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”. David calls out to God and he he cannot live if God is silent toward him. 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. That Hebrews 13:5 ( I will never leave you nor forsake you) can be quoted with great confidence while remaining ignorant of texts such as I Peter 3:7 and Psalm 66:18 is tragically sad.
The guaranteed presence of God in hearing our prayers, working for our good, and giving us everything we need is an awe inspiring truth that should humble us every time we bow to pray (You do bow don’t you?).
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 at least these two great truths: 1) that without Him we can do nothing. Prayer is a statement that we need God to act on our behalf. It is a recognition of utter dependence upon God. 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 in the tough times. 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 tells us to pray for our daily bread. We thank God for our food before we eat it because if not for His work in getting that food to our table we would not have it there. We are told to pray without ceasing at least in part, because we are unceasingly in need for God to act on our behalf.
2) 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. Jesus Christ is the Way to God. He is our Great High Priest who ever lives to intercede for us. It took the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to enable us to pray.
But David did not know of Christ and the Holy Spirit was not yet given, in his time, in the same way as 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.