A “Sunset” Psalm


     The author of Psalm 71 was “old and gray headed” (v. 18).  Even though storm clouds were on the western horizon, this psalm of his sunset years is full of beautiful hope.

     The author declares that his “enemies speak against me; and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together, saying, ‘God has forsaken him; pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him’” (vv. 10-11).  Because of this, he writes of his continued determination to trust in Jehovah and His deliverance.  “In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be put to shame.  Deliver me in Your righteousness and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me and save me.  Be my strong refuge to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.  Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.  For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth.  By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.  My praise shall be continually of You.  I have become as a wonder to many, but You are my strong refuge.  Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day” (vv. 1-8).

     His petitions are few, and his confidence is firm.  “O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!  Let them be confounded and consumed who are adversaries of my life; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt.  But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more.  My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits.  I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only…Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?  You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again and bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  You shall increase my greatness and comfort me on every side.  Also with the lute I will praise You—and Your faithfulness, O my God!  To You I will sing with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.  My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You and my soul, which You have redeemed.  My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; for they are confounded, for they are brought to shame who seek my hurt” (vv. 12-16, 19-24).

     Faith in God does not eliminate the rain, flood, and winds of life; rather, it does provide an anchor for the soul that is “both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19), even in the sunset years of life.

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Author: jchowning

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