Tuesday, October 18, 2022

2022.10.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 70

Read Psalm 70

Questions from the Scripture text: Into whose hands was this Psalm committed (superscript)? Who wrote it? What does the Psalm aim to do? What basic request is made twice in Psalm 70:1a, b? What two things is he asking God to make haste to do? By what two Names does he call Him? What three things are the enemy in Psalm 70:2-3 doing? What five things does David ask God to do to them? By what two activities are the people in Psalm 70:4 identified? What three things does he ask these godly ones to be enabled to do? Among the godly what is his own condition (Psalm 70:5a)? What request does he repeat in verse 5b? In what form will the two requests from Psalm 70:1 be fulfilled (Psalm 70:5c, cf. Psalm 70:1a, b)? What final request does he make in Psalm 70:5d?

What can ‘helpless’ believers under attack pray? Psalm 70 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five  verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that for believers, who know Who God is and what He will do for them, the right way to pray is often “make haste!” 

The Spirit has titled this a Psalm of “causing remembrance.” In it, David is crying out for God to remember—to act in a manner consistent with His character and His promises. Since we know that God is true to Himself and to His Word, praying for His remembrance of us in our distress is actually a means by which He reminds us of His character and promises. Specifically, David is asking God to take action with regard to himself, with regard to his enemies, and with regard to believers.

David’s request that God take action with regard to himself is the main request of the Psalm. David needs deliverance and help (Psalm 70:1), and the Lord Himself is that deliverance and help (Psalm 70:5). This, David already knows. So, the form of the request isn’t so much “deliver me and help me” as, “Make haste!” This plea actually appears only once, at the end of Psalm 70:1: “God, to deliver me—Yahweh, to help me—make haste!” Then Psalm 70:5 concludes the Psalm with another request to “make haste” with the added plea, “O Yahweh, do not delay.”

We might have thought it irreverent to ask God to hurry, and if we did so by venting our own spirit it would be. But God has given us His own Word by which to ask Him to hurry. He has put that into our heart and into our mouth, which enables us to make holy cries for divine hastening. 

In Psalm 70:2-3, David requests that God take action with regard to his enemies. They are seeking his life, desiring his hurt, and ridiculing him. David asks that they be ashamed, confounded, thwarted in confusion, and returned to their place in shame. All of these things will indeed happen. The Lord is patiently restraining His hand from wrath for many good reasons (cf. Romans 9:22–23). The wicked think themselves safe, but they shall be suddenly and devastatingly proved wrong. The believer knows this, but it is a helpful reminder to him, when he calls upon God to remember and act.

In Psalm 70:4, David requests that God take action with regard to other believers, those who seek God and love His salvation. It is God’s plan and promise that these will have fullness of joy in God’s presence and pleasures at God’s right hand forevermore (Psalm 70:4a, cf. Psalm 16:11). It is their destiny to magnify and praise God forever (Psalm 70:4b–c, cf. Psalm 73:26–28). Those who rejoice over God and love to praise His salvation are much strengthened and gladdened by new occasions to praise that salvation. As David prays that God would give them occasions for praise, he remembers that God indeed will do so.

The Psalm ends with David still asking God to hurry. The situation has not changed, and David is still “poor and needy.” But the Psalm itself has not just given him words by which to ask God to remember. This Spirit-given prayer and song has brought God’s remembering to David’s remembrance. And we may hope that the Spirit would use it to do so in us and for us as well.

What situation has you needing to remember that God remembers? What do you hope the lovers of God will end up doing in response to your situation? How is that shaping the way you pray?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are our Help and our Deliverer. By Your grace, we seek You; help us to seek You more. Make us to rejoice and be glad in You. By Your grace, we love Your salvation; make us to love Your salvation more. Today, and forever, make us to say continually, “Let God be magnified!” In Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP70 “Hasten, God, My Rescue” or TPH559 “The Lord’s Prayer”

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