5. Help from a Righteous Lord! Psalm 71:19-24

Text: “Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.”

Psalm 71:20.

Good morning, victorious, senior Christian!  Your many years of life - a portion of which have been spent as a Spiritually regenerate Christian servant of Christ Jesus - has contained much experience of what the Psalmist calls ‘sore troubles’ – fears within, fightings without, instances of gross and personal failings and numerous exposures of very human faults and mistakes, as well as great victories and seeing souls saved, through the preaching/teaching of the Gospel of Christ Crucified. 

Yet, out of ALL this – the Lord God has never failed to ‘quicken’ you and I again, and again, dust us off, sanctify us afresh by the Blood of the Lamb, fill us afresh with God the Spirit, and grant us, not only His matchless grace and forgiveness, but a sure and certain victory over our most deadly oppressors, critics, and detracting enemies.  Hallelujah!  In Christ Jesus we are more than conquerors!  Glory, all glory, to His Holy Name!

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him (Jesus Christ) that loved us.”  (Romans 8:37-39)

Verse 19. “Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto Thee!  There is, of course, no one that has done anything infinitely close to what the Living Lord God, the Creator of all things, the Author of Salvation, has done – for Hell-deserving sinners such as we.  Glory to the Lord God of all Sovereign grace and mercy to gross sinners such as we.  The Lord God is our Divine helper. Praise His Name!

Resurrection: “The fact of our Lord’s resurrection rests on evidence which no infidel can ever explain away. It is confirmed by testimony of every kind, sort, and description. The plain unvarnished story which the Gospel writers tell about it, is one that cannot be overthrown. The more the account they give is examined, the more inexplicable will the event appear, unless we accept it as true. If we choose to deny the truth of their account, we may deny everything in the world. It is not so certain that Julius Caesar once lived, as it is that Christ rose again.

“Let us cling firmly to the resurrection of Christ, as one of the pillars of the Gospel. It ought to produce in our minds a settled conviction of the truth of Christianity. Our faith does not depend merely on a set of texts and doctrines. It is founded on a mighty historical fact which the sceptic has never been able to overturn. It ought to assure us of the certainty of the resurrection of our own bodies after death. If our Master has risen from the grave, we need not doubt that His disciples shall rise again at the last day.” (J.C. Ryle 1816-1900, The Resurrection, Apprising Ministries, online)

Verse 20. “Thou which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again (bring me from death to life again), and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  Mature, senior-aged Christians, have experienced vast experiences – some wonderful, some horrible, throughout many years of seeking to serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ.  One of the great Bible truths that has encouraged us down through the years, gave us necessary strength and fortitude to continue on in ‘…the faith once delivered unto the saints…’, has been the reality of our promised resurrection from the dead, to be with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, forever.  Wow!  Just the thought of spending Eternity in Heaven with Christ Jesus is such a wonderous source of continuing strength and perseverance in Christian faith!  Hallelujah!  True Christians are conquerors over death itself!  Glory to the Lamb!

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass this saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O Death where is thy sting?  O grave where is thy victory?  The sting of Death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye KNOW that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 15:52-58)

Verse 22. “I will also praise Thee. There is nothing as woeful, in my mind, than the professing Christian devoid of a ‘Hallelujah!’ of praise to the Lord God Jehovah.  One small thought of the resurrection of Spiritually regenerate believers, should immediately cause our hearts to reveal true joy, through the opening of our lips in fervent praise to the Lord God.  We praise Thy Name, oh Thou Holy One of Israel!  Glory and praise to Thee, oh God!

Verse 23. “…and my soul, which Thou hast redeemed. Soul-singing is the soul of singing.  Till men are redeemed, they are like instruments out of tune; but when once the precious Blood has set them at liberty, then are they fitted to magnify the Lord Who bought them.  Our being bought with a price is a more than sufficient reason for our dedicating ourselves to the earnest worship of God, our Saviour.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, pages 307-308)

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (entire lifestyle) received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.”         (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Let us make the unsaved world all around us KNOW we belong to Christ – sing it out!

Silence is not always golden – often it is just merely YELLOW!  Speak out, Christian!

“How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”  (Romans 10:14-15)

Thought: Verse 24. “My tongue also shall talk of Thy righteousness all the day long. I will talk to myself, and to Thee, my God, and to my fellow-men: my theme shall be Thy way of justifying sinners, the glorious display of Thy righteousness and grace in Thy dear Son; and this most fresh and never-to-be-exhausted subject shall be ever with me, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 308)

4. Mature Christian Hope Psalm 71:14-18

Text: “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more.  My mouth shall show forth Thy righteousness and Thy Salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.”

Psalm 71:14-15.

