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READING: Psalm 71 – Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help from Cradle to Grave


Psalm 71 has no author attribution, nor does it have any heading, other than that added by the translators. The NRSV editors preface this psalm as a Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help. In many ways, this Psalm sounds like psalms attributed to David. For example, cf. Psalm 51:5 with 71:6, but 51:5 says, “In sin did my mother conceive me” and 71:6 says, “I have leaned on You from my birth; it was You who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is always of You.” Psalm 51 is his confession of wrong with Bathsheba; Psalm 71 is as an old man looking back, so Psalm 71 may be a psalm of David, but not certainly. It could be someone writing in David’s style. 

The first three verses say the author takes refuge in the LORD; he asks God to deliver and rescue him, and to incline His ear to him; the third verse says, “Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.” His rescue is to be from the wicked, “For You, O LORD, are my hope” – just as He is “our hope of eternal salvation” while the psalmist’s hope was to be kept from the wicked in the here and now. 

The writer of the psalm says, “I have been a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.” His mouth is full of God’s praise and glory all day long. But he earnestly prays, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age.” To this end he prays, “O God, do not be far from me; make haste to help me!” He prays, “Let my accusers be put to shame and consumed; let those who seek to hurt me be covered with scorn.” Like David, this writer leaves vengeance to God; he does not take it on himself. 

He thanks God that “From my youth, You have taught me, and I still will proclaim your wondrous deeds. Even to old age and gray hairs, do not forsake me until I proclaim Your might to all the generations to come.” Whoever the author is, he still has an agenda for his old age. This should make us wonder why, when many of God’s people retire, they focus on themselves and the American Dream instead of the Lord and His kingdom. 

He speaks of God’s place in his life, “You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depth of the earth, you will bring me up again.” This hints at the coming resurrection of the dead. 

He closes with praises for God’s faithfulness and says, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which You have rescued. All day my tongue will talk of Your righteous help, for those who tried to harm me have been put to shame.” 

Here was a life well lived. 

How well is my life lived? 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________   

PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father in Heaven, help me to live the kind of life the writer of Psalm 71 lived, in the name of Jesus, Your Son, and my precious Savior, AMEN!  

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)  

Holy Father my prayer for all who read this and for myself, is that we read AND MEDITATE on Psalm 71. I offer this prayer for myself, and for all who read this, in the precious name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN!  

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