Psalm 71 – Be My Rock of Refuge

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Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God,

till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

(Psalm 70:17-18)

This prayer issues from a psalmist who finds himself on the back side of his journey and who is looking over his shoulder at those who are just taking their first footsteps on the path of the God follower. The elder knows that his enemies will mistakenly see him as vulnerable and weak because of his advanced age but he is also aware that they do not see God’s hand on his life. The psalmist pleas for Yahweh’s continued shield over him to serve as both protection and a revelation of the divine presence that surrounds him.

Balancing the petition for rebuff of the enemy is the psalmist’s continued praise and attribution of glory to the Lord. The praise emanates from deeper than the surface; despite the struggles that God has allowed in his life, the psalmists insists that God is fully and wholly good.

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,

you who have done great things.

Who, O God, is like you?

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again;

from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. (vv 19-20)

Oh, that we would continue to praise God despite our circumstance! Though we might might be long in years or just placing our foot onto the path, to know, really know, that despite the roadblocks, snares, and setbacks that God is with us and to praise him is our greatest calling. We cannot be fooled by our eyes or other senses, God is good and worthy of our praise in every moment. Will my lips close for the final time with this prayer on them?

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I who you have redeemed.

My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long,

for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion. (vv 23-24)

Grace and Peace to you.

image by Luke Scowen

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