Shall we turn now in our Bibles to Psalm 71:1-24 .
Psalm 71:1-24 is the psalm of the aged man. Probably David as he was getting up into years, and his reddish colored hair had turned gray. David"s life was a tough life. He had many devoted friends, but also many avowed enemies. And David is always praying concerning those enemies that are seeking his hurt, seeking to destroy him. And even up into the elder years, as the Lord said to David, "The sword shall not depart from thy house." And so in the elder years of David, there was still that problem of the sword, that problem of enemies. And so a psalm of again calling upon the Lord for His help, for His protection, even in his older years.
In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear, and save me. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: for thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress ( Psalm 71:1-3 ).
David"s prayer that God would be his strong habitation whereunto I may continually resort. We read in the scriptures, "The name Jehovah is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe" ( Proverbs 18:10 ). How many times have we run into the protection of the name of the Lord. How many times when faced by danger, just automatically almost, the name of Jesus escapes our lips. We are facing a real problem, and we just sort of unconsciously say, "Oh Jesus." The strong tower, I run in to it for a place of safety, a place of refuge. "Thou art my rock, my fortress, my dwelling place." And how wonderful it is when we have found that glorious dwelling place in Christ Jesus of which the psalmist wrote, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" ( Psalm 91:1 ). And so he declares the Lord is his habitation. "I continually resort," constantly finding that place of help and strength, comfort and refuge in the Lord. "I continually resort."
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, and out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For thou art my hope, O Lord my God: thou art my trust from my youth ( Psalm 71:4-5 ).
So God is not just a place of hope, but He is also the place of trust. I have learned to trust in the Lord, but I am also hoping for His deliverance.
By thee have I been held up from the womb: you took me out of my mother"s womb: my praise shall be continually of thee. For I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honor all the day. Cast me not off in the time of old age ( Psalm 71:6-9 );
And so here is a hint to the time of the writing of the psalm, and later on he will refer to his gray hairs.
forsake me not when my strength fails ( Psalm 71:9 ).
The weakening position of the old age.
For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, Saying, God has forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him. O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help. Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor that seek my hurt ( Psalm 71:10-13 ).
So, again, David"s prayers for his enemies that God would take care of them. But, again, the tragedy that in the older years, there are still those enemies of David. No rest. Because of the sin with Bathsheba, the sword is not to depart from his house.
But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more ( Psalm 71:14 ).
David, a man after God"s own heart, even though he was oppressed by the enemy, yet he was close to the heart of God. And part of the reason for that is David"s continual praise. "Lord, I will praise You more and more."
My mouth shall show forth your righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and gray haired, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power unto all that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the eaRuth ( Psalm 71:15-20 ).
So here is David"s declaration concerning his confidence in the resurrection. "Lord, You will make me alive again. You will bring me up from the depths of the earth." Again, we read, and it is, of course, declared to be prophetic concerning Christ, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption." But there was that belief in the resurrection from the dead. "You will make me alive again. You will bring my soul up from the depths of the earth."
The Bible teaches that the place of the grave, Sheol, or Hades, is more than just the grave where a body is buried, a sepulcher, a sarcophagus, where a body is placed. But there is a place of consciousness in the heart of the earth. And when David said, "You will make me alive again, that You shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth," he is actually making reference to this place where the spirit of man went upon death. Prior to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there were two areas divided by a gulf. One, a place of comfort with Abraham; the other, a place of torment. Jesus, when asked for a sign, said, "A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the depths, or in the heart of the earth" ( Matthew 12:39-40 ). So Jesus went down and preached to those souls that were in prison, and He led them from that captivity. "He who is ascended is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity" ( Ephesians 4:8-9 ), fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-11 .
So David makes mention here of his hope in the resurrection. You will not find much in the Old Testament written concerning the resurrection from the dead. Job made mention, "I know that though the worms eat this body, yet in my flesh I am going to see Him when He stands upon the earth in the last days," and so forth. And his hope of the resurrection, and yet Job vacillated so much. But David, here he is old now, and he is thinking of death, "But You are going to make me alive again."
Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even the truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt ( Psalm 71:21-24 ).
So David, speaking of praising the Lord with a psaltery. That is, praising Him with the music, praising Him with the song, accompanied by the harp. Singing of God, greatly rejoicing and talking of God"s righteousness all day long. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 71". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany