Psalm 70

Psalm 70
O LORD, Do Not Delay
To the choirmaster. Of David, for the memorial offering.

(1)Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
(2)Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
(3)Let them turn back because of their shame who say, "Aha, Aha!"

(4)May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, "God is great!"
(5)But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

Psalm 70’s title in the New King James Version: Prayer for Relief from Adversaries. To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. To bring to remembrance.

To Bring to Remembrance (NKJV). Asking God to Remember Him (NLT).

This psalm is almost an exact repetition of Psalm 40:13-17. Psalm 40 was titled: Faith Persevering in Trial (NKJV); My Help and My Deliverer (ESV).

This psalm is adapted to a state of affliction; it is copied almost word for word from the fortieth, and, some think for that reason, is entitled, “a song of remembrance;” for it may be of use sometimes to pray over the prayers we have formerly made to God upon similar occasions, which may be done with new affections.

Matthew Henry, English minister, 1662-1714

Some commentators see this as an interesting bridge between Psalm 69 and Psalm 71, that the three may have somehow been linked together originally.

This memorial psalm acts as a connecting link between the two psalms of supplicatory expostulation, and makes up with them a precious triad of song.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Please, God, rescue me! Come quickly, LORD, and help me.
Psalm 70:1 NLT

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O LORD!
Psalm 70:1 NKJV

God does not need to be told to hurry up. He knows our needs and He knows the urgency in which we need His help and guidance. Maybe this little prayer is not perfect, but does that matter? God wants our imperfect prayers. He wants to hear what’s in our hearts; perfect or imperfect, complete or incomplete thoughts, ramblings or beautiful poetry. God wants to hear it.

It is interesting that David uses the Hebrew name for “God,” Elohim, then repeats his urgent plea with “LORD,” Jehovah or Yahweh or YHWH. The Hebrew name translated as LORD in English is the covenant name of God. The name is sacred to the Jewish faith, even today. When used, the name calls upon the promises and faithfulness of God throughout time to His people. David was in great distress.

Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life; let them be turned back and confused who desire my hurt. Let them be turned back because of their shame, who say, "Aha, aha!"
Psalm 70:2-3 NKJV

May those who try to kill me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, "Aha! We've got him now!"
Psalm 70:2-3 NLT

David prays for his enemies to be confused; for their evil plans to fall apart; and for them to see the wickedness of their ways. These people were openly mocking David, and David knew God’s promise of faithfulness to him. David knew God would deal justly with the people that have hurt him, that have stood in the way of his doing what the Lord had called him to do. David asked God for his enemies to regret their actions and to turn back.

The faith of the singer is evident in that he cries to God, and evidently has no room in his heart to question God’s ability to keep him. The only question is whether help will arrive in time.

G. Campbell Morgan, English preacher & author, 1863-1945
Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, "Let God be magnified!"
Psalm 70:4 NKJV

But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "God is great!"
Psalm 70:4 NLT

David turns his fretting into praise and a call to worship. David spoke his fear; he called out to God in his need, then he turned back to fellow believers and called for them to rejoice with him.

We can rejoice during times of trial and pain. Does this set us apart as Christians? It does and in fact, believers have an opportunity to witness to others during trials and suffering. We can rejoice because of our salvation. We can rejoice because we know God’s promises. We can rejoice because of God’s covenant hesed love of faithfulness throughout time and even today. We can rejoice because we know how the story ends.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 NLT

David didn’t know these words that Paul wrote in a letter to the church in Philippi. He didn’t know these wonderful, refreshing, and life-giving words that we have today, but he already believed them and lived his life by them.

But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O LORD, do not delay.
Psalm 70:5 NLT

But I am poor and needy; make haste to help me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay. 
Psalm 70:5 NKJV

David stopped for just a moment to praise, then he called upon God’s help once again. Psalm 40, the song that David wanted to sing again, ends in this way…

But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "The LORD is great!" As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.
Psalm 40:16-17 NLT

What a wonderful song, and what an incredible reminder that a “man after God’s own heart” can pen such words and the kingdom of Israel will remember them for millennia. So…my own ramblings, my own confused prayers, my anger and fear expressed however I can are also reaching the ears of my loving Father in heaven.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
Romans 8:26-28 NLT

Then here is a psalm for such days or hours. Let us take it and use it, knowing that He would far rather have in our song an expression of an honest questioning than any affection of a confidence not possessed. Moreover, He would rather have from us such a song than silence.

G. Campbell Morgan, English preacher & author, 1863-1945

Father in heaven, thank you for this beautiful little song of remembrance. Thank you for the reminder in your word that perfect prayers are not what you ask of us. You desire our hearts. Thank you for your promises and for your faithfulness. Strengthen us today to face whatever we must. Give us love and joy and hope. Amen.


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