2020 Bible Reflections

April 28th 2020: Psalm 71

Psalm 71

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.

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long.

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.

15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
    of your saving acts all day long—
    though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
    I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
    and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
    you who have done great things.
    Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
    many and bitter,
    you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
    you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
    and comfort me once 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.

There’s so much in today’s Psalm. I would encourage you to take time with it today and see which verses reach out to you particularly or if it’s the sum of the whole that grabs your attention. Perhaps it’s because of how things are in our world at the moment and how I’m feeling personally too today, but the verse ‘From birth I have relied on you’ has particular resonance with me as I read this. So many Psalms declare faith and trust in God and repeat promises to praise and be thankful, ask God not to leave or let the writer be put to shame. So many make the point that God somehow ought to realise that the psalmist has kept commandments, been good, basically. It’s easy to gloss over these elements as they are repeated so often, but the acceptance that since birth the Psalmist has relied on God is something which is stated less often. I don’t think there’s ever been a period during my own life where I’ve been more aware that this life I live now won’t last forever. Every breath, every move I make (go on, sing along if you know it) I make with God. I need God. I can’t do it on my own. I could spend time thinking, wishing perhaps, that I could go it alone and sometimes that seems attractive. Sometimes the arguments of others about how silly it is to believe in God, or any kind of benevolent deity, how silly it is to praise God when all of life seems so unfair, sometimes that course of action is attractive. If you’ve been there or are there at the moment, most people who have honest faiths in God have been there too. I don’t personally think it’s anything to worry about. At some point, though, I come to realise that God has seen me through ever second, every single moment of my life so far and I still am relying on him. That doesn’t make me extra-special. I think it just makes me honest. With God, all things are possible. Without…Well that doesn’t really bear thinking about.

Something To Do Today

Are you comfortable relying on God? Work today on beginning to let go of your independent streak.

Something To Pray Today

Thank you that you are always reliable. Amen