God Answers Prayer

Psalm 28

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 28


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said, "If my words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like, and it will come true for you". (John 15:7 in J B Phillips translation)

Psalm 28

  (This is a psalm) of David

v1   LORD, you are my rock. I am praying to you for help.
  Do not turn your ears away from me.
  If you hide your answer from me,
  I will be as those people that go down into the pit.

v2   Hear my voice when I pray for mercy.
  I am asking you for help.
  I am lifting up my hands towards your most holy place.

v3   Do not drag me away with godless people,
  or with people that have done very bad things.
  They say kind words to their friends
  but plan to do wrong things.

v4   Give them what is fair for what they did
  and for the bad things that they have done.
  Pay them for the work of their hands
  and bring back justice upon them.

v5   (Do it) because they do not understand
  the things that the LORD has done,
  or the work of his hands.
  He will tear them down,
  he will not build them up again.

v6   I say that the LORD does good things,
  because he heard my voice when I prayed for mercy.

v7   The LORD makes me strong. He is my shield.
  My heart trusts in him and he gives me help.
  Now my heart jumps for joy and I will thank him with my songs.

v8   The LORD makes (his people) strong.
  He is a safe and strong place for his Messiah.

v9   Save your people and do good things for your inheritance.
  Be the shepherd of (your people) and always lift them up.

Word list

 ( ) . . these words are not in the Hebrew Bible

prayer ~ words that you say to God

LORD ~ a special name for God; only his people use it

mercy ~ being kind to bad people

holy ~ very, very good; only God is really holy

drag ~ pull in a way that is not kind

godless ~ people that do not obey God

justice ~ when right is the winner and not wrong

shield ~ something soldiers used; when it covered them nothing hit them

trust ~believe that someone cares for you

joy ~ when we feel happy deep inside us

Messiah ~ a special servant of God; Jesus was the true Messiah

inheritance ~ what our parents give us when they die

The Story of Psalm 28

We do not know when David wrote Psalm 28. The end of the psalm tells us that there was danger for the whole country. Verse 8 is about the Messiah. In the time of David this was the king. Later it meant God's special servant and last of all Jesus. At the time of David , if God gave help to the Messiah it meant that he gave help to the whole country. In verses 1-5 David prays for help. In verses 6-9 he thanks God for giving him and his people help. Perhaps the danger was fighting other countries; perhaps it was illness in many homes. Whatever it was, God answered David's prayer. He gave help to David and to his people.

What Psalm 28 means

There are some key words in Psalm 28. A key word is the most important word. A key opens a locked door. A key word opens understanding. The key words are:

    verse 1 ~ from me

    verses 2, 6 ~ the sound of my prayers

    verses 3 - 5 ~ hands

    verses 4, 5 ~ work of their/his hands

Verse 1: "Rock" is a name for God. You will find it in Psalm 18:2 and in other psalms. It means that God is a place where people can hide and be safe. Twice David says "from me". He felt that God was looking away from him. This makes us think of Psalm 22:1, "My God, why have you left me by myself? Why is my help far away?" David thinks that he will go down into the pit. The pit is where the Jews believed that very bad people went when they died.

Verse 2: When they prayed, Jews often lifted their hands up to God. This meant that they were lifting themselves to God. It also meant that they had nothing to hide. Christians do the same. Paul wrote, "I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands". (1 Timothy 2:8) The most holy place was part of God's house. There God spoke to the leader of the people.

Verse 3: "Drag" is what they did to bad people. They dragged them to the place where they would kill them. In the psalm, the people were bad because they did not obey God. They were godless.

Verse 4: These people made bad plans. God can make these bad plans hurt the people that made them. "The work of their hands" means the things that people do. In verse 4 the people did bad things with their hands.

Verse 5: Here we read of "the work of his hands". This means the good things that God did. The word "God" is not in Psalm 28. David uses the word "LORD". That is the word that the people of God use for him. It means that they are his servants. And they love him and they obey him. It also means that they have begun to understand God. The godless do not understand God. It means that they do not love him or obey him. In the end God will destroy what they do ("the works of their hands").

Verse 6: The psalm changes here. David has stopped asking for help. This is because God has given him and his people help. Look in verses 2 and 6. You will find the same words in them, "my voice when I prayed for mercy". In verse 2 David makes the prayer, but here he says that the LORD has heard his prayer. In the Hebrew, this also means that he has answered the prayer. The word "mercy" is a special Christian word. It means that God is kind to people that he really should punish or hurt. Only the Christian God does this.

Verse 7: In the Bible the heart means the place where you think. To jump for joy means that you are very, very happy.

Verse 8: The Hebrew says "the LORD makes them strong". "Them" must mean the people that David is king over. The Messiah when David wrote the psalm was David himself, the king. To Christians, the Messiah is Jesus.

Verse 9: "Your inheritance" here means "your people". "Be the shepherd" gives us help to remember that Jesus (LORD in the psalm) is the good shepherd. "Lift them up" may mean "carry them" or it may mean "make them great".

Something to do

Learn to say verse 8 by heart. This means that you can say it without looking at the words.


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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