Psalm 31: Jesus Bore Our Shame on the Cross So Be Strong

Psalm 31: Because of the Cross, We Never Need to Feel Shame

You’d think that once King David was ruling all of Israel that he wouldn’t feel shame, but he did. It’s enough for him to unload his feelings to God in this psalm. It’s really easy for us to feel ashamed of our past sins. Even the ones you’ve tried to bury. Somehow, with the help of Satan, those bad, shameful deeds rise from the depths of our memories. That’s when you need to trust your life to Jesus.

Incidentally, passages from this psalm are quoted by Jeremiah, Jonah, and Jesus. See if you can pick out one of Jesus’ famous last words. Let’s dig in…

Psalm 31

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
    don’t let me be disgraced.
    Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
    rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
    a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
    For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
    for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
    Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.

I hate those who worship worthless idols.
    I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
    for you have seen my troubles,
    and you care about the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to my enemies
    but have set me in a safe place.

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
    Tears blur my eyes.
    My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief;
    my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
    I am wasting away from within.
11 I am scorned by all my enemies
    and despised by my neighbors—
    even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
    they run the other way.
12 I am ignored as if I were dead,
    as if I were a broken pot.
13 I have heard the many rumors about me,
    and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
    plotting to take my life.

14 But I am trusting you, O Lord,
    saying, “You are my God!”
15 My future is in your hands.
    Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
16 Let your favor shine on your servant.
    In your unfailing love, rescue me.
17 Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord,
    for I call out to you for help.
Let the wicked be disgraced;
    let them lie silent in the grave (Sheol).
18 Silence their lying lips—
    those proud and arrogant lips that accuse the godly.

19 How great is the goodness
    you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
    blessing them before the watching world.
20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
    safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence,
    far from accusing tongues.

21 Praise the Lord,
    for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.
    He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
22 In panic I cried out,
    “I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
    and answered my call for help.

23 Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
    For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
    but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
24 So be strong and courageous,
    all you who put your hope in the Lord!

Psalm 31 NLT

Stand-Out Verses

In case you didn’t get it, it was verse 5 that Jesus cried out moments before He died…

Atonement: why Jesus had to die on the cross bearing our shame

“Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.

Luke 23:46 NLT

They were part of the 7 Last Words that Jesus uttered on the cross when He surrendered His life for our sin and shame. Pastor Sandy Adams comments…

Yet these are also appropriate words for us to pray. On the cross God purchased our lives. Thus, it’s fitting that we continually place back into God’s hands what belongs to Him. Ask Him to protect His investment.

Sandy Adams

Worthless Idols

worshiping and venerating Mary - worthless idol

Furthermore, verse 6 is important. “I hate those who worship worthless idols.” I don’t like using the word “hate”. I even looked up this passage in other versions and it was the same. Idolatry is a major problem in our world today, just as much as it was in David’s time. He wanted God to be clear that he was not like the pagan nations which surrounded Israel. Note, his next line is, “I trust in the Lord.”

In other words, praying to statues or paintings of dead people — Mary and the saints — is pure idolatry. As David said, they are WORTHLESS. A piece of stone or wood cannot do anything for you. When you trust in Jesus ONLY, you can blurt out all your problems, and scream to God about your enemies, pains, trials, addictions, illnesses, griefs, hurts, and tribulations.

David felt like a broken pot. A broken vessel is useless. He felt depressed. Imagine that, King David, feeling useless!

Your Future is in HIS Hands!

In the next verses, David’s tone changes from desperation to hope. He declares that God holds his future in His hands. In the same way, God holds YOUR future in His hands. David asks for favor, he asks not to be disgraced, and he genuinely cries out for help. That, my friend, is humility — pride gets in the way. That’s coming to the realization that you can’t do it all yourself. That you need God’s help, strength, wisdom, and guidance to get you through.

God hears our cries for mercy.

Be Strong and Courageous!

I love the last 2 lines…

23 Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
    For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
    but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
24 So be strong and courageous,
    all you who put your hope in the Lord!

Psalm 31:23-24 NLT

That last passage reminded me of Paul’s advice to Timothy in the last letter he ever wrote…

And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:8 NLT

His appearing, His return, His Rapture. If it wasn’t for trusting in Him — for that confident hope — we would never be able to survive this horrible, evil world.

The folks at Spoken Gospel sum it up nicely…

The threat of public shaming still thrives in our churches, news outlets, and lives. People are cancelled and careers are tanked for both justified and unjustified reasons. Social media and secretly saved texts are used as leverage against us, whether we’re in middle schools or sit in boardrooms. 

On top of the threat of public shame, our own conscience (Romans 2:15) and our spiritual accuser—Satan—shame us too (Revelation 12:10). When these accusations pile up and grow louder it’s easy to think God has abandoned us. 

But Jesus conquered our shame when he died on the cross. He even quoted this psalm before he died (Luke 23:46). And by doing so, he brought the full weight of God’s shame-cancelling power to bear at the moment of his death. 

Like David, Jesus was publicly shamed, maligned, and condemned (Mark 15:29). Though he was guiltless he publicly suffered as if he was guilty (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Like David, those around Jesus equated his suffering with God’s rejection (Mark 15:32). But Jesus knew God saw his affliction and would be his vindicating shelter (1 Peter 2:23). 

When Jesus rises from the dead, he answers David’s prayer in a way David couldn’t imagine. Not even Jesus’ death at his enemy’s hands would prevent the vindication of his name from public shame. Just as his humiliation was public, so Jesus’ resurrection publicly silenced the accusations of his enemies. 

If you trust in Jesus you can be confident that the stigma of your shame will be removed (Hebrews 12:2). When we commit our spirit into Jesus’ capable hands, he promises that we will be raised as he was (Romans 6:4). No shame, ridicule, lie, or condemnation will ever stick to us because our identity is hidden in the strong fortress of Jesus’ honor and goodness (Romans 8:1). Just as publicly as we have been shamed, Jesus promises to publicly shame our enemies and honor us in front of them all. 

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God whose hands are trustworthy to carry us through shame. And may you see Jesus as the one who took our shame on the cross and rose to give us his honor. 

Spoken Gospel

Jesus didn’t carry all our sin and shame on the cross so that we could have RELIGION! NO! He took away your sins and shame so that He could have a RELATIONSHIP with YOU! Yes, YOU!

Jesus knocking at the door of your heart.
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart.
Isn’t it about time you let Him in?

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Trading My Sorrows

Where I’m Standing Now

Hello, My Name Is

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

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