March 25: Psalm 71
A Psalm of Trust
18.104.22.168 St. Christopher (Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
Langloffan, p. 69 (Some common meter double tunes may be used)
O Lord, In Thee I’m trusting; ashamed let me not be;
O save me in Thy righteousness, give ear, and rescue me.
Be Thou my rock, my dwelling place, my constant safe resort.
Thou my salvation hast ordained; Thou art my rock and fort.
From wicked hands, God, free me, hands cru-el and unjust;
Thou, Lord Jehovah, art my hope; from youth Thou art my trust.
For I have been sustained by Thee through birth and early days;
Brought from my mother’s womb by Thee, I’ll give Thee constant praise.
To many I’m a wonder; Thou art my refuge strong.
My mouth is brimming with Thy praise and honor all day long.
Do not reject me in the time when old age I shall see;
And in my days of failing strength do not abandon me.
My enemies with hatred against me evil speak;
Those who are watching for my life united counsel seek.
They say, “God has forsaken him! Pursue him! None will save!”
O God, do not be far from me; my God, thy help I crave.
Let all who strive against me disgraced and wasted be,
All covered with reproach and shame who seek to injure me.
But I with lasting confidence will hope con-tin-ual-ly,
And I will add still more and more to all the praise of Thee.
All day my mouth Thy justice and Thy salvation show,
For proofs of them are far beyond the numbers which I know.
For I will go forth in the strength of Thee, Jehovah Lord;
Thy righteousness and Thine alone, abroad I will record.
O God, You’ve been my teacher ev’n from my days of youth;
And all the wonders Thou has done I still declare as truth.
So even when I’m old and gray, O God, forsake me not,
Until Thy strength and power I have each generation taught.
For, God, Thy justice reaches into infinity,
And Thou has wrought such miracles, O God, who is like Thee?
Thou Who before hast made me see much evil and distress
Wilt me revive and bring me up from depths which me depress.
Do Thou increase my greatness, and comfort to me bring.
Then with a harp I’ll give Thee thanks; My God, Thy truth I’ll sing.
O Holy One of Is-ra-el, with lyre Thy psalms I’ll bring;
My lips will shout; my ransomed soul in psalms to Thee will sing.
My tongue will keep proclaiming thy justice all day long;
For they are humbled and ashamed who seek to do me wrong.
O Lord, in Thee I refuge take; ashamed let me not be;
O save me in Thy righteousness; give ear and rescue me.
Those who pray the psalms are aware that, in spite of their own infidelities to God over the years, God has nonetheless remained faithful. Were that not the case, they would not be praying the psalms at all. This sense of God’s lifelong fidelity is at the heart of the Christian experience. In the middle of the second century, put on trial for his faith in Jesus and pressured either to renounce that faith or die a violent death, the venerable Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, responded to his judge: “For eighty-six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme the King who saved me?” Trial and trouble, nonetheless, shape the context of fidelity in this psalm, as they did in the long life of Polycarp: “My God, deliver me from the hand of the sinner, from the law-breaker and the wicked…for my enemies have spoken against me, and there is a conspiracy among those that stalk my soul. They say, ‘God has forsaken him. Hound him down and catch him, for there is none to deliver him.’” This is the persecution of which our Lord spoke so often in the Gospels, saying that it would be the constant lot of those who bear His name. And yet, the psalmist sings, “My lips will shout; my ransomed soul in psalms to Thee will sing.” (Reardon, p.139-140)