We do not know anything about the background to Psalm 28, and there are no clues given within the text. It would appear that it is a song written during a trial in David’s life, most likely a trial brought about by evil men. As always, David writes a song during this dark time of his life.
A cry for deliverance (v. 1-2)
David begins this song with a cry for God to hear his prayer and deliver him. There are several things of note about his prayer. First, he goes to the Lord with his problems. He knows that God is his stability and strength in all the up and downs of life. Second, he acknowledges that God is his only hope. If God does not intervene, there is nothing that David can do. This is the reality of our lives. The third thing we see is that emotion is a good part of worship. David cries, pleas, and lifts up his hands. Obviously emotion alone does not constitute worship. However, we are to worship God with the entirety of our beings. This includes physical actions like the lifting up of hands and our emotions.
The state of the wicked (v. 3-5)
David now draws a stark contrast between himself and the wicked. He is desires a separation from them like Moses warning the congregation to separate themselves from Dathan and Korah (Numbers 16.) David also gives us several insights into the state of the wicked. First, they are hypocrites. We are so accustomed to thinking of wickedness in all its evil that we rarely consider that the most evil of people cover their evil with peaceful words. We must learn to hate hypocrisy within our own lives and see through empty facades. The second thing David teaches us is that wickedness has its own natural punishment. God’s law is ingrained within His creation. Just as the laws of physics are fixed, so are God’s moral laws. God in His mercy may withhold the natural consequences of sin, but the natural consequences of sin are there. What you sow, you will reap. Third, the wicked do not consider God and His works. They live lives for themselves not considering the God Who created them. Lastly, God is personally opposed to the wicked. We often speak of God not throwing people into hell; they chose that for themselves. Although there is some truth to the latter, the former is not completely true. God personally opposes the wicked. To sin is to stand in personal opposition to God.
Praise to the Lord (v. 6-7)
As David goes through his trials he cannot help himself, he must sing God’s praises. When he thinks of how God has heard his prayers, strengthened him, protected him, and helped him he cannot be silent. Christians should be a singing people. It should be something that we cannot help. We must constantly be rehearsing the goodness of God and singing His praises. This is what helps us through the greatest trials of our lives.
A Prayer for God’s People (v. 8-9)
Although David is personally facing a difficulty he once again turns his focus away from himself. He begins to pray for the people of God. We must be others focused in our lives. We must not allow the trials of our personal lives to cloud our view and blind us to the struggles of others. We must be a church that prays for and helps the people of God.
Are you looking to Christ in life’s ups and downs?