>Covenantal Faithfulness – Psalm 71

>Psalm 71, the next in this series of meditations, is amazingly appropriate for my family right now. Some of us are dealing with extremely difficult situations to which this Psalm aptly speaks.

The Psalm, whose subheading is “Forsake Me Not When My Strength Is Spent,” speaks of God as our rock and fortress and seeks His deliverance and rescue:

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress (1-3).

Please note: God has already given the “command to save.” His deliverance is sure. He is our rock that is higher than the strife of battle. He is our fortress that cannot be breached.

In his plea for rescue from ungodly men, the Psalmist acknowledges God as his hope and trust from a young age:

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,

from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you (4-6).

Even though the Psalmist has been despised by many, God has been his refuge throughout his life and will continue to be his refuge into old age. He begs God not to desert him when he is weak:

I have been as a portent to many,

but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent (7-9).

His enemies plot against him and believe that no one will rescue him (10-11), but the Psalmist puts his hope in the Lord. He pleads with God to rescue him quickly, and he makes a commitment to praise the Almighty God who alone is righteous:

O God, be not far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone (12, 14-16).

The Psalmist then expresses the beauty of God’s covenant faithfulness and promises to continue proclaiming God’s greatness to the next generation:

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come (17-18).

God’s righteousness and his marvelous works are without equal:

Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you? (19)

The Psalmist trusts God to bring him through this difficulty because He has been faithful through many afflictions, equipping him not merely to survive, but to revive:

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again (20-21).

The Psalmist pledges to use all the talents God has given him to praise Him and daily proclaim His great salvation:

I will also praise you with the harp

for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed
who sought to do me hurt (22-24).

I cannot play the harp or lyre, but I can sing, shout, and speak. And I can write. May each of us use whatever gifts God has given us to praise Him and convey His great faithfulness!

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