Saturday, 2 August 2014

(215) August 3: Psalm 70-72 & Romans 4

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­
As you read consider how these psalms looks more specifically to Christ.

To ponder:
Like Psalm 69, Psalm 70 asks for a speedy salvation, affirming David’s own need, and that God is his help and deliverer (70v1, 5). And as with previous psalms, David asks for shame, confusion, disgrace and a turning back for those who seek his ruin; and for joy and praise to come to God from those who seek him – ie. seek and so delight in his salvation as David does (70v2-4). The psalm therefore provides a simple prayer when opposed and feeling desperate, whilst also reaffirming how fitting it is to praise God for the salvation he grants.
            Psalm 71 is the last psalm of David; and he is old (71v9, 18). Once more he affirms he has taken refuge in God, and on that basis asks again for rescue from his rock and fortress so that he would not be put to shame by being overcome by his enemies (71v1-4). David appeals to the fact that God has been his hope from birth, and that he will always praise him. And so he asks God not to forsake him now he is old, as his enemies say he has (71v5-12). Desiring his accusers perish in shame and disgrace, David affirms he will always have hope, praise God, and tell of his salvation, just as he has declared God’s deeds since his youth. And so he asks God not to forsake him until he has told the next generation of God’s power (71v13-18). It’s quite a life’s legacy, and inspires those who hear to the same ambition.
            David goes on to affirm the limitlessness of God’s righteousness, seeing nothing about this as inconsistent with the fact that God had “made” him “see troubles, many and bitter.” David’s vision of God is bigger than that. And so he is confident that even after death, God will restore his life and grant him honour (71v19-21). This chronology of suffering, death and then resurrection is of course another messianic pattern David’s life set for his greatest son, and so proof that Jesus was indeed the Christ. David ends the psalm affirming that even though now old, he will praise God with joy for his faithfulness and righteousness by which those wanting to harm him have been put to shame and confusion. May we spend our old age praising God for his works in our lives, and most specifically as we look to our resurrection, for our redemption through Christ.
            72v20 tells us Psalm 72 finishes this second section of Psalms, and indeed the entire book to this point, which has been composed almost entirely by David. But by concluding with a psalm by Solomon (see title) we are being forced to recognise David’s psalms looked beyond himself, to the fulfilment of God’s promise in his descendents (see 2 Sam 7v10-16). Solomon begins picking up the mantel with a prayer that at first glance seems to be for God to equip him for his rule with justice and righteousness (72v1-2, just as he also prayed for wisdom). Verses 3-4 picture the people’s righteousness being rewarded with agricultural fruitfulness just as the covenant promised (Deut 28-30), whilst the king defends the needy against the oppressor. So the psalm recognises the need for a righteous ruler if the covenant is to be kept and its blessings received (72v7). But then, Solomon hints that he doesn’t see himself as this ruler. Rather, he affirms this king will endure through all generations and be like life-giving showers to the earth. This refers to God’s promise of an everlasting kingdom to David, for which Solomon understands God will provide an everlasting king.
            Solomon continues by describing how this king will be given tribute and allegiance by all kings and nations (72v8-11, see Gen 49v10) because of his justice, mercy and care for the weak and needy (72v12-14). There was of course some fulfilment of this in Solomon’s reign as the Queen of Sheba (see 72v10, 15) marvelled at the wisdom of his rule, gave him tribute, and praised his God (1 Kgs 10v1-13). But if this had happened by the time this psalm was written, Solomon seems to see it as paradigmatic for the Messiah, as the psalm not only expresses desire that the king enjoy long life, the people’s prayers and blessings, fruitful harvests, and everlasting honour (72v15-17), but then declares nothing less than that God’s promise to Abraham will be fulfilled through him as all nations will be blessed and will call him blessed (72v17, see Gen 12v2-3, Matt 21v9). This psalm is therefore critically important in giving understanding of how God’s promise to David was expected to be fulfilled, declaring the perfection, universality and eternality of Christ’s rule, and the sort of kingdom that would flourish under it.
            72v18-20 provide the conclusion to the wider section (compare 41v13). Reflecting David’s emphasis, it desires praise to be given to God for the marvellous deeds he has performed, and that this praise should be both everlasting and universal, so the “whole earth is filled with his glory” in the sense of both speaking of it in praise, and experiencing it in the acts eliciting that praise. And this will be the case when those of all nations one day gather around God’s throne (Rev 7v9-12).

Praying it home:                                                                                   
Praise God for the perfection of Christ’s rule and coming kingdom. Pray that you would continue to praise God with joy in your old age.

Thinking further:
None today.

If you receive this post by email, visit and make a comment.


Post a Comment