“In you I take refuge!
Let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness,
Incline your ear to me!
Be to me a rock of refuge!
Be to me a strong fortress!
You are my rock!
You are my fortress!”
Psalm 71 has no introduction or titles. This psalmist seems to be an old worshiper who wants help against his enemies, an old man’s prayer. Many of the themes of his lamentation with God as the rock and the fortress can be found in Psalm 31 also. The psalmist did not want to be put to shame. He wanted to be rescued and delivered. He wanted God to listen to him since Yahweh was his refuge, his fortress, and his rock. He wanted to be saved.
All of you!
Yahweh preserves the faithful!
However he abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily.
Let your heart take courage!
All you who wait for Yahweh!”
This psalm ended with David wanting all of the people to love Yahweh. They were the holy saints of Israel. Yahweh had preserved his faithful. On the other hand, Yahweh had repaid all those who acted haughtily. He wanted the faithful to be strong and courageous, as they waited for Yahweh to act.
“Blessed be Yahweh!
He has wondrously shown
His steadfast love to me,
When I was beset
As a city under siege.
I had said in my alarm.
‘I am driven far from your sight.’
But you heard my supplications,
When I cried to you for help.”
Yahweh was blessed. He had shown his steadfast love to David, especially when he was like a city under siege. David thought that he was far from the sight of Yahweh. He was alarmed and cried for help from Yahweh. When he cried, Yahweh came to help him. Yahweh was truly his blessed help.
“O how abundant is your goodness!
You have laid up goodness
For those who fear you.
You have accomplished goodness
For those who take refuge in you.
This is done in the sight of everyone!
In the shelter of your presence,
You hide them
From human plots.
You hold them safe
Under your shelter
From contentious tongues.”
The goodness of Yahweh is abundant. This goodness goes to those who fear God, for those who take refuge in Yahweh. Yahweh hides them from human plots. They are safe in his good shelter from all the contentious tongues out there against them.
“But I trust in you!
‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hand.
From the hand of my enemies!
From the hand of my persecutors!
Let your face shine on your servant!
Save me in your steadfast love!
Do not let me be put to shame!
I call on you!
Let the wicked be put to shame!
Let them go dumbfounded to Sheol!
Let those who speak insolently
Against the righteous,
With pride and contempt,
May their lying lips be stilled!”
David trusted in Yahweh. Truly Yahweh was his God. He had full confidence in him. He placed his life in the hands of God. He hoped that he would be delivered from the hands of his enemies and persecutors. He wanted Yahweh’s face to shine on him to give him light. He wanted Yahweh to act out of his steadfast love and not put him to shame. Instead he wanted the wicked to be put to shame. He wanted them to go dumbfounded into Sheol, the underworld of death. He wanted their lying lips stilled. He wanted those who had spoken insolently against the righteous ones with pride and contempt to be quiet. David wanted the tables turned on his enemies because he trusted in Yahweh.
“I am the scorn of all my adversaries.
I am a horror to my neighbors.
I am an object of dread to my acquaintances.
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind.
I am like one who is dead.
I have become like a broken vessel.
I hear the whispering of many.
There is terror all around.
They scheme together against me.
They plot to take my life.”
David was scorned by all his enemies. He was a horror to his neighbors. He was an object of dread to his acquaintances. Anyone who saw him in the street fled from hid. He was a like a dead man walking. He was like a broken vessel. They whispered all around him. There was terror in the air. They schemed and plotted to take his life. He was in bad shape.
“Be gracious to me!
I am in distress!
My eye wastes away from grief!
My soul wastes away from grief!
My body also wastes away from grief!
My life is spent with sorrow!
My years pass with sighing!
My strength fails.
Because of my misery,
My bones waste away.”
David wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him because he was in great distress. His eyes, soul, and body were wasting away in grief. He was living a sorrowful life as each year passed with sightings all the time. His strength was failing him because of his misery. His bones were wasting away. He was a “woe is me” kind of guy. He sounded a lot like Job.