SOS: A Cry for Help (Psalm 70)

Scripture reading – Psalm 70

Our Scripture reading is from Psalm 70, and is titled, “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.” The occasion that inspired the psalm is not stated, but the tone of the song indicates it was during a time of crisis in David’s life, if not perhaps within Israel itself. I invite you to consider the psalm in four spiritual thoughts. * Note the brackets are those of the author and are meant to amplify word meanings.

A Cry for Help (70:1)

Psalm 70:11Make haste, O God [Elohim, Mighty God], to deliver [save; rescue] me; Make haste to help me, O Lord [Yahweh].

David prayed for the LORD to help, to come to his aid, and to make haste. We do not know the circumstances that prompted the king’s cry; however, there was a crisis and he was anxious for the LORD to come before it was too late.

A Cry for Vindication (70:2-3)

Psalm 70:22Let them be ashamed [put to shame; humiliated] and confounded [disgraced; dismayed] that seek after my soul [life; being]: Let them be turned backward, and put to confusion [humiliated; disgraced], that desire [take delight in] my hurt [misery; trouble; hurt].

Anyone in leadership can identify with the king’s anguish in this verse, for there are always those waiting for an opportunity to bring down a righteous man. David does not name his adversaries, but there were many who sought his ruin. He not only desired vindication, but longed that his enemies might be exposed, filled with shame, frustrated, and humiliated.

Psalm 70:33Let them be turned back for a reward [consequence; because] of their shame that say, Aha, aha. [the scorn of an enemy]

No one likes to hear, “I told you so.”  David especially did not want his enemies to have one word of reproach toward him or any of God’s people. He prayed that his enemies might not only suffer the shame and consequences of their sins, but also be frustrated in their efforts.

A Prayer for Those Who Seek the LORD (70:4)

Psalm 70:44Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad [merry] in thee: And let such as love thy salvation [deliverance; acts of salvation] say continually [continuously], Let God be magnified [be great; be strong].

Though hurting from the threats and attacks of those who sought his ruin, David did not allow his enemies to dominate his thoughts. His prayer turned from focusing on his adversaries, to praying for the saints. David prayed that those who seek the LORD might rejoice in Him, and delight in His salvation.

Contrast the scoffing of the wicked, “Aha, aha” (70:3), with the believer’s cry, “Let God be magnified” (70:4). Therein is the heart of people of faith! Let God be glorified, magnified, and lifted up!

David’s Humility and Confession (70:5)

Psalm 70:55But I am poor [wretched; humble; afflicted] and needy [in want]: make haste unto me, O God: Thou art my help [strength] and my deliverer [escape]; O Lord, make no tarrying [do not linger; do not delay].

David was king, and his outward man was far from “poor and needy,” but it was his inner man, his soul, that felt the sorrow and anxiety from the assaults of those who desired his ruin. The prayer (psalm) concludes as it began, with a cry for God to quickly respond, and a confession that the LORD alone was his “help” (strength), and “deliverer.

Closing thought – Where do you turn in times of distress and trouble? I fear many believers turn to their own wiles, and ways. Some are overcome with anxiety, and depression. Some may take their own lives in a desperate attempt to escape their sorrows.

Where should you turn? Follow David’s example, turn to the LORD, and He will be your help and deliverer.

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith