As always, here’s my fairly literal translation of these verses:
5Into Your hand I entrust my spirit. You have ransomed me, Lord God of truth.
This, we all know, is the verse Jesus quoted from the Cross, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” For Him and at that time, they were of course dying words. Down through the centuries they have been the dying words of many, many of God’s people. What a priceless privilege we enjoy that, even as we hang for a few last seconds between time and eternity, we can be calm, contented, hopeful people, entrusting our very souls to our faithful God.
But, on the other hand, when that moment comes it isn’t some strange new experience for us, nor was it for Jesus. Peter tells us that, “When He was insulted, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats.” And why? “Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (I Peter 2:23). In fact, these words are the very essence of faith itself, “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” All day every day, to walk by faith is to commit to Him ourselves, our lives, our families, our finances, even the outcome of whatever it is we need to trust Him for. This quote becomes dying words to those who have long been living them. Lord, help us to live these words today, that they might be our dying words tomorrow.
As I’ve been studying this verse, I have become more and more convinced all of this is the importance of the second half of the verse, “You have ransomed me, Lord God of truth.” The word translated “ransomed” is basically a synonym for the word “redeemed.” These words remind us that the very beginning of our relationship with God is that He redeemed us. He paid the ransom to free us from sin and hell. His name of course is Jesus – “for He shall save His people from their sins.” And so that is who we are – redeemed people. Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The God to whom David is praying and to whom we would pray the words of this Psalm is none other than our great Redeemer. Our very relationship with Him starts with Him showering His great and gracious love on us.
Some translations make this an imperative, “Redeem me, O Lord God of truth,” and that certainly is an option. However, the word they translate “redeem” (which is more literally “ransom”) is in the Hebrew perfect tense, which would more naturally be translated as past tense, so I have it as “You have ransomed me …” In the Hebrew picture-painting, story-telling, practical kind of thinking, it probably doesn’t make any difference, but, once again, I’m trying to translate things in their most basic sense first, then see if there is a good reason to resort to the options which are possible, though less basic.
Finally David addresses Him as “Lord God of truth.” Once again, in the Hebrew picture-painting, story-telling, practical kind of thinking, this simple appellation takes on a universe of meaning. David is addressing the Lord as “Lord God of truth” as part of his prayer, “Into Your hands I commend my spirit. You have ransomed me Lord God of truth.” God is truth. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” The only reason faith is even possible is because God is truth. He is who He says is. He will do what He said He’d do. His words are to us “very great and precious promises.” The writer of Hebrews says we can trust Him because “it is impossible for God to lie” and that “we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (6:17-20).
If David is thinking along these lines, we could translate his words as “Lord God of faithfulness.” I suspect that is in fact his idea. We can commend to Him our spirits precisely because He is the One who has ransomed us and because He is our faithful God. He is truth, and at times like these, that truth comes to our hearts as faithfulness.
Knowing our faithful God, we could talk at length how important it is for us to be faithful too. We all can have “faith” precisely because God is faithful. Other people should be able to have faith in us as well because they find us faithful or, another way of saying it, dependable. We too should do what we said we’d do, be who we said we’d be. We of course can never be as faithful as God, but our own dependability ought to be high on our list.
The old people used to often say, “My word is my bond.” They meant by that “My word binds me.” They meant that whatever they said, you could count on. It’s interesting that, as this country has lost its grip on God, it’s also lost this resolve to be faithful ourselves. That is too bad, as we all depend heavily on each other in a million different ways. But, while you and I can’t change a whole country, we can ask the Lord to help us be different, to be people whose “word is our bond.”
Back to our Psalm, may the Lord today give us grace to honestly commend our very lives to Him, to remember the great work of Redemption He’s already carried out for us, and to trust completely in His faithfulness.
Too many people don’t have a God to trust.
But we do.