What Luther Discovered in Psalm 31 - The Happiest Day of His Life!!!
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. 2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. 3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. 4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
What is significant about this Psalm is that it is one of the most often quoted Psalm in other significant bible passages. Jonah quotes Psalm 31:6 in the belly of the whale. Jeremiah quoted Psalm 31:13, six times in his prophetic writings. Paul quoted Psalm 31:24 in 1 Corinthians 16:13. Most notably Psalm 31:5 is quoted by Jesus on the cross as his final words before he yielded his life.
The great Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther, as he was teaching verse by verse through the Psalms at the University of Wittenberg, came across 31:1 and was confused. He was taught that the righteousness of God could only condemn someone, because we are unrighteous sinners. But as he meditated on it he came upon Romans 1:16-17, where Paul says, "For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness that comes by faith. For as it is written the righteous shall live by faith."
Luther said of this experience: “I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise . . . This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven.” Martin Luther was born again, and the reformation began in his heart. One great Lutheran scholar said this was “The happiest day in Luther’s life."
As we can see once again today, the Psalms are a basis for a lot of the other passages, and many of our beliefs are based on them. This is why it is so good for us to meditate on the Psalms.