Good morning, prevailing, mature Christian!  As your years have come and gone and multiplied from your youth until now - an age of senior maturity - not only in years, but in ‘grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ…’; your hope in Him has never waned, never been snuffed out, even after enduring many afflictions of age, and the ever-present attacks of your Christian warfare in the service of King Jesus.  Praise God for senior mature Christians!  You are the salt of the earth, and a credit to your Lord God.

Verse 14. “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more.  True Christian hope is not some vague notion that, ‘Well, something might occur that brings relief for me in the situation I, or my loved ones are in.’. No!  Christian hope is based, first on the sure promises of God contained in our KJV Bibles, which is the inspired (God-breathed) Word of the Living Lord God Jehovah, and God is not a man that He should lie, thus, Christian hope is based firmly in certainty of Divine fulfilment and Omnipotent help.

“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent (say He will do, and not do it.): hath He said, and shall He not do it?  Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?  Behold (look, and fully understand), I have received commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.”  (Numbers 23:19-20)

Secondly, Christian hope is based on the certainty of God’s past help in times of stress and dire troubles – this is what makes the mature, senior Christian a powerful prayer-warrior and perseverer in the ‘faith once delivered unto the saints…’! (Jude 3)

Having actually experienced many memorable times of God’s faithful help in the past, the mature Christian is blessed with that extra faith in God’s grace for present and future times of stress or troubles.  As the precious chorus instructs us: “Count your blessings, name them one by one…and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”  Past blessings and help from God’s Sovereign hand, enhances Christian faith in the believer who has received it.  Praise God for His matchless and ever-given grace!

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:16)

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)

Verse 15.  “My mouth shall show forth Thy righteousness and Thy Salvation all the day.  Please take sure note, Reader, it is not the Psalmist’s righteousness that he is seeking to show forth for us – because, as Paul teaches us in Romans chapter three, we have no righteousness of our own to set forth to anyone! 

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…there is none doeth good, no, not one.”  (Romans 3:10-18)

Specifically, therefore, it is at all times the Supreme righteousness and Salvation of the Lord God alone that the Psalmist here is setting forth and exalting from his lips, for this is the only righteousness that grants access into Heaven, through the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross for sinners.  Sinners like you and me can come no other way.

“Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12)

“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (necessary things in life) shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Verse 16. “…I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only.  Again, the Psalmist repeats this vital point of Salvation; this singular focus on the importance of Christ’s righteousness; the Father’s Holiness; the Spirit’s regenerational necessity – if sinner’s souls are to be born again and brought into God’s family through His great and Sovereign grace.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”                    (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The Scriptural way of Eternal Salvation in Christ Jesus is the only way for repentant sinners to access a Holy Heaven.  It’s God’s way, or the highway.  Heaven or Hell.  Glory to the Lamb Who was slain to make the true and only way to Heaven for sinners such as we! 

Verse 17. “O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth.  Such is the vital importance of sending our children to Sunday Schools, Christian Youth activities; Scripture Unions, etc. – the life-giving truth of God’s Word must be instilled early in our children’s hearts, if they are to be spared lives of sin and the misery it inevitably brings.  God’s Word is sheer truth. 

Teach God’s Word in the home, if we ever love our children enough to save their souls. A home with an open Bible will always be a home filled with the love of God.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  (Proverbs 22:6)

Verse 17. “…Hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works.  “How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher? So, then faith cometh by hearing (reading), and hearing by the Word of God.”  (Romans 10:13-17)

Verse 18. “Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed Thy strength unto this generation, and Thy power to every one that is to come.”  Take note again, Reader, it is God’s strength and God’s power the Psalmist is inspired to show unto his generation.  The arm of our own strength/power will always fail us, we must go in and out in the strength and power of Omnipotent Lord God Jehovah.

“But ye (God’s people) shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

True Christian hope has been inspired as true Christian strength from God has been given – time and time again, to the mature Christian believer.  This is what makes him/her ‘prevailing, mature Christians’; seeing God’s hope fulfilled, and His power exercised in His own Cause of Christ and Him Crucified for the Salvation of gross sinners.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour Lord God we have in the risen Christ Jesus.

Thought:  Lord God, enable me to show forth Thy power, to the Salvation of many.

3. From Persecution to Victory! Psalm 71:10-13

Text: “Oh God, Thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy wonderous works.  Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed Thy strength unto this generation, and Thy power to every one that is to come.”

Psalm 71:17-18.

Good morning, grey-headed Christian!  You fully realise that the years of time that our Sovereign Lord God has ordained us, His creatures, to live, has an average of ‘three-score years and ten’, that is seventy years approximately, of life expectancy.  Praise God!  If He has ordained that some of us live longer than this, with the added years, may well come the added ailments and infirmities of our human bodies.  Yet, all is well, when we know our times are in the hands of a truly Sovereign and all-gracious Lord God.

