(The following texts highlighted in this color of blue is taken from
The Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon) "Excerpted text
Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved. Materials are reproduced
There is no title to this Psalm, and hence some conjecture that Psalm 70 is
intended to be a prelude to it, and has been broken off from it. Such
imaginings have no value with us. We have already met with five Psalms
without title, which are, nevertheless, as complete as those which bear
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.
DIVISION. The first four verses are faith's cry for help; the next four are a
testimony of experience. From vs. 9-13, the aged saint pleads against his foes,
and then rejoices in hope, vs.14-16. He returns to prayer again in vs.17-18,
repeats the confident hopes which cheered his soul, vs.19-21; and then he closes
with the promise of abounding in thanksgiving. Throughout, this Psalm may be
regarded as the utterance of struggling, but unstaggering, faith.
1 “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust:” - Jehovah deserves our
confidence; let Him have it all. Every day must we guard against every form
of reliance upon an arm of flesh, and hourly hang our faith upon the ever
faithful God. Not only on God must we rest, as a man stands on a rock, but
in Him must we trust, as a man hides in a cave. The more intimate we are
with the Lord, the firmer will our trust be. God knows our faith, and yet He
loves to hear us avow it; hence, the psalmist not only trusts in the Lord, but
tells him that He is so trusting - “let me never be put to confusion.”
So long as the world stands, stand thou by me; yea, for ever and ever be faithful
to thy servant. If thou forsake me, men will ridicule my religion, and how shall I
be able to answer them? Confusion will silence me, and thy cause will be put to
shame. This verse is a good beginning for prayer; those who commence with
trust shall conclude with joy.
2 “Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape:” - Be true,
O God, to thy word. It is a righteous thing in thee to keep the promises
which thou hast made unto thy servants. I have trusted thee, and thou wilt
not be unrighteous to forget my faith. I am taken as in a net, but do thou
liberate me from the malice of my persecutors - “incline thine ear unto me,
and save me. Stoop to my feebleness, and hear my faint whispers; be gracious
to my infirmities, and smile upon me: I ask salvation; listen thou to my petitions,
and save me. Like one wounded and left for dead by mine enemies, I need that
thou bend over me and bind up my wounds. These mercies are asked on the plea
of faith, and they cannot, therefore, be denied.
3 “Be thou my strong habitation,” - Permit me to enter into thee, and be
as much at home as a man in his own house, and then suffer me to remain
in thee as my settled abode. Whereas foes molest me, I need a dwelling
framed and bulwarked, to sustain a siege and resist the attacks of armies;
let, then, thine omnipotence secure me, and be as a fortress unto me. Here
we see a weak man, but he is in a strong habitation; his security rests upon
the tower in which he hides, and is not placed in jeopardy through his personal
feebleness - “whereunto I may continually resort:” - Fast shut is this castle
against all adversaries, its gates they cannot burst open; the drawbridge is up, the
portcullis is down, the bars are fast in their places; but, there is a secret
door, by which friends of the great Lord can enter at all hours of the day or
night, as often as ever they please. There is never an hour when it is
unlawful to pray. Mercy's gates stand wide open, and shall do so, till, at the
last, the Master of the house has risen up and shut to the door. Believers
find their God to be their habitation, strong and accessible, and this is for
them a sufficient remedy for all the ills of their mortal life - “thou hast
given commandment to save me;” - Nature is charged to be tender
with God's servants; Providence is ordered to work their good, and the
forces of the invisible world are ordained as their guardians. David charged
all his troops to spare the young man Absalom, but yet he fell. God's
commandment is of far higher virtue, for it compels obedience, and secures
its end. Destruction cannot destroy us, famine cannot starve us; but we
laugh at both, while God's mandate shields us (Romans 8:35-39). No stones
of the field can throw us down, while angels bear us up in their hands; neither
can the beasts of the field devour us, while David's God delivers us from their
ferocity, or Daniel's God puts them in awe of us - “for thou art my rock and
my fortress.” In God we have all the security which nature which furnishes the
rock, and art which builds the fortress, could supply; he is the complete preserver
of His people. Immutability may be set forth by the rock, and omnipotence by the
fortress. Happy is he who can use the personal pronoun "my" --not only once,
but as many times as the many aspects of the Lord may render desirable. Is He a
strong habitation? I will call Him "my strong habitation," and He shall be my
rock, my fortress, my God, my hope, my trust (v. 5), my praise (v. 6). All
mine shall be His, all His shall be mine. This was the reason why the psalmist
was persuaded that God had commanded His salvation, namely, because He had
enabled him to exercise a calm and appropriating faith.
