This column is dedicated to my sister-in-law Karen. She visited last week, loves the Psalms, and proves they can be lived out daily.
Calvin and Spurgeon wrote volumes on the Psalms. Calvin called them “an anatomy of all the parts of the soul.” They are written and inspired by God and join His truth and perspective to life—what is important, earth-life reality, our future, and how to respond to circumstances. This week, chew on Psalm 71 for a while.
While Psalm 71 references being old, it speaks of God’s engagement in us from our birth and in our youth, too.
Psalm 71 awakens our willful device and media-induced numbness and doesn’t shy away from reality (1-13). “Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man” (4). Followers of Christ continually visit true reality in their world and the world but know it isn’t home.
In this personal lament, the psalmist turns the corner in verse 14, saying, “But as for me” (NASB). This is the necessary crossroad each follower of Christ must face. I love how the psalmists turn this corner over and again. Having approached the crossroad of God and His path or me, notice what the markers along the path of God’s truth and perspective. How shall we live?
First, hope. “But as for me I will hope continually” (14). In Scripture hope is certainly, not wishful thinking. There is good reason for hope: God is righteous and in Him we have a refuge (1-3, 19), He is against the wicked and can be trusted to judge them (4-6), He has His reasons for granting us troubles and will revive us (20), and He has and will redeem us (23). Thank You, Father, for these great promises.
Second, proclaim. Next the writer notes from his youth he has been taught by God and “I still proclaim your wondrous deeds” (17). “Still” catches my attention. And so does “proclaim.” Psalm 92:14-15 is a similar witness to God’s goodness in the context of aging. Psalm 92:14-15 encourages me, “They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green [love the picture!], TO DECLARE that the LORD is upright.” Rich! I find it helpful to be specific about what the gift or blessing or joyful moment is about when proclaiming/witnessing to God’s many graces. Father, Son, Spirit, do I regularly, publicly draw attention to and give credit to You?
Last, worship (22-24). There it is again. Over and again the psalms point us to or end with a God-centered lifestyle of personal and corporate worship. Note in context instruments, songs, voices, words, remembrances, and outbursts of joy are all appropriate. It is one of my greatest thrills to visit the grandkids who jump into our laps when Cheryl open our car doors. Thank You LORD for welcoming us before Your throne constantly (Cf. Zechariah 3:17)!
You are going to meditate—chew on and enjoy and pray—Psalm 71, aren’t you?