I will praise Him!
He is a Father to the fatherless.
Reading: Psalm 72
For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight. Long may he live!
May gold from Sheba be given him.
May people ever pray for him
and bless him all day long.
May grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
and thrive like the grass of the field.
May his name endure forever;
may it continue as long as the sun.
Then all nations will be blessed through him,
and they will call him blessed.
Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse (NIV).
This is the concluding portion of Solomon’s prayer. Many scholars view this as David’s prayer for Solomon, rather than a prayer written by Solomon. In either case, it is a prayer calling for God’s blessing on the king and the nation. This brings us to a question. What is the purpose of God’s blessing? Is it only for personal benefit?
The answer can be found in the first few lines above. The righteous king is blessed and given wealth and authority so that he can be a blessing to others. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
The great danger for any of us is that when blessings come, we accumulate these blessings for ourselves alone. Along with God’s blessings comes a responsibility to share and identify with those in need within our borders and beyond. We serve a God with a big heart. His love extends far beyond our narrow interests. God blesses His people abundantly, so that we can in turn bless others.
What a privilege we have to reflect the LORD’s character in a hurting world!
Response: LORD God, help me to see my many blessings as a gift from you. Show me today how I can be a blessing to others. You are my source. Lord, give me a generous spirit like you have. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you tempted to keep all of God’s blessings for yourself? How generous is your spirit?
Reading: Psalm 71
Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more.
I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—
I whom you have delivered.
My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion (NIV).
Typically Christians view resurrection as a New Testament concept, but here in the conclusion to Psalm 71, we can see that the Old Testament psalmist had a solid grasp of resurrection truths. Consider his words. Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
That sounds like resurrection to me. Jesus fulfilled the prophetic words of the psalmist when he stepped out of the tomb on resurrection morning. Elsewhere David spoke prophetically of Christ and his resurrection when he wrote, “I am your chosen one. You won’t leave me in the grave or let my body decay” (Psalm 16:10).
Peter sited this verse as proof of Jesus’ resurrection when he preached to the crowd that gathered on the Day of Pentecost. See Acts 2:22-36.
The promise of the resurrection filled the psalmist with hope and it should do the same for us. Because Jesus is alive now, we too will be raised to life. That thought should buoy us on tough days. When we lose a loved one, whose faith was rooted in God’s redeeming love, we can rest assured that our farewell is not forever. We will see them again at the resurrection. On that great day we can join with the psalmist and declare, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I whom you have delivered.”
Response: LORD God, thank you for the promise of resurrection. Thank you for the hope we have in Jesus. Through Jesus’ shed blood we have redemption, and the forgiveness that makes resurrection possible. Hallelujah! Amen.
Your Turn: Why is the resurrection meaningful to you?
Reading: Psalm 69
But as for me, afflicted and in pain—
may your salvation, God, protect me.
I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
The poor will see and be glad—
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
The LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that move in them,
for God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
the children of his servants will inherit it,
and those who love his name will dwell there (NIV).
The word ‘despite’ does not appear in this final reading from Psalm 69, but despite its absence it’s at the core of what David is saying here.
But as for me, afflicted and in pain—may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Despite affliction and pain David resolves to praise God and give Him thanks. David decides to rise above his circumstances. He does not give into his troubles and sorrows. He does not yield to the complaints of his body. Not by the flesh, but in the Spirit, he rises above his afflictions.
Often I would rather wallow in my difficulties and coddle my discomforts. But the LORD calls us to live on a higher plane. It takes praise, thanksgiving and a song in our heart to lift us to that higher level. But before the song comes and the praise begins to flow, we determine our response. We must decide. We have a ‘but-as-for-me’ moment.
Despite opposition from our flesh, despite the doubts and misgivings of our peers, we determine that God is worthy of our praise. He is the God of the afflicted—not just the God of the feel-good set—so let the thanksgiving begin and praise burst forth.
Often God sees our heart and He intervenes and our situation changes. But if not, He is still worthy of wholehearted praise. Take time to praise and thank Him now.
Response: LORD God, in my difficulties I praise you. This pain-prone human flesh praises you. Thank you for this life you have given me. Your goodness and mercy never end. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you living in a season when praise comes easily? Is praise difficult for you at times?