4 “Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,” - God is on
the same side with us, and those who are our enemies are also His, for they
are wicked; therefore will the Lord surely rescue His own confederates, and
He will not suffer the evil to triumph over the just. He who addresses such
a prayer as this to heaven, does more injury to his enemies than if he had
turned a battery of Armstrongs upon them - “out of the hand of the unrighteous
and cruel man.” Being wicked to God, they become unrighteous towards men,
and cruel in their persecutions of the godly. Two hands are here mentioned: they
grasp and they crush; they strike and they would slay if God did not prevent; had
they as many hands as Briareus, the finger of God would more than match them.
5 “For thou art my hope, O Lord God:” - God who gives us grace to
hope in Him, will assuredly fulfill our hope, and, therefore, we may plead it
in prayer. His name is "Jehovah, the hope of Israel" (Jeremiah 17:13); and,
as He cannot be a false or failing hope, we may expect to see our confidence
justified - “thou art my trust from my youth.” David had proved his faith by
notable exploits when he was a youth and ruddy; it was to him a cheering
recollection, and he felt persuaded that the God of his youth would not
forsake him in his age. They are highly favored who can like David, Samuel,
Josiah, Timothy, and others say, "Thou art my trust from my youth."
6 “By thee have I been holden up from the womb” - Before he was able
to understand the power which preserved him, he was sustained by it. God
knows us before we know anything. The elect of old lay in the bosom of
God before they were laid on their mothers' bosoms; and when their
infantile weakness had no feet strong enough to carry it, the Lord upheld it.
We do well to reflect upon divine goodness to us in childhood, for it is full
of food for gratitude - “thou art He that took me out of my mother's bowels:”
– Even before conscious life, the care of God is over His chosen. Birth is a mystery
of mercy, and God is with both mother and babe. If marriages are registered
in heaven, we may be sure that births are also. Holy women do well to
bless God for His mercy to them in nature's perilous hour; but every one
who is born of woman has equal cause for thankfulness. She, whose life is
preserved, should render thanks, and so should he whose life is given.
“my praise shall be continually of thee.” Where goodness has been
unceasingly received, praise should unceasingly be offered. God is the
circle where praise should begin, continue, and endlessly revolve, since “in
Him we live, and move, and have our being.” – (Acts 17:28)
7 “I am as a wonder unto many:” - "To thousand eyes a mark and gaze
am I." The saints are men wondered at; often their dark side is gloomy
even to amazement, while their bright side is glorious even to astonishment. The
believer is a riddle, an enigma puzzling the unspiritual; he is a monster warring
with those delights of the flesh, which are the all in all of other men; he is a prodigy,
unaccountable to the judgments of ungodly men; a wonder gazed at, feared, and,
by and by, contemptuously derided. Few understand us, many are surprised at us -
“but thou art my strong refuge.” Here is the answer to our riddle. If we are
strong, it is in God; if we are safe, our refuge shelters us; if we are calm,
our soul hath found her stay in God. When faith is understood, and the
grounds of her confidence seen, the believer is no longer a wonder; but the
marvel is that so much unbelief remains among the sons of men.
8 “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honor all the
day.” What a blessed mouthful! A man never grows nauseated though the
flavor of it be all day in his mouth. God's bread is always in our mouths,
so should His praise be. He fills us with good; let us be also filled with
gratitude. This would leave no room for murmuring or backbiting;
therefore, may we well join with holy David in this sacred wish.
9 “Cast me not off in the time of old age;” David was not tired of his
Master, and his only fear was lest his Master should be tired of him. The
Amalekite in the Bible history left his Egyptian servant to famish when he
grew old and sick, but not so the Lord of saints; even to hoar hairs He bears
and carries us. Alas for us, if we were abandoned by our God, as many a
courtier has been by his prince! Old age robs us of personal beauty, and
deprives us of strength for active service; but it does not lower us in the
love and favor of God. An ungrateful country leaves its worn out
defenders to starve upon a scanty pittance, but the pensioners of heaven
are satisfied with good things - “forsake me not when my strength faileth.”
Bear with me, and endure my infirmities. To be forsaken of God is the worst of
all conceivable ills, and if the believer can be but clear of that grievous fear, he is
happy: no saintly heart need be under any apprehension upon this point.
