Psalms 69-72
(Dear God, Hurry Up Already!)
June 16th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2015

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For your convenience, links are provided below that take you directly to today's chapters in multiple Bible versions on the website. Choose your preferred translation for today:

Psalms 69-72 (King James Version - KJV)
Psalms 69-72 (New Revised Standard Version - NRSV)
Psalms 69-72 (New International Version - NIV)
Psalms 69-72 (The Message - MSG)

In addition, the link below takes you to the NAB version from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Psalm 69 (New American Bible - NAB) (click the "next chapter" link on the site for chapters 70-72)

Summary of Chapters

This final group of chapters in the second book of Psalms are focused mostly on protection but ends with prophesy regarding a king who endures forever. Psalm 69 is a relatively long prayer for protection that begins with vivid metaphors and hyperbole that characterize the suffering of the psalmist. He cries to God as he sinks in miry depths engulfed by floodwaters. The author then describes the overwhelming quantity of his oppressors and the unfair accusations against him:

    More numerous than the hairs of my head
    are those who hate me without cause.
    Those who would destroy me are mighty,
    my enemies without reason.
    Must I now restore
    what I did not steal?

    - Psalm 69:5 (NAB)

Before going too far in judging others, the author confesses his own guilt and asks for mercy so that others who believe are not shamed. He returns to aquatic metaphors as he asks to be rescued and described the scorn “they” have subjected him to such as giving him “vinegar for this thirst (Ps 69:21 - NIV).”

In addition to asking for rescue, the psalmist asks for retribution. He provides detailed descriptions of the consequences he would like the enemy to receive, such as “may their eyes be darkened and their backs be bent forever (Ps 69:23 - NIV).” He ends with praise and the description of the world he envisions after God’s deliverance.

The 70th Psalm could be considered as a brief post script to the 69th, intended to emphasize to God the urgency of the situation.

    God! Please hurry to my rescue!
      GOD, come quickly to my side!
      Those who are out to get me—
       let them fall all over themselves.
    Those who relish my downfall—
      send them down a blind alley.
    Give them a taste of their own medicine
    ,   those gossips off clucking their tongues.

    Let those on the hunt for you
       sing and celebrate.
    Let all who love your saving way
       say over and over, "God is mighty!"

    But I've lost it. I'm wasted.
       God—quickly, quickly!
    Quick to my side, quick to my rescue!
      GOD, don't lose a minute.

    - Psalm 70 (MSG)

The 71st Psalm appears to be written by an older man who recognizes God’s presence throughout his life – going back to the womb. The author pleads with God to continue to bless him in his old age, and in turn he commits to continue praising the LORD.

Psalm 72 ends the second book of the Psalms with a royal Psalm that praises a king. It may be a prophetic prayer for the Messiah who will achieve great things and have an everlasting reign:

    He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

    They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

    - Psalm 72:4-5 (KJV)

Reflection and Application

What can we discern about praying from this group of Psalms? We ought to be reassured that God welcomes our raw thoughts in our prayers. The psalmist in number 69 used metaphors and exaggeration, but surely the God of all creation can easily interpret all of this because he knows exactly what is happening in our life. Another lesson from Psalm 69 is the importance of confessing our sins, even when we feel we are unfairly harassed.

Is it acceptable to pester God to hurry up for heaven’s sake? We generally don’t like it when other people hound us to speed up, but we are not God. The psalmist did not hesitate to ask God to expedite matters in Psalms 69 and 70, but at the same time he expressed confidence that God will deliver. We can ask God to hurry, but must be prepared to accept his interpretation of a New York City minute.

    But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

    - 2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

While we are waiting for his response we could take time to reflect on God’s involvement in our life from birth, as the author did in Psalm 70. Yes, he allowed bad things to happen to us, and perhaps even worse things for others, but he has always been a presence and forgives us for when we have trespassed on others.

We are blessed to live in the era after the Resurrection. Some of the psalmists prophesized the coming of the Messiah, but did not know when it would occur, and did not experience the event while on earth.

For example, Psalm 69 foretold the suffering Jesus would experience, including the cruel offering of sour vinegar to quench his thirst. In another example from this group, Psalm 72 describes the glory of a king who reigns over all nations, forever, but the human kings in Israel only reigned for a speck in time. The psalmist would not survive long enough to witness the Christ on earth. One assumes they would have recognized how Jesus fulfilled the words that they had prophesized.

As members of the 21st Century we can give praise and make joyful noises for the endless reign of Christ that we have heard of and experienced, now in its second millennium of operation. Delivered in God’s time, as glorious as advertised, and celebrated by all the nations.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Have you ever been in a flood of water? What was that like?
    2. Which of your petititions you would like to see God expedite?
    3. What are the blessings that God has provided since your birth?
    Recommended Prayer
    God, we know you have your own timetable for resolving the problems of the world. We are grateful that you are patient with us and provide us with many opportunities to repent.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People who are waiting for justice to be served

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Psalms 73-77 (The Great Defender)

    Comments and Questions
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