Be pleased, O God, to deliver me. O Lord, make haste to help me! Let those be put to shame and confusion who seek my life. Let those be turned back and brought to dishonour who desire to hurt me. Let those who say, “Aha, Aha!” turn back because of their shame. Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. Let those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 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: 1-5 (NRSV)
Psalm 70 is one of those Psalms that expresses a longing for God to act. It’s an urgent prayer for help. It expresses a feeling of being short on time and long on need. In a few short words it expresses an abundance of feelings.
There are many moments in the life of every Christian where this Psalm sums up our deepest need. We want God to act and we want it now! Yet we are asked to wait. We feel the need to be vindicated. We want those who have hurt us to be exposed, to have justice done. In those moments, Psalm 70 provides us with a scriptural basis for lament, for airing our grievances and for asking for help, for acknowledging that life is not always warm and fuzzy. Psalm 70, for all its shortness, expresses our expectation that God must hear and act! It is also a reminder that we might not receive an immediate answer.
But there are also times in our lives where the urgency of Psalm 70 is not our own. There are moments when our days are easy, when we are in a good space. We may hear Psalm 70 but not really feel connected in the daily routine. We may be more interested in “what’s for lunch?” or the next big game. Our days may simply not have room for lament.
Yet it is perhaps on those days that we might benefit most from hearing this Psalm 70. After all, the urgent cry of the psalmist (“O Lord, make haste to help me!”) is someone else’s cry.
The psalm can serve as a powerful reminder that even while our own lives might be rolling regularly along, that is not necessarily the case for everyone. Others might be hurting, calling out for help, awaiting deliverance. Others might be crying out but hearing no response.
This Psalm calls us to stop and listen. Who around us is living in the reality of this Psalm? Who is desperate for help but waiting for God to intervene? Who might be crying, even though there are no visible tears? Who needs our love and reassurance while they wait upon the Lord?
Father, this Psalm has the capacity to say so much in such a few words. Keep my ears and heart open not only to my own cries but also to the cry of others who long for your deliverance and await your salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.