10 “For mine enemies speak against me;” - Dogs howl over a dying lion.
When David's arm was able to chastise his foes, they were yet impudent
enough to slander him, and he fears that now they will take fresh license in
the hour of his weakness. The text most properly means that his enemies
had said that God would forsake him; and, therefore, he is the more earnest
that the Lord's faithful dealings may give them the lie - “and they that lay wait
for my soul take counsel together.” The psalmist had enemies, and these were
most malicious; seeking his utter destruction, they were very persevering, and
stayed long upon the watch; to this they added cunning, for they lay in ambush to
surprise him, and take him at a disadvantage; and all this they did with the utmost
unanimity and deliberation, neither spoiling their design by want of prudence, nor
marring its accomplishment by a lack of unity. The Lord our God is our only
and all sufficient resort from every form of persecution.
11 “Saying, God hath forsaken him:” - O 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. Were this exclamation the truth, it
were indeed an ill day for us; but, glory be to God, it is a barefaced lie -
“persecute and take him;” - Let loose the dogs of persecution upon him,
seize him, worry him - “for there is none to deliver him.” Down with him,
for he has no friends. It is safe to insult him, for none will come to his rescue.
O cowardly boasts of a braggart foe, how do ye wound the soul of the believer:
and only when his faith cries to his Lord is he able to endure your cruelty.
12 “O God, be not far from me:” - Nearness to God is our conscious
security. A child in the dark is comforted by grasping its father's hand.
“O my God, make haste for my help.” To call God ours, as having entered
into covenant with us, is a mighty plea in prayer, and a great stay to our
faith. The cry of "make haste" has occurred many times in this portion of
the Psalms, and it was evoked by the sore pressure of affliction. Sharp
sorrows soon put an end to procrastinating prayers.
13 “Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to
my soul;” - It will be all this to them to see thy servant preserved; their envy
and malice, when disappointed, will fill them with life consuming bitterness.
The defeat of their plans shall nonplus them, they shall be confounded as
they enquire the reason for their overthrow; the men they seek to destroy
seem so weak, and their cause so contemptible, that they will be filled with
amazement as they see them not only survive all opposition, but even
surmount it. How confounded must Pharaoh have been when Israel
multiplied, despite his endeavors to exterminate the race; and how
consumed with rage must the Scribes and Pharisees have become when
they saw the gospel spreading from land to land by the very means which
they used for its destruction - “let them be covered with reproach and
dishonor that seek my hurt.” He would have their shame made visible to
all eyes, by their wearing it in their blushes as a mantle. They would have made
a laughing stock of the believer, if his God had forsaken him; therefore, let
unbelief and atheism be made a public scoffing in their persons.
14 The holy faith of the persecuted saint comes to the front in these three verses.
“But I will hope continually,” - When I cannot rejoice in what I have, I will
look forward to what shall be mine, and will still rejoice. Hope will live on
a bare common, and sing on a branch laden down with snow. No date and
no place are unsuitable for hope. Hell alone excepted, hope is a dweller in
all regions. We may always hope, for we always have grounds for it: we
will always hope, for it is a never failing consolation - “and will yet praise
thee more and more.” He was not slack in thanksgiving; in fact, no man was
ever more diligent in it; yet he was not content with all his former praises, but
vowed to become more and more a grateful worshipper. When good things
are both continual and progressive with us, we are on the right track. We ought to
be misers in going good, and our motto should be "more and more." While we
do not disdain to "rest and be thankful," we cannot settle down into resting in our
thankfulness. "Superior" cries the eagle, as he mounts towards the sun: higher
and yet higher is also our aim, as we soar aloft in duty and devotion. It is our
continual hope that we shall be able more and more to magnify the Lord.
