Psalm 71

The Psalms

Psalm 71
In youth and in old age

Psalms index

Psalm 71

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. 5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. 6 From my birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. 7 I have become like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. 8 My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendour all day long.

9 Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. 10 For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. 11 They say, “God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no-one will rescue him.” 12 Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. 13 May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 But as for me, I shall always have hope; I will praise you more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. 16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. 17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. 19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? 20 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. 21 You will increase my honour and comfort me once again. 22 I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed. 24 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.


Psalm 71 – In youth and in old age

(Verses 1-8) This psalm is the psalmist’s personal prayer to God from start to end. He reminds God that He has been his refuge in whom his confidence has been right up to now, from birth and through youth. He still asks his Sovereign LORD to keep him from shame, to continue to be his ever available ‘rock of refuge’, to save him and deliver him from wicked and cruel men. He is determined to always praise God and declare His ‘splendour all day long.’ He does not merely want to be delivered by God from his foes: he asks God, ‘deliver me in your righteousness’. He seeks more than protection and survival: he wants to live a godly and holy life conforming to God’s righteousness. It is a sure mark of conversion to Christ that the person trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, wants to be holy, for ‘without holiness no-one will see the Lord.’ (Hebrews 12:14). Do you know Christ? Are you seeking to live a holy life?

(Verses 9-13) Faced with coming old age and increasing weakness, the psalmist asks God not to forsake him. His enemies conspire to kill him and tell him God has forsaken him. Actually, you do not need to ask God not to forsake you if you have trusted in Jesus as the One who bore your sins and punishment on the cross, rose again from the dead, and entered your life when you repented of sin and received Him as Saviour. God’s promise is ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6) and, in Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells His disciples ‘surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ He cannot break His word.

(Verses 14-24) If you know Christ as your Saviour, pray for the same attitude of gratitude and determination to share, now and in old age, God’s word and His gospel of forgiveness with many people. After all,

‘There is only one thing matters
in this passing world of sin,
That our lives should tell for Jesus:
be of some account for Him.’