Posted by: arieliondotcom | August 28, 2013

Tapping the Tank (Psalm 31)

Tapping the Tank (Psalm 31)

You know you’ve done it. Or at least you’ve wanted to. When you go to the petstore and walk by the fish tank aren’t you tempted to tap the glass to make the fish move? You’re not alone because that happens so often the management usually puts up a sign that says “Don’t tap the glass.” That’s not to keep you from harmless fun or from putting fingerprints on the glass. It’s because when you tap the glass you are terrifying the fish. They often die of the fright.

Psalm 31 is David’s description of his life being terrified by those around him. It’s like he is a fish and the devil is using the people around him to tap on the glass to try to frighten him to death.

David is hiding in the LORD like a fish hiding in the rocks in the middle of the tank. But he sees the net swoop by in the water scooping up others. He sees those who try to hide from trouble by trusting false gods, like fish trying to hide in the fake seaweed only to be defenseless.

Notice that David says to GOD that he hates those who trust in false gods. Isn’t he supposed to love everyone? We’ve all heard that saying “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” That’s not in the Bible by the way. But if we hate what someone does because GOD hates it there is nothing wrong with that. Our response, though, is to tell them that they are wrong. Today’s society says it’s more loving to let people die by a lie and not interfere. But that’s not true. Hate idolators and hate those who do it. Hate divorce because GOD hates it. See sexual sin as an abomination as GOD says it is. But treat those who do these things in love and tell them the truth, that GOD has something better. Hopefully you wouldn’t say “they were driving into a fire but that’s their right.” You would warn them and try to save their lives. In the same way it’s more loving to tell others what GOD says about what they’re doing than let them drive into hell. Only don’t expect them to love you for it. David mentions idol worshippers because when he tries to warn them they attack him. And the same will happen to you. Loving people is risky.

But back to the fish tank. Besides the idol worshippers, are David’s own sins and guilt. The devil uses David’s own anger to tap on the glass and his own sins to torment him. Others avoid him and those who don’t shun him plot to harm him. They lie about him and want to do him harm, thinking they’re better than him so they can treat him any way they like.

Tap, tap, tap…

Yet through it all David realizes he is safe in GOD. He is secure in the LORD Who rescues him. As so many other psalms say, David says that when he confessed his sins and asked GOD to save him he was rescued and saved. And, as we have seen in other psalms, this can apply to eternal salvation of the soul and not just circumstances.

But there’s something else about this psalm. Right there in the middle of the fish tank, so to speak, is a treasure chest containing two special verses. Verse 5 is actually a verse JESUS quotes from the Cross many years after David writes this psalm. After all the suffering JESUS did on the Cross to pay for our sins, when it was finished, He said “Father! Into Your Hands I commit My Spirit.” He didn’t have Life taken from Him but gave it up willingly after paying for ours with His own. No one killed JESUS. He willingly released His human life to buy eternal Life for us.

And the other verse is verse 15 where David says to GOD “My times are in Your Hand.”

Why would JESUS quote this psalm? We know the whole psalm doesn’t refer to Him because David confesses having sinned and we know JESUS had no sin. So what is the point?

JESUS bought you from the pet store tank. He quoted this psalm on the way out of this Life but it can also point us into new Life. When we recognize that He saved us from our sins in that moment we realize it is the answer to David’s prayer in this psalm. When we willingly give all we are into His Hands, body, soul and Spirit, the LORD puts us into His private tank, as it were. We are safe and, as verse 15 says our times. are in His Hands. We’re no longer frightened by the world, the flesh or the devil. We live as a display of GOD’s Glory for all to see as fish are meant to be in a home.

When we belong to GOD we can rest assured in Him that He cares for us. We can have courage, as David calls us to do in his closing verse, unafraid of the tapping of trouble because we trust in GOD.

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