’s words Aaron and his sons are to use to bless the Israelite people. David seeks God’s blessing on him in the midst of his great adversity when he writes, verse 16,

“Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”

So David trusted in the God of love to give him his providential blessing. It was not a matter of good luck or good management on his part but was solely reliant on the will of God. Again we can hear David saying, “Into your hands I commit my spirit (or life).

3.  Trust in the God who will judge his enemies (vs’ 17 – 18)

We have in these two verses what we have seen in a number of Psalms, what is called, “imprecation” or a curse for our enemies. I have said before that we do not pray like this because Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for them Matthew 5: 44. However I have also pointed out that judgment does await those who oppose God and those who truly follow him. So these verses remind us that we trust in a God who will judge his enemies.

As verse 17, reads,

“Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave”

Leupold points out that verse 18 could be considered “as a perfectly harmless prayer, yea, even a desirable one”.

Verse 18,

“Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous”

5.  DAVID’S FINAL PRAISE FOR GOD’S DELIVERANCE (19 – 24)

So we come to the final praise section of this Psalm, which is a much fuller account of David’s praise for his deliverance by God from Keilah.

We have three distinct sections in this final section:

  1. Praise for the general goodness of God for those who trust in him  (vs’s 19)

2.  Praise for God’s specific act of Deliverance for David at Keilah (vs’s 20 – 22)

3.  A call for all God’s people to trust in Lord (vs’s 23 – 24)

 

  1. Praise for the general goodness of God for those who trust in him  (vs’s 19 – 20)

We have seen all through this Psalm that David trusted in God even in the face of the most difficult of circumstances. David’s confidence was founded in God alone and in these verses he continues this idea.

He speaks of his God storing up goodness for him,

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you”

God has abundance of good things for us and the image here is of a storehouse of good things God has for us. The new Testament speaks of this as well, for instance Paul says in Ephesians 1 : 3,

“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”.

David makes it clear that he sees this over flowing storehouse of blessing for all who trust in the true God of Heaven,

“which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”

Again our confidence in God lies in what he has done for us and what he has for us in Christ.

2.  Praise for God’s specific act of Deliverance for David at Keilah (vs’s 20 – 22)

David now poetically specifies his great deliverance from Keilah that is spoken of in more detail in 1 Samuel 23. We have seen that this incident was one of the closest calls David had to being captured by Saul .

Also in Keilah’s people secretly turn on David who had just saved them from the Philistines and this incident is what David refers to in verse 20,

“In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; from accusing tongues.”

In verse 21 David refers to the deliverance from being trapped in the city of Keilah,

“Praise be to the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city”.

In what looked like a very real and deadly trap in Keilah, David cries out to the Lord and is saved again in the nick of time, verse 22,

“In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight! Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help”.

A person reading this story of David’s escape from Keilah who is not a believer in the God David trusted in would say that David was just lucky. But we know as David knew that in this world that is hell bent on going its own way and not God’s way the only hope is to turn to the one true God and trust in him. He promises that if we do that he will be with us and his providential care will be ours in Christ.

3.   A call for all God’s people to trust in Lord (vs’s 23 – 24)

In the final two sections of this Psalm David has some general words of advice for all God’s people to be like him and also trust in the Lord.

He calls us to :

  1. Love the Lord (vs. 23)

2.  Be Strong in the Lord (vs. 24)

 

  1. Love the Lord (vs. 23)

Verse 23 calls all the “saints” all who have been set aside to live for God, all true believers to Love the Lord. David gives us ample reason to do this when he writes,

“The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full”

We have seen in this Psalm how and why we can have confidence in this life. This verse makes it clear that it is God that keeps the true believer going, “preserves” and it is the same God who will bring down the proud, those who trust in themselves.

2. Be Strong in the Lord (vs. 24)

The final verse is a great summary of what we have been learning all through this Psalm that our assurance and confidence in God relies on trusting him who David calls our “Hope”. David writes,

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Christian hope is not a wishful thinking kind of hope that we are all familiar with in this world but is what I call “A Hope to cope”.

I give the last words to the Apostle Paul as he speaks of this kind of hope in. 2 Corinthians 1:10

“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”.

May God make it so for all us who like Paul and David put their trust in God and in God alone.

