PSALM 71.

Prayer of an Aged Believer for Godís Assistance.

PRAYER FOR DELIVERANCE. ó V. 1. In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust, resting secure in Jehovahís care; let me never be put to confusion, to become the laughing-stock of the enemies on account of his trust in Jehovah. V. 2. Deliver me in Thy righteousness, by which Jehovah keeps the gracious promise made to those who believe in Him, and cause me to escape, granting him freedom from all harm; incline Thine ear unto me, in close and merciful attention, and save me, as his Savior from all temporal and spiritual dangers. V. 3. Be Thou my strong habitation, literally, ďa rock of dwelling,Ē where one may live in the utmost security, whereunto I may continually resort, going there in calm trust whenever the need seems to demand it. Thou hast given commandment to save me, ordaining the salvation of all His believers; for Thou art my Rock and my Fortress, his Tower on the heights, inaccessible to the enemies. Cp. Ps. 31, 1-3. V. 4. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, granting him freedom from him who would wickedly oppress him, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man, the one employing injustice and violence in his dealing with others. V. 5. For Thou Art my Hope, O Lord God, the All-powerful, Jehovah; Thou art my Trust from my youth, the firm foundation of the believerís confidence during his whole life. V. 6. By Thee have I been Holden up from the womb, kept and sustained ever since his birth; Thou art He that took me out of my motherís bowels, protecting him, providing for him, granting him rich benefits throughout his life. My praise shall be continually of Thee, for the experiences of the past were a guarantee for the future. V. 7. I am as a wonder, a sign of the grace and protection of God, unto many, who find it impossible to believe the marvelous ways of the Lord in keeping His saints: but Thou art my strong Refuge, His almighty power warding off everything that might have brought real disaster to the believer. Cp. Ps. 22, 8-10. V. 8. Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise and with Thy honor, with statements giving all honor to God alone, all the day. V. 9. Cast me not off in the time of old age, for the faithfulness and kindness of God in youth and early manhood gives the believer courage to ask for His assistance in the declining years; forsake me not when my strength faileth, when the gradual dwindling of the vigor of maturity heralds the coming of death. V. 10. For mine enemies speak against me, taking new courage now that the believer has lost his youthful power and energy; and they that lay wait for my soul, eagerly watching for his destruction, take counsel together, v. 11. saying, God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him, for there is none to deliver him. The enemies of both body and soul make new efforts at the time when old age lays its hand upon the believer, their object being to get the faithful into their power. Therefore his cry must sound forth again and again, v. 12. O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste for my help. Cp. Ps. 22, 11; 35, 4. 26; 38, 21. 22; 40, 13. 14. In this way the confident, persistent prayer of the believers, clinging to Him as His dear children, rises to the throne of grace, demanding the fulfillment of the Lordís promises.

WARNING AND THANKSGIVING. ó V. 13. Let them be confounded and consumed, heaped with disgrace and delivered to utter ruin, that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered, completely enveloped, with reproach and dishonor that seek my hurt, endeavoring to carry their wickedness into practise at every opportunity. V. 14. But I, in spite of such wicked counsels, will hope continually and will yet praise Thee more and more, knowing that there will be further occasion for expressing his thanksgiving. V. 15. My mouth shall show forth Thy righteousness and Thy salvation all the day, v. 2; for I know not the numbers thereof; the manifestations of Godís attributes are so innumerable that one cannot keep count, and therefore the material for the praise of God is inexhaustible. V. 16. I will go in the strength of the Lord God, come forward with His mighty deeds, try to perform the impossible in enumerating them; I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only, joyfully confessing it everywhere and upon all occasions. V. 17. O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth, namely, in His ways, as they agree with His holy will; and hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works, namely, of the guidance of God in his whole life. V. 18. Now also, when I am old and gray-headed, showing the effects of old age in his appearance, O God, forsake me not, until I have showed Thy strength, the arm of the Lord, as the symbol of His almighty power and deeds, unto this generation and Thy power to every one that is to come, publishing the mighty works of Jehovah to all whom his voice may reach. V. 19. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, reaching even to the height of heaven, the highest point of creation, who hast done great things, which the psalmist feels constrained to proclaim even now. O God, who is like unto Thee? The God of Israel, the supreme God, is exalted in righteousness and might over all the universe. V. 20. Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, by having him see and experience affliction and tribulation, shalt quicken me again, rather, ďrevive us again,Ē for the poet now includes the entire congregation in his hymn of praise, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth, the abysses of earth standing for threatening ruin. V. 21. Thou shalt increase my greatness, the prominence and authority of the psalmistís office in the kingdom, and comfort me on every side, chiefly by justifying him before the enemies. V. 22. I will also praise Thee with the psaltery, the lutelike instrument used to accompany singing, even Thy truth, O my God, the faithfulness with which the Lord keeps His promises; unto Thee will I sing with the harp, with the zither of David, O Thou Holy One of Israel. V. 23. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto Thee, composing and declaiming psalms in His honor; and my soul, which Thou hast redeemed, the deliverance from the troubles of this present life being the believerís guarantee of his final redemption. V. 24. My tongue also shall talk of Thy righteousness all the day long, v. 15; for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt. That is the proper spirit of prayer, to anticipate the Lordís favorable answer and to praise Him in advance for all His blessings.