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  (Psalm 90:10)

The author can quickly affirm the veracity of the above quoted Bible verse, because I am living the realities of it at 76 years of age.  Sometimes ‘seeing IS believing’, my friend.  I have overreached my ‘three score years and ten’ - and my frequent trips to the bathroom in the night seasons alone, confirms the attendant ’labour and sorrow’ promised in God’s Word.  God’s Word is truth.

“So, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”    (Psalm 90:12)

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.”  (John 17:17)

“Psalm 71 has been called “The Prayer of the Aged Believer”.

“We have here “The Prayer of the Aged Believer”, who in holy confidence of faith, strengthened by a long and remarkable experience, pleads against his enemies and asks further blessings for himself.  Anticipating a gracious reply, he promises to magnify the Lord exceedingly.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 305)

“It is not unnatural or improper for a man who sees old age coming upon him to pray for special grace, and special strength, to enable him to meet what he cannot ward off, and what he cannot but dread; for, who can look upon the infirmities of old age, as coming upon himself, but with sad and pensive feelings.

“Who would wish to be an old man?  Who can look upon a man tottering with years, and broken down with infirmities; a man whose sight and hearing are gone; a man who is alone amidst the graves of all the friends that he had in early life; a man who is a burden to himself, unto the world; a man who has reached the ‘last scene of all that ends in strange, eventful history’ – that scene of ‘Second childishness, and mere oblivion…’” (C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, page 306)

At 76 years of age, I, the author, can relate very closely to what is here written on the subject of ‘old age’, in relative human experience, and as a mature senior Christian of over 44 years on the road of Christ’s Salvation.  Special grace has been my personal plea, and special grace has been granted by our truly Sovereign and gracious Lord God.  Ask for it, fellow mature senior Christian, it will be given you, according to the Sovereign will of God.

Hear what John Wesley says on this vital subject: 

Verse 9. “Forsake me not when my strength faileth. “June 28.  This day I enter on my eighty-sixth year.  I now find I grow old: 1. My sight is decayed, so that I cannot read small print, unless in a strong light. 2. My strength is decayed, so that I walk much slower that I did some years since.  3. My memory of names, whether persons or places, is decayed, till I stop a little to recollect them.

“What I should be afraid of, is, if I took thought for the morrow, that my body should weigh down my mind, and create either stubbornness, by the decrease of my understanding, or peevishness, by the increase of bodily infirmities; but Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord, my God.”  (John Wesley 1703-1791) 

Verse 10. “For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together.  No change here, then!  If a Christian man or woman is seeking to be faithful and obedient to the Lord God Jehovah, in Christ Jesus, he/she shall endure this treatment from the world, the flesh, the Devil – and in my own experience – even from other’s professing Christ as their Saviour. Fact.

Verse 11. “Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver.  Oh, bitter taunt!  There is no worse arrow in all the quivers of Hell.  Our Lord felt this barbed shaft, and it is no marvel if His disciples feel the same.  Where this exclamation the truth, it were indeed an ill day for us; but, glory be to God, it is a barefaced lie.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 307)

Persecution is, as we have constantly affirmed throughout this exposition of the Books of the Psalms, a sure expectation for every genuine Bible-believing, born again, Christian man or woman – and especially so, if the believer is engaged in active service to King Jesus Christ.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”  (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

In my experience, these ever-present hindrances and persecutions and oppositions, do not decrease when the active-service Christian grows older in human years - in fact, those that are Satanically inspired to oppose Christ’s people seem to wax bolder in their oppositions and intended persecutions when they see with their faithless eyes that the Christian is getting old.  Hyenas love to single out the weakest deer for their deadliest attacks.

To this end, the persecuted Christian cries out to his/her faithful Father-God for His ‘ever-present’ help.  It is, in my long experience, ever given – but only in God’s own Sovereign will and time.

Verse 12.  “O God, be not far from me: my God, make haste for my help.  David’s enemies watched carefully, spied upon him at every opportunity, to see if his God would help him to thwart their persecutions and hindrances of the Psalmist.  When they saw that the Lord seemed to tarry a while before baring His Almighty arm, they falsely, supposed that God had forsaken him, and therefore planned to persecute David further, as there seemed to be no one to deliver him.  How wrong they were!  David immediately cried out a Divine imprecation against them, a weapon seldom used in our toothless church worldwide today.  Verse 13. “Let them be confounded…consumed…covered with dishonour that seek my hurt.”  Bible history shows that David’s imprecatory prayer was heard and answered.

Thought: Persecutions of true Christians only promotes Victories from the Christ. Pray on, aged and feeble Christian – your prayers are powerful to God’s praise.