Do you feel sometimes as if God is silent? Does it seem that your prayers fall on deaf ears? David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he too felt at times as if God wasn’t listening. He begins Psalm 28 with a cry for God to hear his call.
To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary (Psalm 28:1-3, ESV).
Even though David feels as if God is deaf and silent, he confesses that God is his rock. He still worships him. He admits that without God’s presence he is as lost as those who go down to the pit. He expands on this image of the wicked in the next three verses.
Do not drag me off with the wicked,
with the workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors
while evil is in their hearts.
Give to them according to their work
and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord
or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and build them up no more (3-5, ESV).
It almost sounds as if David thinks of himself as collateral damage, that could be swept away with God’s destruction of the wicked. These workers of evil speak peace with their neighbors, while evil is in their hearts. How many people do you know like that? “Everything’s all right,” they say. “Don’t talk about that bad stuff.” But meanwhile their minds are full of evil thoughts and their hearts are full of evil feelings. Perhaps you’ve lived with an even worse kind of evil; the hypocrite who appears righteous at church and speaks pious-sounding words, but abuses his family and cheats his neighbor. God knows the evil hearts of these peace-speakers. David prays that God will give them according to their work and the evil of their deeds. Because they actually do not regard the Lord, God will tear them down and never build them up again.
After David prays for God to judge these evil men, his prayer takes a turn. Reminding himself of God’s judgment against the wicked has restored David’s confidence. He remembers all the ways he’s seen God in action on his behalf. Instead of appealing to a God who seems deaf and distant, David now extols the God who hears and answers prayer.
Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him (6-7, ESV).
Did God answer David’s request while he prayed? Perhaps. But I’m inclined to think that David is so confident of God’s response to his latest cry that speaks of it as already answered. His recalling God’s answers to previous prayers and God’s judgment of the wicked have lifted his spirit from the depths of despair to total trust. God has heard his pleas for mercy. The Lord is his strength and shield, equipping and protecting. When our hearts trust in God, we are helped. Our hearts exult and we sing praise and thanks to him. God is the strength of his people.
The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever (8-9, ESV).
We saw David worship, perhaps individually, in the first section of Psalm 28. But in this final section, David expands his personal faith to corporate expression. God is the strength of his people, the saving refuge of his anointed. He saves his people and blesses his heritage. God is our shepherd and carries us forever!
If you’re feeling as if God doesn’t hear your prayer today, pray through Psalm 28 with David. May you be reminded of all the ways God has delivered you in the past and have confidence of his certain rescue in the future. Remember that God is the God who hears and answers prayer. May you feel the Great Shepherd lift you in his arms and carry you forever!