Friday, January 7, 2011

Yahweh, God of Truth

Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
(Psalm 31:5)
Pursued and harassed, David looks to Yahweh, the God of Israel, as a “rock of refuge” and a “fortress of defense” to which he can run and be saved (v. 2 ). He knows that traps have been set for him and he calls on God to pluck him out of the net (v. 4). He has come to know Yahweh as the God of Truth.

“Into Your hand I commit my spirit.” The Hebrew word for “commit” means to give as a trust or deposit. There is an idea of stewardship here: David entrusts himself to God to watch over him, to keep him safe. The “hand” of God speaks of action, what God does. It is dynamic. David does not look to God to passively hold him but to actively keep him.

“You have redeemed me.” The word for “redeemed” means to ransom or rescue. The pictograph of the Hebrew letters in this word (Pe, Dalet, He) is interesting. It gives us the image of an open door (Benner, Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible). God “opens the door” for David so that he is no longer trapped but is set free.

The tense of this word is also interesting. The NKJV and many other translations render it in the past tense, as an accomplished fact. Other versions, such as the HCSB, have it as “You redeem me” (present), or as the NIV, as a petition, “Redeem me.” However, Keil and Delitzsch, in their Commentary on the Old Testament, note that it is “the praet. confidentiae [confident past tense] which is closely related to the praet. prophet. [prophetic past tense]; for the spirit of faith, like the spirit of the prophets, speaks of the future with historic certainty.” In other words, what David was asking God to do, he was so confident that God would do it, he considered it a “done deal!” Why? Because He was committing himself to Yahweh El Emet — Yahweh, God of Truth.

Now, notice how he contrasts this in the next verse. “I have hated those who regard useless idols” (v. 6). Many newer versions say “useless,” or “worthless” or “vain idols.” However, older versions, such as the KJV, the Jewish Publication Society Bible and Young’s Literal Translation say “lying vanities.” Keil and Delitzsch render it as “vain illusions.” This is a more literal translation of the Hebrew words, although the phrase was often used as a reference to idols. Everything that is not of God is a lying vanity that can very easily become an idol to us.

Notice also the word “regard.” The Hebrew word speaks of those who “guard” or “keep” or “watch over” something. David has no use for vain illusions. They have no power to watch over and keep him, but must be protected themselves. So David has no respect for those who guard such vanities and illusions. He reiterates his faith: “But I trust in the LORD.”

Yahweh is the God of Truth. He is true to Himself and true to His word. What He says is what He does and what He does is what He said He would do. We can always count on Him to keep His promises and we can entrust ourselves to Him in perfect confidence that He will take care of us in all things.