In His Hands

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Psalm 31:5 says, "Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God."


Sound familiar? Jesus, in the darkest moment of his earthly life, as he hung dying in excruciating pain, recited the words of a Psalm he would have learned as a young Jewish boy. "Into Your hand," he prayed, fully and wholly trusting the faithful Father. 


Some Psalms are laments. Some are psalms of Thanksgiving, others petition. Psalm 31, however, is all of those and more. It's a Psalm that is quoted repeatedly in the scriptures, not just by Christ in the gospels (Luke 31) but by the psalmist in Psalm 71, by Jonah in Jonah 2, by Jeremiah at least half a dozen times, and by Paul in 1 Corinthians 31. Psalm 31 was deeply meaningful to Jesus, the prophets, and other authors of God's Word. What did it mean to the gathered people of God in worship back then, and what does it mean for us today?


Psalm 31 is titled "To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David." This title is important because any psalm directed toward the chief musician was intended for public singing and worship. Charles Spurgeon points out the significance of this, saying, "The dedication to the chief musician proves that this song of mingled measures and alternate strains of grief and woe was intended for public singing, and thus a deathblow is given to the notion that nothing but praise should be sung." Spurgeon's point here is just as relevant today. Many of us often want to cherry-pick the Psalms to find ones that make us feel good about ourselves and God rather than singing all of the Psalms that challenge us to think more comprehensively and rightly about God and who we are in light of Him. 


Jesus did not shy away from this Psalm's honesty and wide-ranging emotions. Nor did Jeremiah, Paul, or the early church. Psalm 31 paints a picture of what a genuine conversation can sound like when we allow our hearts to speak openly to a God who hears and loves us. 


There is much to be said as you consider this Psalm, but to overlook Jesus' final words as He breathed His last breath would be a mistake. So, let me say a few words about verse 5 and invite you to return to the entirety of this incredible song in the scriptures, Psalm 31, in prayer and devotion.




No human writing will adequately describe the beauty and depth of Jesus' total and unwavering surrender to God the Father as he prays upon the cross. Spurgeon reminds us of this when he writes, "Jesus does not surrender his life despondingly to death for destruction but with triumphant consciousness to the Father for resurrection." It is fascinating how these words of David became the final words of our Savior and then the final words of martyrs and faithful Christ-followers for millennia. Spurgeon notes, "…these were the final words of Polycarp, of Bernard, of Huss, of Jerome of Prague, of Luther, Melancthon and many others..".




In the Old Testament, "redeem" most often refers to rescuing or purchasing something or someone. David writes that God is the ultimate purchaser and rescuer of his life and soul. Jesus prayed these words as the purchaser, and His payment sealed our redemption for eternity. Spurgeon writes, "Redemption is a solid basis for confidence. David had not known Calvary as we have done but temporal redemption cheered him on; and shall not eternal redemption yet more sweetly console us? Past deliverances are strong pleas for present assistance."




David caps this powerful verse with a declaration of who God truly is. He is faithful. Some translations say He is the "God of truth," and both are implied here. He is trustworthy because he is true. He has proven himself faithful and will always keep His word. Jesus spoke, prayed, and believed these words––perhaps when nobody else did. Jon Bloom of Desiring God writes, "One crucial dimension we must not miss is this: at that moment of his death, no one but Jesus perceived the faithfulness of God at work. He shows us that God can be acting most faithfully in the very moments when it appears he's not being faithful at all."


As you listen and read Psalm 31, are you in a season of needing to trust God deeply? Does the ground beneath you feel more like sinking sand than solid rock? We pray you will cry to him, committing your life to the Lord. Recount his faithfulness. Recount the truth of God's word revealed to you today and trust Him. He is faithful; He is! He is holding you; He is! In. His. Hands. Praise God, and Amen.