Teaching on Psalms 71 and 72 Given to Men’s Group on January 28th

Psalm 71 & 72

Psalms 71

1 In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed. 2 In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; Incline Your ear to me and save me. 3 Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.

4 Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man, 5 For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth. 6 By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You.

7 I have become a marvel to many, For You are my strong refuge. 8 My mouth is filled with Your praise And with Your glory all day long. 9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.

10 For my enemies have spoken against me; And those who watch for my life have consulted together, 11 Saying, “God has forsaken him; Pursue and seize him, for there is no one to deliver.” 12 O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my help!

13 Let those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor, who seek to injure me. 14 But as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. 15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And of Your salvation all day long; For I do not know the sum of them.

16 I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. 17 O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. 18 And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.

19 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? 20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. 21 May You increase my greatness And turn to comfort me.

22 I will also praise You with a harp, Even Your truth, O my God; To You I will sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which You have redeemed. 24 My tongue also will utter Your righteousness all day long; For they are ashamed, for they are humiliated who seek my hurt. (NASB)

Themes that I found occurring in this Psalm:

Taking shelter & refuge in God (v1,7)

Quote from Derek W. H. Thomas when telling about a 90 year old godly man in his church loves the Lord and quietly serves in the church:

“…here is a man that takes refuge in God, rather than drawing attention to his troubles…”

Asking for God’s rescue/salvation and to not be forsaken (v1,2,4,18)

David gives us a great example as in many Psalms that when trouble, calamity, persecution hits, we need to call out to the LORD – not as a last resort, but first.

Psalms 55:22

Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.

Here is a Charles Spurgeon quote about David carrying his sorrow to God:

It was to God that David carried his sorrow: it was to God that David confessed his sin. Observe, then, we must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God, for he counteth the hairs of your head.  – Charles Spurgeon

Praising God (v6,14,23) – including the use of musical instruments (v22 harp/lyre). Joyful worship (v23)

God is worthy of praise:

Psalms 149:2-3

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King.  Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.

 

1 Chronicles 29:10-13

David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, and “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.  Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things. In Your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name.”

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Revelation 4:11

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.”

Meditating on God’s Attributes

It is a good thing to meditate on the attributes of God, as David does.  Here are some of the attributes of God that David describes in this Psalm:

Righteousness (v15,19,24)

19 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?

Faithfulness (v6,17)

17 O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.

Strength (v16-18)

18 And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.

Uniqueness (v19b)

19b O God, who is like You?

Comforting (v21)

21 May You increase my greatness And turn to comfort me.

Sovereignty (v6,17,20)

6 By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You.

Holiness (v22)

22 I will also praise You with a harp, Even Your truth, O my God; To You I will sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

God allowing trouble in David’s life (v20)

20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

Yes, the life of the believer can be filled with trouble.  But David has the right attitude about his troubles – he sees them as coming from the hand of the LORD and that the LORD will ultimately “revive him”.  Therefore, it is reasonable that, we as believers will experience trouble.  Charles Spurgeon says of David in 2 Samuel 15:23 – weeping as he was fleeing Absalom, passing through the Kidron Valley:

“David passed that gloomy brook  …. The man after God’s own heart was not exempt from trouble, nay, his life was full of it. He was both the Lord’s Anointed, and the Lord’s Afflicted. Why then should we expect to escape?”

David’s persecution by his enemies (v4,13,24)

This is a common theme in the Psalms.  We see David on the run from his enemies and calling out to God for deliverance.

Imprecatory prayers (v13,24)

Again, another common theme in the Psalms where David is imploring God to deal with his enemies.

Evangelism/witnessing – telling about God (v15,18,24)

15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And of Your salvation all day long; For I do not know the sum of them.

Q: Are you telling anyone about God and His salvation?  How?  (this is a time of encouragement for us)

Growing old (v9,18)

Growing old is a significant theme of this Psalm.  It is mentioned 2 times explicitly.  In fact, the title of the Psalm is “Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance”.  Again, I would like to emphasize that great quote by Derek Thomas:

“…here is a man that takes refuge in God, rather than drawing attention to his troubles…”

The title of that sermon was “Graying with Glory”. Look at the contrast he presents: refuge in God vs. drawing attention to our troubles.  I’m sure each of us here has many other troubles that we don’t communicate to others.  And the Bible says that we are to bear one another’s burdens:

Gal 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Q: What is the appropriate balance between telling others about your problems and of keeping them between you and the Lord?  Where does one cross over the line and start grumbling and complaining?

