Psalm for Life: Psalm 71

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Today’s Sunday Psalms entry is written by Timothy Tennent.

Psalm 71 (NIV)

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
    those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue him and seize him,
    for no one will rescue him.”
12 Do not be far from me, my God;
    come quickly, God, to help me.
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
    may those who want to harm me
    be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 As for me, I will always have hope;
    I will praise you more and more.

22 I will praise you with the harp

    for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
    Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
    when I sing praise to you—
    I whom you have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
    all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
    have been put to shame and confusion.

Sing this psalm with the Seedbed Psalter today! Visit the resource here.

CONSIDER THIS

We could call Psalm 71 a life psalm. This is because the author is writing at the end of his life, while looking back through all the changes, the trials, and the ups and downs of life. Through this reflective psalm, he sees that God was his ever-constant Lord, guide, and protector. He sees God’s providence from the time when God “brought [him] forth from [his] mother’s womb” (v. 6), to the times when his outward circumstances caused him to wonder where God was (v. 11), to the time when he is “old and gray” (v. 18). Through it all, from his lifelong perspective, he can see that, God, in fact, was with him through all the seasons of life.

What a great reminder to us. The Christian faith is not some form of religious escape from this world. It is the faith that sustains us in the midst of real life, with all of its challenges and trials. The psalmist looks back and declares, “You have made me see troubles, many and bitter” (v. 20) but sees, from a deeper perspective, God’s providential hand in all things. Whether you are a young person, in the middle of life, or reaching the final stages of life’s journey, you can be confident in saying with the psalmist, “I have taken refuge in you” (see vv. 1, 5, 7).

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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