Sermon / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Wednesday Prayer Service / Wednesday November 1st 2017 - / Psalm 70 / Urgency and Simplicity
Text: Psalm 70
Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let them turn back because of their shame
who say, “Aha, Aha!”
May all who seek You
rejoice and be glad in You!
May those who love Your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay!
Theme: Urgency and simplicity
Intr – Dear friends, two words can lead us into Psalm 70 today, and help us to draw comfort to our daily lives. URGENCY and SIMPLICITY.
1 – URGENCY
Urgency is stated in the very first verse of the Psalm. If we look to the Hebrew here, this is what we get: “O God, to deliver me! O Lord to help me, make haste!” The original text brings the urgency of the cry of David, as he asks for God.
In this Psalm we don’t have a specific context in which or to which it was written. It looks more like a general prayer for times of distress, to be used by anyone. That includes you; you and me.
When we are undergoing problems, distress, we are living urgent times. And, like a slogan once used to help feeding poor people says: “Whoever is hungry is in a hurry”. There is no time for thinking, brainstorming, figuring out solutions and then scheduling the next month meeting when we will address it on the “old business” topic. It is now. It is urgent.
We know however the long time repeated – and still true – saying about the difference about God’s time and our time. Chronos, our time, and Kairos, God’s. The time we see on the clock and on the calendar is different from the time that runs in heaven. God’s clock has a different ticking. We often think it is slower than ours. But the fact is that it are not slow or fast. It is precise; timely. It is always on time.
I know it is hard for us to figure this out, and even worse to accept it as God’s good will for our life. When we are in the midst of suffering our sense of urgency is compelling and we tend to think that in the end God is not that hasty in delivering us. So let me illustrate this point.
There are moments in a child’s life that they simply can’t understand why their parents would allow them so much suffering without delivering them from it. For example: when they are taken to vaccines or exams. Some children would be afraid and cry, and that half or full hour they spent at the lab or at the doctor will seem to them endless. They just can’t figure out why would such heartless parents allow them to undergo that. The parents know though that they are doing what is good to their child. It may be even difficult for them to watch their little one cry, but they will hang tough and let the “trial” have its way until all that is needed is completed. Well, I had myself this experience recently and it wasn’t even about vaccines, but about a haircut. Charles cried so loud and so desperately in my lap that eventually I had to give up and tell the hair dresser that was enough. But still I held him for what for 5 minutes – to me almost nothing, but for him eternity - because I know he needed that. It was for His good.
We can’t always understand why our Father in Heaven is allowing us to undergo ordeals in life. But we can always trust He is always watching and caring for our good. Even because He gave His own Son in our place, He knows what it takes to see your only Son suffering and dying, but still keeping His plan of love until everything was completed – for our good. The psalmist declares: “You are my help and my deliverer”. Yes, He is. “Please do not delay”. For sure, He never delays. He is always there, present and precise.
2 – SIMPLICITY
Another aspect of the Psalm besides urgency: simplicity. David uses few but effective words to express his need before God. He is being persecuted unjustly. He asks God to punish the wicked and deliver them.
This is a good thing to have in mind when we know we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. But we know also that God’s utter word for the ones who despise His Word and live in their evil ways is, unfortunately, condemnation. So the Psalmist asks for God’s Divine Justice. The point here is that he is not looking to make justice with his own hands, but asking for God to act. The same Jesus who taught us to love is the one who rebuked strongly the enemies of the Gospel.
In the end, the tension here is minimized when we remember that loving someone doesn’t mean to always say “yes” and yield. When you love someone you will need sometimes to be even fierce and strong, because by using the Law you want to direct people to the Gospel of forgiveness.
This is the simplicity implied here. Simple words, short sentences that show placing faith in God as the Deliverer and Judge, Living under Him; trusting only in Him.
And also, asking only to Him. We cannot have our help in any other place, object, or good works. Only through God’s Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, we have peace and salvation.
Still one note: We see “make haste” two times in verse 1. But in the original text there is only one. Psalm 70 is a doublet with psalm 40. If you look to Psalm 40:13-18 you’ll have almost the exact same words. That may be because they were in two separate Psalters which later where gather together into one. And in Psalm 40:13, we see the same verse. There, it begins not with “make haste” but with “be pleased”. Thanks be to God that He is always pleased to help us, save us – to be with us for all the time. He is pleased to have had provided our Salvation in Christ. He is pleased in walking with us all the way along.
Today we think of and commemorate the faithfully departed. Those who have called out in their life “make haste o God to deliver me!” Our loved ones that in Christ Jesus have received their deliverance. David is part of that number and one day each of us will be too. This prayer from Psalm 70 is answered at the cross; and it is answered also in the hour of our death as we die in faith in Jesus.
Cc – Urgency and simplicity. That is how David approaches God in times of distress. That is how we can come to our Lord Jesus; bringing Him our urgency and simplicity in our prayer; trusting Him in our hearts; no matter what the circumstance, even in death; knowing that He will make haste in delivering us. Amen.