It’s not the conclusion that the world would expect. Add it all up, and those outside the kingdom wouldn’t understand the songwriter’s math. The cause and effect equation just would not compute for most. But for David it wasn’t as much about what was seen but what was unseen. His state of mind less dictated by the chaos created by the circumstance but formed more through the calm available by knowing who was in control. So even when his world was kind of crashing down around him, the psalmist could still extol God’s abundant goodness.
Don’t know exactly what was going on in David’s world that inspired Psalm 31, but there was a lot!
As David takes inventory in his song he recounts how he is getting hammered from all sides. He writes of great affliction from without and of an equally great distress of soul within (31:7). He is spent with sorrow, overwhelmed by sighing. His strength is failing as if his bones are wasting away(31:10). He’s a reproach to his neighbors and an object of dread to his acquaintances. When people see him on the street they walk in the opposite direction (31:11). Externally, his adversaries plot against him (31:13). Internally, the weight of the knowledge of his own iniquity crushes him (31:10). Add it up and we’re talking what seems to be an unbearable mess. But David goes to a different place.
Oh, how abundant is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You and worked for those who take refuge in You, in the sight of the children of mankind!
(Psalm 31:19 ESV)
Abundant goodness? Really? Yeah, really!
Not just about what was happening. But David takes stock of life’s reality in the greater of context of God’s immensity. His God was a God of refuge, thus David would own Him as rock and fortress (31:3-4). His God had proven Himself as unfailing redeemer and so David would commit his spirit into God’s faithful hands (31:5). He cried out to God, asking Him to incline His ear, because He knew that His God saw his affliction and was not unacquainted with his grief (31:7).
He could trust in His God during this trial because he had been “wondrously shown His steadfast love” in previous trials (31:21). David had known before that feeling of, seemingly, being cut off from the Almighty’s sight. But he also recalled how, in fact, heaven had heard and responded to his previous pleas for mercy and cries for help (31:22).
And so, it does add up. It does compute. We can “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2) because we know our Father has stored up abundant goodness for those who fear Him. We can “consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” because “nothing will separate us from the love of Christ” and that in “all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:18, 35-37).
Do the math and the result is always the same: abundant goodness!
Love the LORD, all you His saints! The LORD preserves the faithful . . . Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
(Psalm 31:23:a-24 ESV)
By His grace. For His glory.