A Prayer of Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness – G. Keddie on Psalm 31

Prayers-Bible-KeddieI am enjoying ( that is, being edified and encouraged by) Gordon Keddie’s recently published devotional book, The Prayers of the Bible: 366 Devotionals to Encourage Your Prayer Life (Crown and Covenant, 2017). I picked up the Kindle version free a month ago and started using it at the end of the day.

Friday’s devotional (April 17) was based on David’s prayer recorded in Psalm 31, and it struck me as so relevant to our current situation. So I cut and pasted it from my Kindle into an email and now post it here for your benefit too. As you read it, I believe it will speak to your need in these times as it did to me. (This is not a disclaimer, but I add that Keddie uses the New KJV for these devotionals.)

A prayer of thanksgiving for God’s goodness
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You… Ps. 31:19
READ PSALM 31

The goodness of God must be a doctrine believed if it is to be an experience enjoyed. This is most keenly tested when bad things happen to us, because it is not obvious that these are evidence of God’s goodness in our lives. After all, “His judgments are in all the earth” (Ps. 105:7), and at the time even “all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant” (Heb. 12:11). So the upsets, setbacks, disasters, and tragedies of life—“the same event” that “happens to the righteous and the wicked” (Eccl. 9:2)—cause us distress, not joy, and may tempt us to doubt the goodness of God altogether. We naturally cry out in pain and seek relief and resolution. Again, the Lord shows us the way…

To whom are we to turn in our troubles? Answer: the God who saves! David turns to God for deliverance (vv. 1–2), confesses him as his “rock and fortress” (vv. 3–5), and testifies to past mercies from his hand (vv. 6–8). Calvin notes that David “held it as a principle, that the hope which depends upon God cannot possibly be disappointed” and calls us all to act “from a firm persuasion that our safety depends on the power of God.” David worked hard at staying alive—running, hiding, fighting, even feigning madness—but he always depended upon the Lord. It is not an accident that he was given to utter words that Jesus would speak upon the cross: “Into Your hand I commit my spirit” (v. 5; Luke 23:46). As David foreshadows Christ trusting his Father, so we are called to after-shadow Christ our Savior, trusting in him as our surety in a world no less challenging in our time.
Why may we have confidence in the face of troubles? Answer: God is the God of sovereign grace, who delights in “exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth” (Jer. 9:24).
David can claim God’s mercy for two basic reasons (vv. 9–13). The first is that God is in himself “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Ps. 103:8). We are alive “because His compassions fail not” (Lam. 3:22). Even more, we live in “the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2), when “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). This is true for every human being.
The second reason is that God is absolutely sovereign (vv. 14–18). Only because our “times are in [His] hand” do we have a prayer for deliverance (v. 15). “The people of God in every age,” writes Murdoch Campbell, “have had the same awareness [as David] of being exposed to constant danger; but ‘their life is hid with Christ in God’ [Col. 3:3].” God’s sovereignty is not cold and distant to us, for he is our “hiding place” (Ps. 32:7; 119:114), and we are his “dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff,” safe in the Rock of Ages, Jesus his Son (Song 2:14).
What will believers discover even through their troubles? Answer: that God is good (vv. 19–24). In all your troubles, child of God, both physical and spiritual, from illnesses to insults, from foolishness and sins to injuries by others, have you not found with the psalmist that God has loved you through them all and been your “rock of refuge” in Christ your Savior? Indeed, it is Jesus who was “cut off from before [his Father’s] eyes” (v. 22), but “who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear…” and “having been perfected,” became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:7–9).
Dear Christian, you are safe in the arms of Jesus! You have found it so thus far, and will so find it in the glory yet to be revealed. Will you now “love the Lord, all you His saints…for the Lord preserves the faithful” (v. 23)? “Oh, how great is Your goodness!” (v. 19).
Keddie always ends his devotionals by calling the reader to praise God by singing the Psalm. Shall we do that? Here’s a good way to do so (sing along with the piano accompaniment). I include the first three stanzas below.

 

1. In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust,
I call upon Thy Name;
O save me in Thy righteousness,
Nor let me suffer shame.

2. Bow down Thy ear to my request,
And swift deliverance send;
Be Thou to me a rock of strength,
A fortress to defend.

3. Since Thou my rock and fortress art,
My leader be, and guide;
From all temptation rescue me,
Thou dost my strength abide.

 

*Postscript: If you are looking for a good devotional, whether personal or family, this is a fine one. Keddie’s material is not “feel-good fluff,” but Bible-focused, God-centered, and Christ-exalting stuff.

And while I’m recommending this Keddie publication, I highly recommend all his commentaries. I have used them many times over the years and never was disappointed. They are always sound expositions of God’s Word, with principled applications, by a faithful Reformed Presbyterian pastor.

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