 

PART 2

THREE NEW TESTAMENT APPLICATIONS OF PSALM 31

I want us to look at three New Testament passages that give us the basis on which we can pin our assurance and confidence in. Each of these looks at the same thing from three different angles.

  1. OUR ASSURANCE AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD AS PAUL PRESENTED IT TO TIMOTHY (2 TIMOTHY 1 : 8 – 12)

Paul writes to his younger under study Timothy in the two letters of Timothy to give him advice and encouragement in his ongoing leadership in the church. Paul gives us the impression in 2 Timothy 1: 7 that Timothy suffered from being a bit timid,

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline”

To the timid Timothy Paul uses his own courage in the face of suffering to give Timothy some confidence with these words, in 2 Timothy 1: 8 – 12,

 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day”.

Paul gives Timothy three reasons :

  1. Saved by the power of God (vs. 8 )

2.  Saved by God’s Purpose and Grace (vs 9 )

3.  Saved by the work of Christ alone  (vs’ s 10 – 12)

 

  1. Saved by the power of God (vs. 8)

Paul wanted Timothy not be ashamed of him and the gospel he preached because of his current imprisonment for preaching that Gospel. To Paul this suffering was nothing compared to the glory this Gospel brings to the believer. He believed that this Gospel was not man-made but God made and therefore is the power of God. As Paul says in Romans 1 : 16 ,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile”.

Our assurance is not based on our weak and timid state as sinners but is based on the power of God.

2.     Saved by God’s Purpose and Grace (vs. 9 )

 Paul makes it clear to Timothy in verse 9 – 11 that we are not saved by anything we have done but it is all of God. God out of grace (unmerited love) has called us to live a holy life, a life set apart for God’s service. As Paul clearly taught in Ephesians 2 : 8 – 10,

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

Paul teaches in the second half of verse 9 that this grace came through The Lord Jesus Christ and says that it didn’t just come when he came to earth to die on the cross for our sins but it came from Christ Jesus “before the beginning of time”. Paul taught in a number of places in his writings that God has called those who respond to the Gospel message from the beginning of time. We see this also in a passage like Romans 8: 29 – 30,

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified”.

This also should give us great assurance and confidence in our Salvation and in our daily walk with God.

3.   Saved by the work of Christ alone  (vs’ s 10 – 12)

In the final three verse of this passage Paul goes on to make it clear to timid Timothy that we are not saved by our efforts but are saved alone by the work of Christ when he died for our sins. Christ achieved so much in his sacrificial death, Paul sets down 3 things Christ death on the cross achieved:

  • Destroyed death
  • Brought life and immortality
  • Saved us from God’s Judgment on the Day of Judgment.

This too should fill us with assurance and confidence and certainly Paul testified to Timothy that this is where he finds his strength and confidence to serve God, as he writes in verses 11 and 12,

“And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day”.

2.  OUR ASSURANCE AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD AS PRESENTED BY PETER IN HIS FIRST    LETTER   (1 Peter 1: 3 – 9)

Not only Paul taught about how we can have assurance and confidence in God through Christ but the Apostle Peter also spoke about this as well. He touches on this in a number of places in his two letters but I like how he speaks about this in his first letter, chapter 1 verses 3 to 9,

“Praise is to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, And into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, or you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.

I would like to pick out again three things Peter speaks about Christian confidence in this passage.

1.     Confidence in God through the mercy give to us through Jesus Christ (vs’s 3 – 4)

2.  Confidence in God because he has shielded us from his Judgment   (Vs. 5)

3.   Confidence in God because he even uses suffering to help us prove our faith In him  (vs’s 6 – 9)

 

 1.     Confidence in God through the mercy give to us through Jesus Christ  (vs’s 3 – 4)

Peter kicks off his first letter to the scattered early churches of his time with some powerful words of praise and hope. In this passage above he starts with these words,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you”.

Peter pinned his assurance and confidence on the great mercy (grace – unmerited favour) of Jesus Christ. Note again he, like Paul saw no place for us in obtaining our salvation but it comes to us through the great mercy of God in Christ Jesus. This mercy Peter teaches has given us new birth, that is it has completely remade us and he uses the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as proof that this both possible and achieved.