Resurrection (v20 revive me again / bring me up from the depths of the earth)?

20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

This verse makes me think of the resurrection of the dead.  Although, looking at commentary, it is not meant to be literal resurrection from the dead:

“Not actual resurrection, but rescue from near death conditions and renewal of life’s strength and meaning” – MacArthur Study Bible commentary on Psalm 71:20.

Personal redemption (v23 my soul, which You have redeemed)

David acknowledges that God has redeemed not just his body and his earthly life, but indeed his soul, which is much more important.

 

 

Psalms 72 – “The Reign of the Righteous King”  A Psalm of Solomon

1 Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2 May he judge Your people with righteousness And Your afflicted with justice. 3 Let the mountains bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness.

4 May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy And crush the oppressor. 5 Let them fear You while the sun endures, And as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6 May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, Like showers that water the earth.

7 In his days may the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more. 8 May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust.

10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. 12 For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, The afflicted also, and him who has no helper.

13 He will have compassion on the poor and needy, And the lives of the needy he will save. 14 He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, And their blood will be precious in his sight; 15 So may he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him; And let them pray for him continually; Let them bless him all day long.

16 May there be abundance of grain in the earth on top of the mountains; Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon; And may those from the city flourish like vegetation of the earth. 17 May his name endure forever; May his name increase as long as the sun shines; And let men bless themselves by him; Let all nations call him blessed.

18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. 19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. 20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. (NASB)

This is a Coronation Psalm, dedicated to the prosperity of Solomon at the beginning of his reign (1 Kings 2).  It is unclear to me whether David or Solomon is the author (because of v20).  No New Testament writer applies any of the psalm to Christ.  It appears to be a description of how a righteous king (and government) will operate and a prayer by Solomon that God will enable him to rule in this manner.  Here are some of the principles I draw from it.  A righteous king/government will:

  1. Make righteous judgments that are in accord with God’s will (v1-2)
    1 Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2 May he judge Your people with righteousness And Your afflicted with justice.
  2. Establish peace (v3,7)
    3 Let the mountains bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness…7 In his days may the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more.
  3. Vindicate, protect and have compassion on the afflicted and needy (v4,13)
    4 May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy And crush the oppressor…13 He will have compassion on the poor and needy, And the lives of the needy he will save.
  4. Encourage the people to fear God (v5)
    5 Let them fear You while the sun endures, And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
  5. Establish and promote righteousness in the nation (v7)
    7 In his days may the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more.
  6. Enemies should fear the righteous nation (v9)
    8 May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust.
  7. Protect the people from evil, oppression and violence (v14a)
    14 He will rescue their life from oppression and violence
  8. Honor the fallen (v14b)
    And their blood will be precious in his sight
  9. Increase the prosperity, abundance and flourishing of the nation (v15,16)
    15 So may he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him; And let them pray for him continually; Let them bless him all day long. 16 May there be abundance of grain in the earth on top of the mountains; Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon; And may those from the city flourish like vegetation of the earth.
  10. Other nations should respect the nation (v17)
    17 May his name endure forever; May his name increase as long as the sun shines; And let men bless themselves by him; Let all nations call him blessed.
  11. Acknowledge the LORD as the source of all these blessings and seek His glory and that His name be magnified (v18-19)
    18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. 19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.

I can’t help but reflect that the conservative vision of government in the U.S. seems to align well with these principles.

Resources used:

  1. Sermon on Psalm 71 by Derek W.H. Thomas entitled: “Graying With Glory”: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=4161891740
  2. MacArthur Study Bible comments
  3. Bearing One Another’s Burdens – article by John MacArthur on Ligonier’s website: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/bearing-one-anothers-burdens/
  4. My mind (“we have the mind of Christ” – 1 Corinthians 2:16)

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