Please, God, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me. May those who try to kill me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in You. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, “God is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my Helper and my Savior; O Lord, do not delay.
Psalm 71 O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free. Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors. O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long. And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing. For my enemies are whispering against me. They are plotting together to kill me. They say, “God has abandoned him. Let’s go and get him, for no one will help him now.” O God, don’t stay away. My God, please hurry to help me. Bring disgrace and destruction on my accusers. Humiliate and shame those who want to harm me. But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words. I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord. I will tell everyone that you alone are just. O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O my God. I will sing praises to you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel. I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me. I will tell about your righteous deeds all day long, for everyone who tried to hurt me has been shamed and humiliated.
David is on the run again; his enemies seek his life, and so David seeks the Lord in an impassioned prayer for God's help. Psalm 70 and 71 are combined in some ancient copies of the Psalm book. In some traditions, these two are read as a single psalm. Psalm 71 expands on the theme of Psalm 70: David faces problems in the present--and the future only seems to hold more of the same. The psalmist unburdens his heart to God--but he also expresses his confident trust in God's protection and faithfulness. David knew God would settle the score. Like impending storm clouds forming in the sky, David knew God's was going to deliver--he would just need to be patient and wait.
From V Raymond Edman:
"We have been told that God's disappointments are His appointments, that God's delays are not His denials; but do we believe what we hear? Delay, with its apparent destruction of all hope, can be a deep discipline to the soul that would serve the Lord Jesus. We live in restless, impatient days. We have little time for preparation, and less for meditation or worship. We feel we must be active, energetic, enthusiastic, and humanly effective; and we cannot understand why inactivity, weakness, weariness, and seeming uselessness should become our lot. It all appears to be so futile and foolish, without plan or purpose.
The discipline of delay is written large in the life of God's people, as we could observe in Abraham's long waiting for the son of promise, in Joseph's years in Egypt as victim of cruel circumstances, in Moses' long obscurity in the desert, in Hanna's empty home and aching heart, even in the silent years spent by our Lord Jesus in the narrow streets of Nazareth. We trace that discipline in a few lives whose experience we can compare with our own, for our learning and encouragement.
David knew this discipline. As a lad, caring for his father's sheep, he was anointed of Samuel to be king over Israel; but thereafter stretched years of delay, on the stony hillsides of Bethlehem, in the cave of Adullam whither he had been driven by the insane and unnecessary envy of Saul, until he fled to the fierce Philistines, more friendly than his own people. There he could say truly, ''I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel'' (Ps. 31:11,12). The delay seemed to be interminable and intolerable, but was indispensable in preparing David for his long career as king of his people, to which office he had been appointed many years before. Delay never thwarts God's purpose; rather, it polishes His instrument."
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