15 “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation
all the day;” - We are to bear testimony as experience enables us, and not
withhold from others that which we have tasted and handled. The
faithfulness of God in saving us, in delivering us out of the hand of our
enemies, and in fulfilling His promises, is to be everywhere proclaimed by
those who have proved it in their own history. How gloriously conspicuous
is righteousness in the divine plan of redemption! It should be the theme of
constant discourse. The devil rages against the substitutionary sacrifice,
and errorists of every form make this the main point of their attack; be it
ours, therefore, to love the doctrine, and to spread its glad tidings on every
side, and at all times. Mouths are never so usefully employed as in
recounting the righteousness of God revealed in the salvation of believers
in Jesus. The preacher who should be confined to this one theme would
never need seek another: it is the medulla theologae, the very pith and
marrow of revealed truth. Has our reader been silent upon this choice
subject? Let us, then, press him to tell abroad what he enjoys within: he
does not well who keeps such glad tidings to himself. II Kings 7:8-10) -
“for I know not the numbers thereof.” He knew the sweetness of it, the
sureness, the glory, and the truth of it; but as to the full reckoning of its
plenitude, variety, and sufficiency, he felt he could not reach to the height
of the great argument. Lord, where I cannot count I will believe, and when
a truth surpasses numeration I will take to admiration. When David spoke
of his enemies, he said they were more in number than the hairs of his head;
he had, therefore, some idea of their number, and found a figure suitable to
set it out; but, in the case of the Lord's covenant mercies, he declares, "I
know not the number " and does not venture upon any sort of comparison.
To creatures belong number and limit, to God and His grace there is
neither. We may, therefore, continue to tell out His great salvation all day
long, for the theme is utterly inexhaustible.
16 “I will go in the strength of the Lord God.” - Our translators give us
a good sense, but not the sense in this place, which is on this wise, "I will
come with the mighty deeds of the Lord Jehovah." He would enter into
those deeds by admiring study, and then, wherever he went, he would
continue to rehearse them. He should ever be a welcome guest who can tell
us of the mighty acts of the Lord, and help us to put our trust in Him. The
authorized version may be used by us as a resolve in all our exertions and
endeavors. In our own strength we must fail; but, when we hear the voice
which saith, "Go in this thy might," we may advance without fear. Though
hell itself were in the way, the believer would pursue the path of duty,
crying: “I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy
righteousness, even of thine only.” Man's righteousness is not fit to be
mentioned--filthy rags are best hidden; neither is there any righteousness
under heaven, or in heaven, comparable to the divine. As God Himself fills
all space, and is, therefore, the only God, leaving no room for another, so
God's righteousness, in Christ Jesus, fills the believer's soul, and he counts
all other things but dross and dung "that he may win Christ, and be found
in him, not having his own righteousness which is of the law, but the
righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:8-9). What would be
the use of speaking upon any other righteousness to a dying man? and all are
dying men. Let those who will cry up man's natural innocence, the dignity of the
race, the purity of philosophers, the loveliness of untutored savages, the
power of sacraments, and the infallibility of pontiffs; this is the true believer's
immovable resolve: "I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine
only." For ever dedicated to thee, my Lord, be this poor, unworthy tongue,
whose glory it shall be to glorify thee. (Dear Reader: the words below
from William Cowper’s There is a Fountain are engraved on Mr. Spurgeon’s
tombstone – CY – 2011)
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll
sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave
17 “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth:” - It was comfortable to
the psalmist to remember that from his earliest days he had been the Lord's
disciple. None are too young to be taught of God, and they make the most
proficient scholars who begin betimes - “and hitherto have I declared thy
wondrous works.” He had learned to tell what he knew, he was a pupil teacher;
he continued still learning and declaring, and did not renounce his first master;
this, also, was his comfort, but it is one which those who have been seduced
from the school of the gospel, into the various colleges of philosophy and
skepticism, will not be able to enjoy. A sacred conservatism is much needed in
these days, when men are giving up old lights for new. (Mr. Spurgeon once said:
“There is nothing new but that which is false.” – CY - 2011) We mean both to
learn and to teach the wonders of redeeming love, till we can discover something
nobler or more soul satisfying; for this reason we hope that our gray heads will
be found in the same road as we have trodden, even from our beardless youth.
18 “Now also when I am old and grey headed, O God, forsake me
not;” - There is something touching in the sight of hair whitened with the
snows of many a winter: the old and faithful soldier receives consideration
from his king, the venerable servant is beloved by his master. When our
infirmities multiply, we may, with confidence, expect enlarged privileges in
the world of grace, to make up for our narrowing range in the field of
nature. Nothing shall make God forsake those who have not forsaken Him.
Our fear is lest He should do so; but His promise kisses that fear into silence.
“until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation,” - He desired to
continue his testimony and complete it; he had respect to the young men
and little children about him, and knowing the vast importance of training
them in the fear of God, he longed to make them all acquainted with the
power of God to support His people, that they also might be led to walk by
faith. He had leaned on the almighty arm, and could speak experimentally
of its all sufficiency, and longed to do so ere life came to a close - “and thy
power to every one that is to come.” He would leave a record for
unborn ages to read. He thought the Lord's power to be so worthy of
praise, that he would make the ages ring with it till time should be no more.
