Psalm 70 captures my attention today mainly because of a quote from Martin Luther. He said that “prayer is the shield, spear, thunderbolt and defense against every attack of fear, presumption [and] lukewarmness…which are especially dominant today.” The quote was written by James Montgomery Boice but I could not find its source.
This plea, here in the Psalm 70, is for deliverance but it is also one of remembrance of the many times God had already delivered.
Save me, O God!
Lord, help me now! – Psalm 70:1 GNT
I wonder if I even come close to praying with such a sense of urgency. If I had maybe I would be praying more often.
“The petitions in this form of the psalm emphasize the urgency of the matter. There is not a moment to lose; or so it appears.” Kidner
“The circumstances were those of suffering…made more poignant by the gloating gladness of enemies…The troubled soul knew that help was only to be found in God. His difficulty was that God did not seem to be acting with sufficient speed. (God) was at least leisurely, when the need seemed pressing; He was not hastening, in spite of the urgency. So it appeared to this troubled heart, and so it has constantly appeared to those who have suffered. One of the supreme glories of the Psalter is that it gives us a song like this, expressing a common human experience, even though it reveals a mistaken conception of God. God never needs to be called upon to hasten. He is never tarrying uselessly or carelessly. Indeed, we may say that often: “Through the thick darkness He is hastening,” that is, through the very darkness which makes us imagine He is inactive, or unduly delaying His help. Nevertheless, He understands our cry. We may use any terms in our prayers, if they are directed to Him, knowing that He will understand, and in His understanding, interpret our faulty terms by His own perfect knowledge, and give us His best answers to our deepest need.” – G. Campbell Morgan
May those who try to kill me
be defeated and confused.
May those who are happy because of my troubles
be turned back and disgraced.
May those who make fun of me
be dismayed by their defeat. – Psalm 70:2-3 GNT
“The psalmist prays for his enemies’ fall and shame in accordance with the principles of justice and with the promise of God to curse those who cursed his own.” – VanGemeren
“For success in evil encourages even more evil and establishes the evil doer in his or her ways. The kindest thing we can pray for people who do wrong is that their plans will fail, for it may be that in their frustration they will see the folly and true end of evil and be reached for God.” – James Boice
Peter offers an additional perspective – a post evil – or maybe it is an attitude that gets me through it so that when I am delivered I am wiser and better for it.
But after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation. – 1 Peter 5:10 GNT
There is a calmness to Peter’s prayer – maybe it is one of confidence that He trusts God to answer. It is an exhortation that I am encouraged to pray for those who are suffering – and the good news is there – this is for them.
“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matthew 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance”. – Martin Luther