The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. (vv 8-9)
Read this psalm backwards. By doing so you will discover a contrasting pattern to our human priorities. The psalmist praises the great glory of God, linking Him to shepherd of Psalm 23 and intercedes on behalf of God’s people similar to the cry in Psalm 25.
Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (vv 6-7)
The Lord is so good to His people, to those who trust Him. We are moved to ask, what have we to fear then? Is there a hint of doubt in the opening verses of this prayer? When we read from the beginning, the pleas of David mirror our own concerns that God might not hear us, that he might have turned away.
To you I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. (vv 1-2)
The plea is subtle but important. As David voices his wish to be heard by God, he does not doubt but rather, praises Him by saying that the absence of His voice alone is like being dragged to the pit. To say that we are nothing without the immediacy of God’s presence and His all encompassing holiness is praise of a better quality than some of the prom songs that we lift up to him on Sundays. Our foremost act of worship is to recognize hell as being His absence. Though there may have a time in our lives when we sought to escape Him, to know His closeness and then discover it gone is the worst imaginable fate.