For this cause believers live, and they should take care to labor zealously
for the accomplishment of this their most proper and necessary work.
(Reader, this is my goal tonight, with God’s help, to promote His Word – CY –
2011) - Blessed are they who begin in youth to proclaim the name of the Lord,
and cease not until their last hour brings their last word for their divine Master.
19 “Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high,” - Very sublime,
unsearchable, exalted, and glorious is the holy character of God, and His
way of making men righteous. His plan of righteousness uplifts men from
the gates of hell to the mansions of heaven. It is a high doctrine gospel,
gives a high experience, leads to high practice, and ends in high felicity -
“who hast done great things:” - The exploits of others are mere child's play
compared with thine, and are not worthy to be mentioned in the same age.
Creation, providence, redemption, are all unique, and nothing can compare
with them - “O God, who is like unto thee!” As thy works are so transcendent,
so art thou. Thou art without compeer, or even second, and such are thy works,
and such, especially, thy plan of justifying sinners by the righteousness which
thou hast provided. Adoration is a fit frame of mind for the believer. When he draws
near to God, he enters into a region where everything is surpassingly sublime; miracles
of love abound on every hand, and marvels of mingled justice and grace. A traveler
among the high Alps often feels overwhelmed with awe, amid their amazing sublimities;
much more is this the case when we survey the heights and depths of the mercy and
holiness of the Lord. “O God, who is like unto thee!”
20 “Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me
again,” - Here is faith's inference from the infinite greatness of the Lord. He has
been strong to smite; He will be also strong to save. He has shown me many heavy
and severe trials, and He will also show me many and precious mercies. He has
almost killed me, He will speedily revive me; and though I have been almost dead
and buried, He will give me a resurrection, “and shalt bring me up again
from the depths of the earth.” However low the Lord may permit us to sink,
He will fix a limit to the descent, and in due time will bring us up again. Even when
we are laid low in the tomb, the mercy is that we can go no lower, but shall retrace
our steps and mount to better lands; and all this, because the Lord is ever
mighty to save. A little God would fail us, but not Jehovah the Omnipotent.
It is safe to lean on Him, since He bears up the pillars both of heaven and earth.
21 “Thou shalt increase my greatness,” - As a king, David grew in
influence and power. God did great things for him, and by him, and this is
all the greatness believers want. May we have faith in God, such as these
words evince - “and comfort me on every side.” As we were surrounded with
afflictions, so shall we be environed with consolations. From above, and from
all around, light shall come to dispel our former gloom; the change shall be
great, indeed, when the Lord returns to comfort us.
Here is the final vow of praise.
22 “I will also praise thee with the psaltery,” - Love so amazing calls for
sweetest praise. David would give his best music, both vocal and
instrumental, to the Best of Masters. His harp should not be silent, nor his
voice - “even thy truth, O my God:” - This is ever a most enchanting attribute
-viz., the truth or faithfulness of our covenant God. On this we rest, and from it
we draw streams of richest consolation. His promises are sure, His love
unalterable, His veracity indisputable – (God is “abundant in truth” –
Exodus 34:6 – CY – 2011) - What saint will not praise Him as he remembers this?
“unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.” Here is a
new name, and, as it were, a new song. The Holy One of Israel is at once a
lofty and an endearing name, full of teaching. Let us resolve, by all means
within our power, to honor Him.
23 “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee;” - It shall be no
weariness to me to praise thee. It shall be a delightful recreation, a solace, a
joy. The essence of song lies in the holy joy of the singer - “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 Savior.
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.
Others talk of their beloveds, and they shall be made to hear of mine. I will become
an incessant talker, while this matter lies on my heart, for in all company this subject
will be in season - “for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame,
that seek my hurt.” As in many other Psalms, the concluding stanzas speak of that
as an accomplished fact, which was only requested in former verses. Faith believes
that she has her request, and she has it. She is the substance of things hoped for
(Hebrews 11:1) - a substance so real and tangible, that it sets the glad soul singing.
Already sin, Satan, and the world are vanquished, and the victory is ours.
“this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4)
"Sin, Satan, Death appear
To harass and appal:
Yet since the gracious Lord is near,
Backward they go, and fall."
"We meet them face to face,
Through Jesus' conquest blest;
March in the triumph of His grace,
Right onward to our rest."
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