Psalm 28 - Text, Context, Implication, Application

Text: Psalm 28:1-3 & 7-9

1 Of David. 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.
2 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.
3 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.
7 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.
8 The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.


Psalm 28 is, most likely, the third in a triplet of Psalms (Ps. 26-28) designed to be read together and to focus its reader on, first, the need for preservation in times of trouble and persecution and, second, the inevitable (through labored for) joy in the Person and Presence of God. Attributed to David, we may assume these Psalms were either written during or as a reflection on the troubled king’s first hand experience of such persecution as well as God’s ultimate deliverance: “he [the Lord] is the saving refuge of his anointed [i.e., ‘his king’ or ‘his messiah’]” (28:8).

Implication (Gospel):

Though we, as sinners, justly deserve to be “dragged off with the wicked” (v. 3) and to have God “be deaf to us” so that we “become like those who go down to the pit” (v. 1) [i.e., like those abandoned to the grave and to hell], yet in and through His Son, God himself has taken the punishment we deserve. Jesus was, as Luke 22:37 (quoting Isaiah 53:12) says, “Numbered with the transgressors.” In other words, Jesus himself was both literally and spiritually “dragged off with the wicked,” in our place and for our good.

Because of this, God the Father, who was once our judge and enemy, has instead become our “our strength and our shield” (v. 7). God has blessed his people precisely by saving his anointed, that is, not simply by saving David as the Psalm indicates but by saving the ultimate David, God’s true King, Jesus Christ. Jesus has become (not only a “shepherd) but our “Good Shepherd” and he will carry us (that is, love, provide, and transform us) forever.

Application (Gospel):

Because Jesus has taken the wrath that I deserve and “carried me” like a shepherd, I can bear with the sins of those around me, not only putting up with them and forgiving them, but serving them and even “carrying” them when their own mistakes cause them to stumble. Today I will look for ways to care for the people around me, especially when they mess up and don’t deserve it.

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