Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 70

The Biblical IllustratorThe Biblical Illustrator

Verses 1-5

Psalms 70:1-5

Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord.

A pattern suppliant

It is the “fervent” prayer that is effectual, and “effectual” prayer that “availeth much.” Importunity prevails where indifference fails. This prayer not only expresses fervour, but likewise expectation; faith’s vision was strong, and confidence was unwaveringly vigorous; so that no sooner had the request gone up from David’s soul to the “Court of Heaven,” than he expected to see the Lord hasting to his assistance. We have here a pattern suppliant--

Oppressed with need (Psalms 70:5). Prayer is the utterance of want; the cry of distress; the pleading of contrite dependence and weakness; more acceptable to God than the vaunting Pharisee’s boast, “I thank Thee that I am not as other men.” The Christian is pre-eminently a man of prayer. It is the atmosphere in which his soul breathes, moves, and keeps its being.

Earnestly seeking help (Psalms 70:1-3).

1. Help, in deliverance for himself.

2. Help, in confusion and overthrow of his enemies. The more vivid the realization of need, the more fervent the entreaty for help. God, a refuge in time of trouble, and fervent prayer the swift feet to bring us into it.

Mindfulness of others (Psalms 70:4). A beautiful petition from a beautiful spirit. Though in deep distress himself, yet!m remembers others, and seeks for them gladness of heart and usefulness of life. Selfishness is very narrow in its supplications. Piety is magnificently catholic and comprehensive in its appeals. (J. O. Keen, D. D.)

Verse 4

Psalms 70:4

Let such as love Thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.

Our watchword

These words occur at least three times in the Psalms, and therefore we may regard them as especially important.

Discriminate the character. The individuals here spoken of are those who love God’s salvation. Then it is implied that they are persons who are saved, because it is not according to nature to love a salvation in which we have no part. We may admire the salvation which is preached, but we shall only love the salvation which is experienced. But, more than this, to sustain and bring to perfection in the renewed heart an ardent affection towards the Divine salvation of a sort that will continue, and become practically fruitful, there must be an intelligent consideration, and an instructed apprehension as to the character of this salvation. Now, let me show you what it is in salvation that the thoughtful believer loves; and I may begin by saying that he loves, best of all, the Saviour Himself. Often our Lord is called Salvation, because He is the great worker of it, the author and finisher, the Alpha and the Omega of it. He who has Christ has salvation; and, as He is the essence of salvation, He is the centre of the saved ones’ affection. But you love not only the Saviour’s person, for I am sure you delight in the plan of salvation. What is that plan? It is summed up in a single word--substitution. Oh, then let us always say, “Let God be magnified,” since He devised, arranged, and carried out this Godlike method of blending justice with mercy. But we also love God’s salvation when we consider what was the object of it. The object of it towards us was to redeem unto Christ a people who should be zealous for good works. The sinner loves a salvation from hell; the saint loves a salvation from sin.

Meditate on the saying. Every nation has its idiom, every language has its shibboleth, almost every district has its proverb. Behold the idiom of gracious souls, listen to their household word, their common proverb--it is this, “Let God be magnified! Let God be magnified!” Observe that this is a saying which is founded upon truth and justice. “Let God be magnified,” for it is He that saved us, and not we ourselves. None can divide the honours of grace, for the Lord alone hath turned our captivity. From beginning to end salvation is of the Lord, therefore, let God be magnified. This saying is naturally suggested by love. It is because we love His salvation that we say, “The Lord be magnified.” You cannot love God without desiring to magnify Him, and I am sure that you cannot know that you are saved without loving Him. Moreover, this saying of our text is, deeply sincere and practical. I am sure David did not wish to see hypocrites multiplied; but such would be the case if men merely said, “Let God be magnified,” and did not mean it. Moreover, it must not only be sincere, but it must be paramount. I take it that there is nothing which a Christian man should say continually, except this, “Let God be magnified.” That which a man may say continually is assuredly the master-thought of his mind. Listen to the cherubim and seraphim; they continually do cry, “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God of Hosts!” And the text tells us this must be continual. How earnest you feel about the cause of Christ when you have heard an inspiriting sermon, but how long does it last?

The wish. “Let God be magnified.” This wish is promoted by an anxiety for God’s glory; it is a most holy wish, and it ought to be fulfilled. I shall ask your attention to the reasons of the wish. Why should it be wished?

1. First, because it always ought to be said, “Let God be magnified.” It is only right, and according to the fitness of things, that God should be magnified in the world which Ha Himself created. Such a handiwork deserves admiration from all who behold it. But when He new-made the world, and especially when He laid the foundation of His new palace in the fair colours of Jesus’ blood, and adorned it with the sapphires of grace and truth; He had a double claim upon our praise.

2. But, we wish it next, because it always needs saying. The word is dull and sleepy, and utterly indifferent to the glory of God in the work of redemption. We need to tell it over and over and over again, that God is great in the salvation of His people.

3. And, again, we desire this, because the saying of this continually does good to the sayers. He who blesses God blesses himself. We cannot serve God with the heart without serving ourselves most practically. Nothing, brethren, is more for your benefit than to spend and be spent for the promotion of the Divine honour.

4. Then, again, this promotes the welfare of God’s creatures. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Verse 5

Psalms 70:5

But I am poor and needy; make haste unto me, O God: Thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying,


Young painters were anxious, in the olden times, to study under the great masters.

