Hello. I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 70 is a short, sharp and passionate cry for help, with only five verses. The first and last verses ask God to come quickly to help. Verses two and three ask God to reverse the fortunes of the writer’s enemies, replacing their power and success with failure and disgrace. And verse four is an amazing affirmation of those who seek God. It says,
May all you seek you, God
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
‘The Lord is great!’ (v. 4).
I like that. “May those who seek him rejoice in him.” Often the picture I see in the psalms is a fearful believer, hiding in shadows from his enemies, hoping they won’t attack, crying desperately to God to save him before it is too late.
In this psalm, the poet counters that fearful view with the strong remedy of faith. May those who seek God rejoice and be glad in him, may those who wait for his salvation say, “The Lord is great.” The writer’s focus is:
- not on the enemies, but on God
- the mood is not desperation, but hope
- the scene is not fearful hiding, but public praise
- the speech that was formerly a desperate plea has turned to confident assertion.
Our father, we pray first for ourselves. When we cringe because of COVID, when we dread the disintegration of society, when we are dismayed by violent police and protesters, we look to you for salvation. We rejoice in you. You are great, Lord, in your rule over creation. Great in your kingship over the nations. Great in the salvation you bring to your people.
We think of Brazil, where the president is in COVID-denial, not believing the devastation the pandemic wreaks in his country, suppressing the statistics of death, desperately imagining a quick return to normal. Oh Lord, as your people in Brazil see mass graves, as they seek you and pray for your salvation, sustain them in faith and hope.
We think of Yemen, torn by years of civil war, as Saudi Arabia indiscriminately bombs the Houthi-held territory, as the infrastructure is destroyed and the pandemic runs unchecked. O God, may those in Yemen who seek you and pray for your salvation cling to the faith that you are great.
We think of Russia where 74 years of Communism failed to extinguish the Orthodox church, and of China where 72 years of Communism coincides with growth in the house church movement. O Lord, may those who seek you under repressive regimes everywhere find joy in your help and salvation.
We think of America, where the T-shirt says, “Don’t mess with my faith, my family, my firearms, my freedom”. Where many Christians have a fatal attraction to authoritarian leaders. Where the myth of freedom enslaves the country to violence and the myth of exceptionalism breeds the sin of arrogance. O Lord, may all who seek you in the culture of firearms and freedom find you and rejoice in you and trust in your salvation.
We think of Canada, adrift in a sea of moral and spiritual relativity. We are tolerant of everything, except clear moral values and righteousness. We pride ourselves on social progress, but we are progressing toward anarchy where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. We pride ourselves on a multi-ethnic society, ignoring the racial prejudice that simmers below the surface. May those of us who seek you here find joy in your presence and hope in your salvation.
Our father, this is your world of which we are stewards. This is our world in which we live. Be present and powerful in it. Come quickly to help us. We seek you with hope and joy.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.