One of the most exciting aspects of the Christian life is the dynamic of answered prayer. A direct cause and effect exist between prayer offered on earth, and the answer given in heaven. A life of faith lives with the anticipation that God will answer prayer according to his perfect will. Faith believes that God will act in his perfect way.
In this psalm, treacherous men who sought to destroy God’s work endangered David. Once again he turned to the Lord, pleading for his divine judgment on the ungodly that showed no regard for God’s work.
As David waited on God to act, he was concerned that he does not share in that judgment but that God would set him apart from the wicked. In this dark hour, God remained David’s strength, his shield from all harm, and the shepherd of his soul, protecting and providing for him.
This is another psalm “of David,” the third companion psalm of a trio, Psalms 26 and 27 being the other two, which centers around God’s house and “the Most Holy Place.”
So the overall theme of this Psalm is to pray when we are surrounded by trouble or wickedness. God is our only real source of safety. Prayer is our best help when trials come our way because it keeps us in communion with God.
David Prays Against His Enemies
Psalm 28:1 CJB
Adonai, I am calling to you; my Rock, don’t be deaf to my cry. For if you answer me with silence, I will be like those who fall in a pit.
David is calling out to the Lord to answer him when he calls, the God, who vindicates him, to be gracious to him and hear his prayer.
“My Rock, don’t be deaf to my cry.” The Lord was his security. The word, “Rock” is a symbol of God, emphasizing His protecting and sheltering characteristics.
“For if you answer me with silence, I will be like those who fall in a pit.” If God were silent, giving the appearance that he did not hear his urgent pleas, he would be like those who had gone down to the pit (Heb. bor), a metaphor for death. In other words, if God failed to answer his prayer, David reasoned, his life would be no different from unbelievers who lived and died without divine deliverance.
Psalm 28:2 CJB
Hear the sound of my prayers when I cry to you when I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
I lift up my hands, is indicating that David is reaching out toward the holy sanctuary, symbolizing David’s dependence on God.
This Holy Sanctuary was the innermost part of the tabernacle that housed the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence. David desperately needed God’s help!
Psalm 28:3 CJB
Don’t drag me off with the wicked, with those whose deeds are evil; they speak words of peace to their fellowmen, but evil is in their hearts.
Here David asked God not to drag him away with the wicked in judgment. Those who did evil deserved divine punishment because, although they spoke cordially with their neighbors, giving the appearance of outward godliness, they actually harbored malice in their hearts. Thus, he asked not to be judged with hypocritical sinners.
Psalm 28:4-5 CJB
Pay them back for their deeds, as befits their evil acts; repay them for what they have done, give them what they deserve. For they don’t understand the deeds of Adonai or what he has done. He will break them down; he will not build them up.
Pleading for divine justice, David petitioned God, pay them back for their deeds, which are evil. This was a solemn imprecation calling for divine wrath exercised on his behalf. He asked God to bring upon them what they deserved—severe judgment. So vile were the works that they showed no regard for the actions of the LORD. Those who destroy God’s works will undoubtedly be destroyed.
Pretending friendship is easy. Wicked people often put on a show of kindness or friendship to gain their own ends. David, in his royal position, may have met many who pretended friendship only to meet their individual needs. David knew that God would punish these people eventually, but he prayed that their punishment would come swiftly. True believers should be straightforward and sincere in all their relationships.
David Blesses God
Psalm 28:6-7 CJB
Blessed be Adonai, for he heard my voice as I prayed for mercy. Adonai is my strength and shield; in him my heart trusted, and I have been helped. Therefore my heart is filled with joy, and I will sing praises to him.
Suddenly David’s mood shifted from most profound concern to the highest celebration without his circumstances change. Believing that God would do right, he anticipated God’s pardon.
This dramatic difference in David occurred as he realized that God had heard his cry for mercy. In him my heart trusted, and I have been helped.
The Lord was David’s strength and enabled him to endure throughout this crisis. Likewise, God was his shield, protecting him from the assaults of his enemies. His heart was filled with joy as he gave thanks to God for this help. Not just thoughts of thankfulness, but actually verbalizing praise are appropriate when God graciously intervenes in one’s life.
Psalm 28:8 CJB
Adonai is strength for [his people], a stronghold of salvation to his anointed.
God is the strength of his people who trust him, empowering them to persevere through every trial. Similarly, God is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed. What David experiences (vv. 6,7) is equally available to all of God’s people.
David Prays For The People
Psalm 28:9 CJB
Save your people! Bless your heritage! Shepherd them, and carry them forever!
David concluded this psalm by offering a personal intercession on behalf of the entire nation. Save your people from all their enemies, he pleaded, and bless your heritage, another reference to God’s people (Deut. 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51). He further appealed to God, their shepherd (Ps. 23:1; Mic. 5:4; 7:14), to carry them forever like a shepherd would carry his sheep.
The Lord is sufficient for the believer in every circumstance of life, even the most difficult trials. He helps his own with the fullness of his sustaining grace. When believers feel they are so weak that they can advance no further in God’s will, the Lord is an ever-present Shepherd who carries forward even the weakest of his sheep, saving them from harm. Let the redeemed call on God. He will not turn a deaf ear to them. Let them not remain silent toward God because one’s strength is shown in God’s mighty actions on behalf of his weak ones.
2 Corinthians 12:9 CJB
But he told me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is brought to perfection in weakness.” Therefore, I am very happy to boast about my weaknesses, in order that the Messiah’s power will rest upon me.