They concluded that they should more easily attain to excellence if they entered the schools of eminent men. At this present time, men will pay large premiums that their sons may be apprenticed or articled to those who best understand their trades or professions; now, if any of us would learn the sacred art and mystery of prayer, it is well for Us to study the productions of the greatest masters of that science. I am unable to point out one who understood it better than did the psalmist.

A soul confessing. The wrestler strips before he enters upon the contest, and confession does the like for the man who is about to plead with God. A racer on the plains of prayer cannot hope to win, unless, by confession, repentance, and faith, he lays aside every weight of sin. Now, let it be ever remembered that confession is absolutely needful to the sinner when he first seeks a Saviour. It is not possible for thee, O seeker, to obtain peace for thy troubled heart, till thou shalt have acknowledged thy transgression and thine iniquity before the Lord. If thou wilt condemn thyself, God will acquit thee. But never expect that the King of heaven will pardon a traitor, if he will not confess and forsake his treason. Even the tenderest father expects that the child should humble himself when he has offended, and he will not withdraw his frown from him till with tears he has said, “Father, I have sinned.” Darest thou expect God to humble Himself to thee, and would it not be so if He did not constrain thee to humble thyself to Him? Wouldst thou have Him connive at thy faults and wink at thy transgressions? He will have mercy, but He must, be holy. He is ready to forgive, but not to tolerate sin. The same principle applies to the Church of God. We must own that we are powerless in this business. The Spirit of God is treasured up in Christ, and we must seek Him of the great head of the Church. We cannot command the Spirit, and yet we can do nothing without him. He bloweth where he listeth. We must deeply feel and honestly acknowledge this.

A soul pleading. “I am poor and needy, make haste unto me, O God. Thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying.” The careful reader will perceive four pleas in this single verse. Upon this topic I would remark that it is the habit of faith, when she is praying, to use pleas. Mere prayer sayers, who do not pray at all, forget to argue with God; but those who would prevail bring forth their reasons and their strong arguments, and they debate the question with the Lord. Faith’s art of wrestling is to plead with God, and say with holy boldness, “Let it be thus and thus, for these reasons.” Faith’s pleas are plentiful, and this is welt, for faith is placed in divers positions, and needs them all. Faith will plead all the attributes of God. “Thou art just, therefore spare Thou the soul for whom the Saviour died. Thou art merciful, blot out my transgressions. Thou art good, reveal Thy bounty to Thy servant. Thou art immutable--Thou hast done thus and thus to others of Thy servants, do thus unto me. Thou art faithful, caner Thou break Thy promise, caner Thou turn away from Thy covenant?” Sometimes, however, faith’s pleas are very singular. As in this text, it is by no means according to the proud rule of human nature to plead--“I am poor and needy, make haste unto me, O God.” It is like another prayer of David: “Have mercy upon my iniquity, for it is great.” It is not the manner of men to plead so, they say, “Lord, have mercy on me, for I am not so bad a sinner as some.” But faith reads things in a truer light, and bases her pleas on truth. “Lord, because my sin is great, and Thou art a great God, let Thy great mercy be magnified in me.” Faith’s pleas are singular, but, let me add, faith’s pleas are always sound; for after all, it is a very telling plea to urge that we are poor and needy. Is not the main argument with mercy? Necessity is the very best plea with benevolence, either human or divine. Is not our need the best reason we can urge? If we would have a physician come quickly to a sick man, “Sir,” we say, “it is no common case, he is on the point of death, come to him, come quickly!” If we wanted our city firemen to rush to a fire, we should not say to them, “Make haste, for it is only a small fire”; but, on the contrary, we urge that it is an old house, full of combustible materials, and there are rumours of petroleum and gunpowder on the premises; besides, it is near a timber yard, hosts of wooden cottages are close by, and before long we shall have half the city in a blaze. We put the case as badly as we can. Oh for wisdom to be equally wise in pleading with God, to find arguments everywhere, but especially to find them in our necessities.

A soul urgent. “Make haste unto me,” etc. Jesus has said, “men ought always to pray and not to faint.” You land on the shores of a foreign country with the greatest confidence when you carry a passport with you, and God has issued passports to His children, by which they come boldly to His mercy-seat; He has invited you, He has encouraged you, He has bidden you come to Him, and has promised that whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Come, then, come urgently, come importunately, come with this plea, “I am poor and needy; make no tarrying, O my God,” and a blessing shall surely come; it will not tarry. God grant we may see it, and give Him the glory of it.

Here is another part of the art and mystery of prayer--the soul grasping God. She has pleaded, and she has been urgent, but now she comes to close quarters; she grasps the covenant angel with one hand, “Thou art my help,” and with the other, “Thou art my deliverer.” Oh, those blessed “my’s,” those potent “my’s.” The sweetness of the Bible lies in the possessive pronouns, and he who is taught to use them as the psalmist did, shall come off a conqueror with the eternal God. Oh, you that are saved and, therefore, love Christ, I want you, as the saints of God, to practise this last part of my subject; and be sure to lay hold upon God in prayer. “Thou art my help and my deliverer.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)


Psalms 71:1-24

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 70". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/psalms-70.html. 1905-1909. New York.
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