Morning Light – July 15th, 2016: Can You Hasten the Hand of God?

ml_2016Today: [Psalm 70-71] Can You Hasten the Hand of God? In chapter 70 and 71 of Psalms David is facing the eventuality of old age. He is facing difficult problems with the diminished capacities of advanced years. He cries out to God that He might hasten to his defense. There are times in your life that your strength will seem weak and you don’t know that you will be able to stand. David’s example is that of humble petition and abiding faith in the love of God even in the extremity of his own weakness.
[Psa 70:1-5 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David, to bring to remembrance.]] [Make haste], O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD. 2 Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. 3 Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha. 4 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. 5 But I [am] poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou [art] my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.
Psalm 70 is an overture of David in prayer regarding God’s timing. He mentions three times that he desires that the Lord would “make haste” to deliver him from the difficulty referenced in his prayer. Whatever the trial is it once again is dealing with someone who seeks his life. Why was David such a target? It was the anointing upon his life. Before Samuel anointed David not even his own family paid him much attention or thought anything of him. When the anointing of God to be king came upon David by laying on of hands from that day to the end of his life he was under constant threat from his enemies.
What is the anointing on your life? Do you even have one? Eph. 4:1 tells us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called. You do have a calling on your life. With that calling comes an anointing. You may not have ever activated or responded to that call but there is a call and an anointing that makes you a target and also makes you an authority in the earth. 1 John 2:20 tells us that each of us has an unction from the Holy One. 1 John 2:27 defines this as “the anointing” you have received. 2 Cor. 2:21 speaks of Jesus as the “Christ who has anointed us…” Whatever you may think of yourself the bible plainly says you not only have the Holy Spirit in you but you have the Holy Spirit on you to serve the greater purposes of God. It may or may not involve standing before great crowds but it is there nonetheless.
Because of the anointing on David the enemy sought his life. In other words the enemy isn’t after YOU he is after the GOD in you. In verse 4 David makes a curious change in the direction of his prayer. He says “let all those who seek THEE rejoice…” In other words David is saying “the devil is seeking ME but I am seeking THEE, Oh God. What a great spiritual warfare strategy. When we are come against the enemy wants us to put all our attention on him. David determines that he is going to seek the Lord in the midst of adversity in expectation that the hand of God will be hastened without tarrying in his behalf.
[Psa 71:1-24 KJV] 1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. 2 Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me. 3 Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou [art] my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. 5 For thou [art] my hope, O Lord GOD: [thou art] my trust from my youth. 6 By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise [shall be] continually of thee. 7 I am as a wonder unto many; but thou [art] my strong refuge. 8 Let my mouth be filled [with] thy praise [and with] thy honour all the day. 9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. 10 For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, 11 Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for [there is] none to deliver [him]. 12 O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.
Psalm 71 is again a psalm written when David’s faith is under fire from without. To the casual reader one might see David as needy and insecure. They might say “David don’t be such a baby… quit complaining so much!” Yet these themes are repeated over and over. God has not called us to self-sufficiency but to His all sufficiency. David knew what he was made of. Unlike Saul and so many kings after him in the royal line he knew his dependency was upon God. In verse one he starts out with a very bold prayer – he asks God to NEVER let him be put to confusion. This is so contrary to the pessimism in religious thinking today. Longfellow in writing of the seeming necessity of life’s difficulties wrote:
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.
Is this true? Is this the way David thought? So many of the songs we sing and sentiments we venerate in Christian culture are immersed in unbelief and oblique accusation against the goodness of God. In this psalm David plainly and simply asks God for deliverance without trying to conjure up some lofty supposed intent as to why he is facing his current difficulty. Apparently this psalm and the trial inspired by it take place when David is older and in advanced years. In verse 6 he states that God has upheld him from his mother’s womb. In verse 9 he speaks of his failing strength and petitions the Father not to forsake him or cast him off (as other are doing) just because he is not in robust youth.
We live in a culture where youth is worshipped almost above all else. We attempt to relive our youth. We seek to look youthful sometimes long after there is any practical expectation of that being successful. We warehouse our elderly in shuttered, locked institutions and gated compounds to shuttled them out of the way as we go on and live our lives. To some degree this was apparently true in David’s day. He sees the disdain others hold for his advanced years and cries out to God basically that he isn’t done and petitions for God’s favor and protection.
13 Let them be confounded [and] consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered [with] reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt. 14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. 15 My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness [and] thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers [thereof]. 16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, [even] of thine only. 17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. 18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto [this] generation, [and] thy power to every one [that] is to come. 19 Thy righteousness also, O God, [is] very high, who hast done great things: O God, who [is] like unto thee! 20 [Thou], which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. 21 Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. 22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, [even] thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. 24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.
Several times in this chapter as in chapter 70 David asks the Father to hasten to deliver him. In view of the factor of old age we can understand it. Many times I look at getting old and think “God if you are going to do ‘thus and so’ you better do it quick or I may not make through in time…” In verse 14 David speaks of his continual hope in God regardless of the outward circumstance. In verse 15 he commits with his mouth to declare the goodness of God every day because he doesn’t know how many days he has left in his lifespan. In verse 16 he speaks his faith that whatever time he has left to him will be spent in the strength of God with his testimony intact with nothing to be ashamed for.
In verse 18 David sees his aged state and gray hairs. He asks the Father to stand by him and give him grace to declare the righteousness of God to the generation that is coming up under him. In verse 21 he asks again for the quickening of his youth to do the Father’s will. He makes reference even after his death that is expectation is resurrection and a home in heaven. In all of this psalm and the psalm before it we see David grappling with his own longevity and the frustration of challenges and trials that come unchecked regardless of the passage of the years. Yet for all of this David simply keeps his eyes on God and petitions God to preserve him and hasten to defend him while he is in the land of the living, hoping for his testimony to be intact at the end of his days.

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