Today, we will consider four more Psalms before returning to our narrative in 2 Samuel. Psalm 70 may have been written while David was on the run from Absalom, or possibly from Saul. David begins by praying for God to act on his behalf (70:1). He is calling for judgment against those who seek to kill him (v. 2). He prays that those who accuse him would be brought low (vv. 2-3). And we see the contrast between these men and those who seek God. Those who seek God have their joy in God, because their focus is on God (v. 4). We then see the humility of David. He is nothing without God (v. 5).
Psalm 71 is believed by some to have been written by David. We do see in this Psalm a lot of similarity with David’s known Psalms. The Psalmist begins by declaring that God is his refuge (71:1). God is the righteous rescuer (v. 2). He is a refuge, a rock, and a fortress (v. 3). We see a prayer for rescue from wicked men (v. 4). In verses 5-6 we see the Psalmist’s utter dependency on God. He recognizes that even from before his birth he was fully dependent on God. Whatever good people see in him is a credit to God (v. 7). Therefore, he will not cease to praise God (v. 8).
We then see a prayer for God to remain as He has been for the Psalmist (v. 9), because wicked men seek his life (v. 10), believing God is no longer with him (v. 11). But the Psalmist prays for God to be with him (v. 12) and to judge justly (v. 13). No matter what, the Psalmist will hope in and praise God (v. 14). He will tell of all God has done (vv. 15-18). The longer God sustains him, the more the Psalmist will tell the world of Him and His deeds (v. 18). God alone is righteous (v. 19), even though He has ordained the trouble the Psalmist has endured (v. 20). And this righteous God will yet save the Psalmist from his troubles (v. 21). The Psalm ends with a promise to not just tell, but sing of God and His righteous deeds (vv. 22-24), because the Psalmist believes that God will answer his prayer (v. 24 see v. 13). What faith!
Psalm 143 is believed to have been written while David was fleeing from Absalom. We sense the depth of David’s desperation in this Psalm. He begs for God to hear his prayer (143:1). Note that David recognizes that God is faithful and righteous. He is the just Judge, but He is faithful to His own. Thus, David prays that He not judge David according to his sin, knowing that no one is righteous before God (v. 2 – see Rom 3:10, 23). The reference to “the enemy” in verse 3 can be about Absalom, but it also may be a reference to Satan, the king of the wicked.
In verses 5-6, David remembers all that God has done, and that makes him thirst for God’s goodness. You can almost hear the desperation in David’s voice in verse 7. He wants God’s hesed love (i.e., salvation) and His guidance in this troubling time (v. 8). David seeks deliverance from his enemies in his only refuge: God (v. 9). In verse 10, David again prays for guidance, but here he references the Guide – God’s Holy Spirit. David ends the Psalm praying, above all, for God to be glorified through his circumstances (v. 11) and through His just judgment (v. 12).
In contrast, Psalm 144 sings of God’s goodness without the fear and desperation of Psalm 143. David blesses God Who even enables him to fight his battles (143:1). God is his hesed love (i.e., salvation) and his refuge, because even David’s victories are the work of God (v. 2). David is humbled by God’s care for him (vv. 3-4). Verses 5-6 are a prayer for God’s presence using the imagery of His descent on Mt. Sinai (see Ex 19:16-18).
David prays for God to come to save him from the overwhelming turmoil around him (the many waters) (v. 7). As opposed to God’s saving hand (v. 7), David’s enemies have hands of falsehood (v. 8). Yet David is not deterred from his praise of God. He will sing to the Lord (v. 9) because He brings victory to David (v. 10 – see v. 2). Verse 11 is a refrain of David’s prayer in verse 7-8. David prays for God’s people to be firmly established in the land (v. 12) and for God to provide for their needs (v. 13-14). This is ultimately a prayer for spiritual sustenance. David ends with a blessing for God’s people (v. 15). We are blessed, even in tribulation.