Psalms 70–72 together stress the importance of possessing a faith that is confident in calling upon God at any time, growing and developing through a life of faithfulness, and always centered where it should be—in the eternal God and His Son, Jesus Christ, our King.
Walking With God Through Life
I’ve mentioned in the past that the book of Psalms was originally organized into five books; and today we come to the end of Book Two with Psalms 70 through 72.
Psalm 70 is a brief song—only five verses long. It’s nearly identical to a portion of Psalm 40, so you might wonder why King David, the composer, would repeat lyrics that have already been written down. Well, it seems David’s intent is “to stress the urgency of the [matter here] and highlight the need for God to hurry to his defense.”
There are times when prayer is an urgent matter—like when Peter started to slip under the waves on the Sea of Galilee as he walked on the water toward Jesus. When he started going under, his prayer was pretty short: “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30). And that was good enough. He didn’t have to repeat the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed to get the Lord’s attention.
God is not impressed with the length of our prayers; He’s concerned with the depth of our prayers—the sincerity of our heart before the Lord.
Now the superscription, the heading, for Psalm 70 says that this psalm is “for the memorial offering.” At the heart of this psalm is the importance of remembering God’s faithfulness.
David begins by urging the Lord to rescue him once again. He says in verse 1, “Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!” Have you ever prayed a prayer that basically asked the Lord to hurry? Well, David is doing that here. He says in verse 5, “O Lord, do not delay!”
He’s saying, “Hurry up, Lord. I’ve got an emergency situation here, and I need You to step in.” Maybe you are there right now, and you are singing this psalm today—“Lord, I need an answer and You had better hurry because I’m in deep trouble!”
David is urgent in his request, but don’t miss the fact that he is also confident. He knows the Lord will deliver him at just the right time.
Maybe you can identify with David’s sense of urgency here, and maybe you will be challenged as well with David’s motive for praying as he wraps up this song. He says here in verse 4, “May those who love your salvation say evermore, ‘God is great!’”
Essentially, here is what David is communicating: “It seems like God is running behind schedule—that something has delayed His hand. But I know in my heart that God is great; He is all-powerful, and He always arrives on time.”
Psalm 71 addresses a relationship with the Lord that isn’t put to the test just in some emergency situation but over the course of a lifetime. The anonymous composer of this psalm writes here in verse 9, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.”
And in verses 17-18 he writes:
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.
If you put the truths of Psalms 70 and 71 together, you will have a solid trust in the Lord. He is going to be sufficient for you when you are in the emergency room, and He is going to walk with you all the way to the funeral home. He will shepherd you all along the way.
Two men gave their testimony at a church meeting some time ago. The first man stood and said that he had lived a long, wicked life and hated God. But then, he said, “Just a few years ago, the Lord saved me. He forgave my guilt and cleansed my life. Today my life is transformed. I wish to bear witness to the power of God to save even such a wretch as I was.”
The second man stood and gave a very different testimony. He said, “I was born into a Christian home. My earliest memory is of my mother rocking me to sleep singing: ‘Jesus loves me this I know.’ I was taught the truth of God at my mother’s knee and around my father’s table. I accepted the Lord when I was ten and I have never turned my back on Him. . . . Now as an old man of seventy I can say that for sixty years I have been kept in ‘the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.’ Our brother has told you of the grace of God that saves! I testify to the grace of God that saves and keeps!”
That’s the testimony of the psalmist: from his earliest years to his senior years, God has been faithful to him.
So, what is the psalmist going to do in response? Well, he writes out a fresh commitment here in verse 18, declaring that he wants to proclaim God’s might, His power, to “all those to come.” He wants to impact the next generation for the glory of God.
Frankly, I must say, it’s hard to get older people in the church to volunteer to serve, whether it’s in the nursery or teaching children in Sunday school or mentoring young mothers. Seniors can be tempted to settle for solitude and letting younger, more energetic people carry the load.
Not this psalmist. He is saying, “Lord, I’m gray-headed, but let me influence young people; let me tell the next generation of your faithfulness.”
Now in Psalm 72 the superscription is “Of Solomon,” or, as some Bible versions translate it, “For Solomon.” “Of Solomon” suggests that Solomon wrote it. But I believe this was written by David for Solomon. All you have to do is read verse 20, where the psalmist says, “The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.”
So, this psalm was written by David—as a dad, a father—for his son, Solomon. David wants to influence the next generation as well, and in this case, it’s his own son.
Psalm 72 is really a prayer of David for his son, who will soon sit on the throne of Israel. He prays this blessing on Solomon, in verse 2: “May he [the king] judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!” Then he prays, “May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!” (verse 6). In other words, “Lord, may my son be a blessing and an encouragement to others—like rain on a thirsty field of grass.”
As a loving father, David is giving Solomon a gift of enormous value—the gift of encouraging words. I know a few fathers who have given their adult children the gift of words in letters they have written to them before passing away.
One godly father wrote a letter like that to his family. Here is what he penned:
You children and your spouses have been the joy of my life, as have been my grandchildren. I urge you to remain true to your Savior. I have no doubt that you will. Love each other deeply in your marriages. Keep your family ties strong. Lay treasure in heaven because the stuff of earth is empty. Bank accounts, houses, and furniture mean nothing to me now. Beware of sin, and confess it as soon as you discover it in your life. Let the Holy Spirit’s gift of joy color all your life. Get sweeter as you get older. I love you all, and each one. I’ll see you sooner than you think! Dad.
That sounds very much like David’s encouragement to his son to remain faithful to the glory of God. He ends his psalm by writing, “Blessed be [God’s] glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen!”(verse 19).
Take the time to ponder the “blessings” offered in this Psalm and understand God the Father Himself wants to bless you in these ways. How can you live out these blessings now? How can you pass them along to those you influence so that you can be a blessing to others?