I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.
Psalm 71 – Older in Years, Strong in Faith
I have become a wonder to many, but You are my strong refuge : Because of the many adversities and attacks, many people were amazed at the psalmist. They were in wonder that a man — especially one so committed to God — could be so afflicted. Despite it all, he found a strong refuge in God Himself. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise : Because God had been so faithful as a strong refuge , the psalmist was determined to speak praise unto God and speak of His glory. He fills us with good; let us be also filled with gratitude.
This would leave no room for murmuring or backbiting. Do not forsake me when my strength fails : The psalmist knew the faithfulness of God through his younger years and now asked that God continue that faithfulness in his old age and as his strength fails. Who would wish to be an old man? The psalmist did not only speak of the loss of physical and mental strength, but also the potential loss of spiritual strength. Not every believer grows stronger in the Lord as he grows older.
The Bible is filled with examples of those who sinned or fell away in the older years. For my enemies speak against me : The psalmist knew what his adversaries said against him. He knew they claimed that God has forsaken him and there is none to deliver him. His adversity made them think God was no longer with him, so it was a good time to attack pursue and take him.
Were this exclamation the truth, it were indeed an ill day for us; but, glory be to God, it is a barefaced lie.
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O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor Who seek my hurt. He felt as if delayed help was no help at all. The psalmist had to deal with the fact that as his years advanced, his troubles did not go away. The problems remained.
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This is a significant test for some believers, but the psalmist understood it as compelling his constant and more personal trust in God. Let them be confounded and consumed…Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor : This was the help the psalmist asked for. He wanted God to strike his adversaries with confusion and consumption, with disapproval and dishonor. He not only wanted them defeated, but also discredited. But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits.
I will go in the strength of the Lord God ; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more : The psalmist was in a serious crisis and depended upon God for help.
A Closer Look at the "Crucifixion Psalm" | Outreach Judaism
Psalm 71 is a wonderful combination of both problems and praise. As thy blessings abound, so shall my praises. They are limitless. Such a one engageth with omnipotence on his side, and cannot but be victorious. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. You have taught me from my youth : The psalmist had the blessed fortune to have followed God and learned of Him from his young years. There is no fluttering about from one fad to another, from one controversy to another.
The learner had not sought another school, nor had the Master turned off his pupil. It is pitiful when its pessimism cools the ardours of youth. It is beautiful when its witness stimulates the visions and inspires the heroism of the young. You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. He fulfills his vows with a thanksgiving sacrifice which involves the eating of a meal. All offer praise to God because God heard the cry of the afflicted and brought deliverance The circle of praise now moves from the psalmist and Israel to all nations on the earth verses , as well as people before us in time 29 and those who will come after us At the beginning of the psalm, the psalmist felt isolated and alone in space and time.
Here at the end, the praise of God goes out to fill all space and time. Psalm 22 is, thus, the prayer of a just one who suffers innocently, of one who is surrounded by enemies and mocked precisely because of his fidelity to God. When God hears this cry and delivers, the just one offers praise and thanksgiving to God.
Lament: Part One (verses 1-11)
We are so used to seeing Jesus on the cross that a lot of the shock of it has worn off. As one observer has noted, if Jesus were to come to earth today and be sentenced to death, he would most likely be electrocuted. Then Christians all over the world would wear around their necks little silver and gold electric chairs! The Passion narratives, then, were perhaps the first Gospel materials to have taken shape. And like all the Gospel material, the Passion story is not a bare chronicle of past events but is filled with the faith of the earliest Christians who struggled to understand and explain the tragic death of Jesus.
Nothing happened by chance or misfortune. A further comment is called for regarding an allusion which we might expect to find but, in fact, is not there. It is, however, not used in the New Testament. The original Hebrew of this verse is quite obscure, and its absence in the New Testament suggests that at this point the earliest Christians were not using the Greek. Can we still affirm this today? It would be wrong to consider the prophecies of the Old Testament as some kind of photographic anticipations of future events.
As I have already explained, these are not words of despair but an expression of faith. The Gospel of John shows us a more exalted Jesus who is more or less in control during his Passion; the darker elements are removed.
But Matthew and Mark show us more the human Jesus who entered fully into our human condition. This is not a sentimental kind of piety. But this question has it backwards. For us, as human beings, death is dark and scary and real.
Chapter Three. The Tension Between Lament And Praise In Psalm 22
Even though we believe and trust in God, death can cause anxiety and anguish. We live in a culture which, in many ways, is death-denying; it is afraid to take a clear look at the fact and the meaning of mortality. The cry of the psalmist is a profoundly human cry. Perhaps it is a witness our society could benefit from hearing. Many, including both political and religious leaders, found this offensive and threatening.
If we show fidelity to the teaching and example of Jesus, we can face similar reactions. We may not face actual death. But we can face opposition and mockery in lesser, more subtle ways that are still painful.
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Do we continue to trust in the Lord? In addition, while there are no certain references in the New Testament to the second part of Psalm 22 the hymn of praise , we do see in the Gospels that Jesus was vindicated. Through the death of Jesus, the meaning of death has been, as it were, changed from the inside. Instead of representing the ultimate separation, it is now the path to greater union. The risen Christ is present now in our midst and gathers a congregation of faith around him to recount the praises of what God has done and to share in a thanksgiving eucharistic meal.
At the end of Psalm 22, as in the Gospels, the circle of praise should go out to embrace the whole world. It is a vision of inclusiveness that breaks down all the barriers that we, as humans, are too eager to set up. We know what he is saying. Do we understand its meaning and the challenge that it represents? My hands and feet have shriveled;. All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
May your hearts live forever! Michael D. Painful Prayer When we feel blessed in life and experience goodness and wholeness, we turn to God in praise and thanksgiving. Praise: Part One verses The change in tone from part one to part two is quite pronounced.