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Psalm 71

Jorine Johnson

1 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.

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.

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.

10 For my enemies speak concerning me;

    those who watch for my life consult together

11 and say, “God has forsaken him;

    pursue and seize him,

    for there is none to deliver him.”

12 O God, be not far from me;

    O my God, make haste to help me!

13 May my accusers be put to shame and consumed;

    with scorn and disgrace may they be covered

    who seek my hurt.

14 But I will hope continually

    and will praise you yet more and more.

15 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,

    of your deeds of salvation all the day,

    for their number is past my knowledge.

16 With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;

    I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.

17 O God, from my youth you have taught me,

    and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.

18 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.

19 Your righteousness, O God,

    reaches the high heavens.

You who have done great things,

    O God, who is like you?

20 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.

21 You will increase my greatness

    and comfort me again.

22 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.

23 My lips will shout for joy,

    when I sing praises to you;

    my soul also, which you have redeemed.

24 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.

The Psalmist looks to the Lord as their refuge, strength, and hope in times of trouble. He calls out to God several times when he is afflicted and in need. There are characteristics that the Psalmist describes and ascribes to God in verses 1-5 such as God as his refuge, deliverer, rock, fortress, rescuer, and our great hope in times of trouble. The Psalmist describes the difficulties and problems he faces especially in the face of opposition, those that mock his faith in the Lord, those that scorn and slander, and in the face of wicked people that commit acts of injustice. Verses 9-13 explain and deepen the opposition and trials that the Psalmist experiences at the hands of wicked people. But the Psalmist looks to the Lord as his place of safety and dwelling, that no fear would come upon him.

In verses 6-8, he praises God and demonstrates his gratitude for God for all the Lord does. In verse 6, it is interesting that the Psalmist says, "Upon you I have leaned from before my birth” which is strange since how can a person trust in the Lord before they are born. But I think the psalmist means that even in their mother’s womb they are still dependent upon the Lord for sustenance and depending on the Lord for survival. And that is the reason for continuos praise for every human being that owes their existence upon God. 

From the negative experiences the Psalmist explains in verses 9-13, he resolves to bring praise to God and look to the Lord for deliverance in verses 14-24. In verse 14, the Psalmist uses ‘but’ to show the contrast of his situation and the Lord’s deliverance and hope in his life. The works of God are wondrous and mighty, the heights of his righteousness is innumerable (designated as the height of the heavens), and that is the reason to keep praising God, speaking of who He is all day, and shouting for joy. Truly it is great to worship, praise God, and give Him all that He is for rescuing us in our deepest of our troubles.

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