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Psalm 31:7

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Psalm 31:7, ‘I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul…’


This Psalm is written from the depths of affliction. Though v.8 presents YHWH’s salvation in the past tense, it is a past tense of David’s faith, not yet of his experience. He knows—because he has seen it in the Exodus (c.f., Exodus 3:7-8)—that YHWH will never abandon those who cast themselves in dependence upon Him….and yet—even as David writes these words—the bones of his soul shatter under a weight of affliction.

What is his refuge in this dark night? Yes, the sure hope that YHWH will not abandon him…but there is something else in this text, namely, the SEEING and KNOWING of the Lord. The moment of salvation is still in the future, but right now, in this moment, in this darkness, in this despair, *right here* the Lord God Himself SEES and KNOWS David’s affliction with a seeing of steadfast love, and a knowing of unshakable faithfulness…

Just as beams of sunlight may break through and warm one’s face even in a cloud-covered winter’s day…so too the beam of YHWH’s intimate knowledge of His people’s affliction is—even in that affliction—a refuge, a comfort, a source of joy.

But we must say more, because YHWH does not merely remain a spectator…He sees and knows His people’s suffering of His people’s suffering *from the inside*…We know this because, ultimately, this Psalm is not David’s, it is Christ’s. Yes, when David writes of the affliction that wastes his own soul in grief, the Spirit of Christ in him is writing of that affliction (the sufferings of the Bride across time and space) that the Beloved Son bears in Himself from the foundation of the world…

Ultimately, it will be our Lord and God Himself who endures the shattering weight of affliction due our sin (v.10). Yes, by His redemptive agonies, the forsakenness of our affliction is embraced by the arms of His awareness, the wounds of our grief are made to flow with the very wine of blessedness, and every thorn of our affliction will be made to bloom with the flowers of His glory and the fruits of our everlasting joy.