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Psalm 70 -
A Prayer for Deliverance
For the director of music.
Of David. A petition.
1Hasten, O God, to save me;
O Lord, come quickly to help me.
2May those who seek my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
3May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
turn back because of their shame.
4But may all who seek You rejoice
and be glad in You;
may those who love Your salvation always say,
“Let God be exalted!”
5Yet I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay.
To the careful reader, these verses may seem familiar. They are virtually identical to Psalm 40:13–17. Here, David has split these verses out into their own psalm, and they stand alone quite well as a prayer for deliverance. Certainly, it is not a bad thing for David to express the same sentiments in prayer that he had expressed at an earlier time. “What hard condition we have been in before, we may fall into the like again; and the gracious means we have used before, in seeking our relief of God, we should use again; and what words of prayer we have used before, we may use again, without any either needless affectations of other words, or superstitious tying of ourselves to the same words” [Dickson, 426].
David begins by praying for a quick delivery from trouble: “Hasten, O God, to save me; O Lord, come quickly to help me” (vs. 1). There is no quicker way to deliverance than a prayer to the Lord of the Universe. “Prayer is a swift messenger, which in the twinkling of an eye can go and return with an answer from heaven” [Dickson, 426]. God is a constant companion, never far away. He hears our prayers immediately, and acts on them at the best possible time, according to His will.
In the next few verses, David prays for contrasting results for the ungodly and godly. Concerning the ungodly, David prays: “May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, ‘Aha! Aha!’ turn back because of their shame” (vss. 2–3). David is essentially praying here that the consciences of his persecutors would make them regret what they had been doing. He prays that they feel “shame”, and that they “turn back in disgrace”. The conscience is a powerful ally in helping us to do right, if we would listen to it. The conscience is the Spirit of God speaking to our hearts concerning what is right and wrong. We can choose to listen to our conscience, or choose to harden our hearts, and ignore our conscience. Dear friend, listen and heed your conscience. Let the shame you feel guide you into the path of righteousness.
Concerning the godly, David prays: “But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, ‘Let God be exalted!’” (vs. 4). Here David is praying that those who “seek” God, and those who “love His salvation” may be wrapped up in worship and praise for Him. Now it may seem like this would happen naturally, without the need to pray for it. It would seem that those who “love His salvation” would naturally be bursting with worship and praise for Him. However, this sadly is not the case. We become complacent in His salvation. We get used to love and blessings from God. And so, our praise for Him becomes lifeless, barren of fervency. We need this prayer. Oh Lord, may we “rejoice and be glad in You”; may we always say, even shout, “Let God be exalted.” Enliven us by Your Spirit with the fervent praise of God.