So Peter also gives us confidence in God because our salvation is a result of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

2.  Confidence in God because he has shielded us from his Judgment  (Vs. 5)

Peter adds to this a similar thought Paul spoke about in the 2 Timothy passage that we should have confidence in God because we have nothing to fear on the Day of Judgment. He uses the term; “shielded by God’s power” to tell us that because Jesus has died for us we will not face the terrible judgment God has for this world one day.

This too should fill us with great confidence that we have nothing to fear on the Day of Judgment and should also encourage us to proclaim the great Good News of the Gospel of Christ.

3.   Confidence in God because he even uses suffering to help us prove our faith In him  (vs’s 6 – 9)

Peter then spells out a remarkable claim that we should rejoice in our suffering. All the New Testament writers spoke of the same thing as Peter is saying here. He saw Christian suffering as a very positive thing that God uses to test or prove our faith and make us better people. Many people loose confidence in God when hard times come upon them but Peter is saying, no don’t loose your faith use this hard time to make your faith stronger.

I have heard of and met many Christians who have testified to the truth of this fact that when they have gone through difficult times they found new strength and faith in God to get them through it.

This too should give us great assurance and confidence in God and we can join with Peter when he says,

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, or you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.

3.  OUR ASSURANCE AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD AS PRESENTED BY JESUS IN JOHN  10: 25  – 30

My final New Testament passage is one of the one’s I quoted from in the introduction to this study of Psalm 31. It is part of Jesus teaching in John 10 where he present s to the unbelieving Jews the wonderful teaching of how he is The Good Shepherd. Towards the end of this section of Johns Gospel Jesus gives us some wonderful words of assurance that should fill us with great confidence. Lets look then at John 10: 25 – 30,

“Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

I will make three confidence filled points from this passage:

1.     Jesus sheep are those who truly believe in him  (vs’s 25 – 26)

 2.     Jesus sheep listen to and follow Jesus  (vs. 27)

3.     Jesus sheep have eternal life and are always in the hands of Jesus  (vs’s 28 – 30)

 

1.     Jesus sheep are those who truly believe in him  (vs’s 25 – 26)

From a question from many un believing Jews on the day of the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem Jesus spells out who are his, described in this passage as his sheep. The question goes something like this, if you claim to be The Christ or Messiah then when are you going to show us this?

Jesus has been performing miracles, teaching them with authority and even telling them who he is and what he was going to do and yet these un believing Jews ask show us, tell us you are the Messiah.

Jesus replies to this ridiculous question with the words of verses 25 and 26,

“Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep”

Jesus is saying that it is faith in him that makes all the difference. These Jewish hearers rejected Jesus miracles and teaching as proof that he was the Christ and therefore they did not believe in him. However Jesus infers in theses verses that if they had believed in him they would be his sheep.

So the first step in having assurance of faith and confidence in God is to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the one come from God to save his people from their sins.

2.     Jesus sheep listen to and follow Jesus  (vs. 27)

Jesus goes on from this opening statement about believing in him as the key to being his sheep to spell out a bit more that,

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”

It is not just saying “I believe in Jesus” that saves us but we must show we truly believe by listening to his voice (reading his word) and following him (put it into practice in our daily lives).

If we have come to believe in Jesus and do seek to put his word into practice than we can be assured and have confidence that we are Jesus sheep.

3.      Jesus sheep have eternal life and are always in the hands of Jesus  (vs’s 28 – 30)

Finally we come to the great words of assurance that Jesus gives us in this passage, in verses 28 – 30,

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

If we are truly in Christ, that is if we have truly come to him and put our faith and trust in him then his promise is that he will never let us go from his hands. Some people do stray from Christ after coming to him but even though we might stray Jesus will not give us up.

We might prove to be unreliable but Jesus is always reliable and we can count on him even when we do stray from him. This was my experience as a very young Christian I strayed from Christ for three years when I was a teenager but Christ never gave me up and he brought me back as painful experience that was.

I needed to hear these words of assurance then and once I came to realise that my salvation does not depend on what I have done but it depends on what Christ has done for me then I realised that I was in his hands forever.

PRAYER:

 Father I thank you for sending your only Son Jesus Christ into this world to save me from my sins. I thank you that my assurance and faith is not based on what I have done but what you have done for me. I thank you that no matter what happens to me in this life I can have confidence that you are with me and no one can snatch me out of your hands. In the great and powerful name of Jesus I pray this AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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