Psalm 28:1 (ESV)
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.
This verse amounts to saying “I cannot live without communion with my God”. And this should be the attitude of every believer. The thought that we might pray and God would close His ears to our prayers is a terrifying thought. Believers can be guilty of the worst kind of presumption. That of believing that no matter what, God is always there for us. Verses such as Hebrews 13:5 (“I will never leave you or forsake you”) will be quoted with great confidence, never taking into account that it is dealing with contentment.
The guaranteed presence of God in hearing our prayers, working for our good, and giving us everything we need is a great truth. But God is not our hand servant. He is the Ruler of all the created order and we are His by His sovereign choice. We are His children by a loving grace and it is always a privilege to be able to go to Him in prayer and make our requests known.
So, if this verse does not encourage presumption what should we take from it? What does it teach us? It teaches us that without Him we can do nothing. It teaches us that we are not the ones who provide anything for God. He provides for us. God chooses to use us to accomplish His purposes but let us never think that if we do not do what He calls us to do then His work will not get done.
This is a tremendous statement about the mercy of God. He loves us and that is demonstrated in His provision. If God does not listen to us and help us then we are completely without hope.
This text is a countermeasure to the all too prominent belief that we can do the small stuff and God will help us with the big; that God is there for us if we get into trouble but we can do fine otherwise. Make no mistake. David is calling here from a position of great trouble. But that does not mean that we only need God then.
Perhaps times of great trouble are the only times when we sense the need for God. But the One who sees the sparrow fall is the One who must put our daily bread on the table or it will not get there. We need to remember that we are heard by God because of the work of Christ on our behalf and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
David did not know of Christ and the Holy Spirit was not yet given, in his time, in the same way He has been in ours. How then could he be heard by God in his prayers? God honoured the faith of the Old Testament saints. Believing saints of the Old Testament were heard because of their faith. They believed in the Promise that God was working toward fulfilling, even though they did not know what it was. But they knew the sacrificial system was insufficient. They knew that a Messiah was promised. They knew God had something better in store for the future. Why were God’s ears not deaf to David’s pleas? The intercessory work of Jesus Christ and the promise of David’s sins being forgiven because of His faith. Jesus died for David’s sins.