Psalm 31: 1 – 2 ~ In You, Oh Lord, I, put my trust. Let me never be ashamed. Deliver me in YOUR righteousness. Bow down your ear to me, deliver me speedily. Be my rock of refuge; a fortress of defense to save me.
I have learned in my ongoing sanctifying walk with the Lord that vulnerability leads to healing. There is a song I love to sing that says “Here I am again, willing to be opened up and broken, like a flower in the rain. Tell me what I have to do to die and then be raised. To reach beyond the pain; like a flower in the rain.”
It's scary to be open and vulnerable in today’s society. Image is everything…or so we are told from all types of media. And if we are open and vulnerable to the wrong people, we become a source of gossip and finger pointing.
But if open and broken vulnerability is what God calls for, what are we to do?
Psalm 31 tells us exactly what to do. Go to Him! Let me share what God showed me years ago as I was struggling with being vulnerable.
First, look at these words in our verse… ‘Bow down your ear to me’. I can ask God to bow down His ear to me so that I can WHISPER into it my NEEDS and share with Him IN PRIVATE the things that shackle me with shame or burden me with guilt. I can do this WITHOUT FEAR and in complete trust.
The image it gives me is one of a small child who is in trouble, has made a mistake or is in need of help and her father, who towers over he, is by her side. She looks up and motions for him to come down to her so she can whisper in his ear. The father kneels down so his ear is close enough for her TO WHISPER PRIVATELY, WITHOUT FEAR. She can confess anything to him privately without fear of judgement. Why? Because they have a relationship that assures her that he will not judge or condemn her. They have a father / daughter relationship of unconditional love.
After she confesses her heart to him, he reaches out to draw her near, whispers something back, something that makes her smile, and hugs her tightly. The child has found her rock, her refuge, her fortress of defense.
THIS IS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.
Our verse tells us that we are never to be ashamed as we ask Him to bow down His ear to us. How can this be? The things I confess into His ear are often heartbreaking for me to think about. From choices I have made before accepting Him, to personal sins I struggle with in my sanctifying walk, how can I not be ashamed? And then there are the consequences of my life being tangled up in the sins of others, like sexual abuse, that can leave deep scars of shame. How can I not be ashamed as I whisper these things into His ear.
The answer is in the part of the verse that says “deliver me in YOUR righteousness”. I must embrace the gift given to me on the cross. For years I walked as one who was saved but never claimed the righteousness of Christ that salvation brought me. My shame was too great and the enemy did all he could to keep me shackled to that shame.
But God speaks to those shackles when He says we are to be DELIVERED in His righteousness. The first definition of deliver in the Webster dictionary is ‘set free’!
WE ARE ‘SET FREE’ IN GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.
All we have to do is seek Him…
ASK HIM TO BOW DOWN HIS EAR THAT WE MAY CONFESS AND THEN CLAIM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
This righteousness is secured in the blood of Christ as evidenced in Romans 4: 22 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” It doesn’t say….to all who have done nothing wrong and believe. It doesn’t say…to all who have never been tangled up in the consequences of their sin or the sins of others. NO….God says His righteousness is given to every single one of us who believe in Him…no strings or baggage attached!
Once claimed, we are like that child standing in the shadow of her father. Not only can she ask him to bow down so she can whisper concerns and confessions into his ear, she knows he is there to protect and take care of her.
And so we come to the end of our featured verse. Be my rock of refuge; a fortress of defense to save me.
When we understand that the definition of a fortress is a strong fort and a fort is a permanent army post, we understand the image of security and protection God offers. GOD IS MY PERMANENT strong post of defense. I can trust Him to always be there. He isn't there sometimes and gone other times. There is nothing I can do to scare Him away! Even when I may stray from His side; even if I have never known Him in a personal way…HE IS THERE.
He is permanent,. He is Faithful in His affection and promises.
So, what are you holding onto…what is between you and the one who desires an intimate relationship with you?
Maybe you have been keeping him at arm’s length…He is here and desires to be close to you.
Maybe you are holding onto THE GUILT OF A PERSONAL SIN or shackled with the shame of the consequences of others sins…He is here and desires to set you free.
Maybe you have never claimed the righteousness given to your through the blood of Christ…He is here and DESIRES TO SEE YOU CLAIM what he came to give.
In You, Oh Lord, I put my trust. Let me never be ashamed. Deliver me (set me free from the shackles of shame and burdens of guilt) set me free…in YOUR righteousness. (a righteousness that I can claim because I believe that the blood of Christ was shed for me to cover my sin). Bow down your ear to me (come close Father…I need to whisper something in your ear without fear of being ridiculed or made to feel ashamed)....deliver me speedily. (set me free just as quickly as I confess or share with you the burden I carry). Be my rock of refuge. A fortress of defense to save me. (Be that permanent place of strength and refuge…that permanent place where I can draw near to you and You draw near to me…) Amen.
The rest of the story… as I learned to trust God and ask Him to bow down His ear to me, He also brought people into my life that I could trust to be vulnerable with in a healthy way. Seek God today and ask Him to bring those people into your life so that you can be opened up and broken and the healing can begin.
For more encouraging words on vulnerability, visit Heart Reflections (click here!)