This introduction serves as an invitation to join in an on-going journey of discovery. You will not need to buy tickets nor make travel plans. All that's required is your Bible and a quiet place to read and meditate. Together we'll explore the Book of Psalms, Israel’s hymnal and longest collection of poetry.  

Psalm 71:1-8

God's Lifelong Care

TRANSLATION
(1) In you, Yahweh, I have sought refuge. Let me never be ashamed. (2) In your righteousness deliver and rescue me. Incline your ear to me and save me. (3) Be to me a rock of refuge to which I can always come. You have given the command to save me, for you (are) my rock and my fortress. (4) Rescue me, God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and ruthless, (5) for you, Lord, (are) my hope, my confidence, Yahweh, from my youth. (6) On you I have leaned for support from the womb. You are the one who took me from my mother’s belly. Of you (do I voice) my praise continually. (7) I have become a sign to many, for you are my strong refuge. (8) My mouth is filled with your praise and with your glory all the day long.

OBSERVATAIONS
Several synonyms and repetitions help us to grasp the meaning of this segment. In the first four verses we encounter two groups of synonyms:  “deliver...rescue...save” as well as "refuge...rock...fortress" with repetitions of “refuge” (vss. 1 & 3), “save” (vss. 2 & 3), and “rescue” (vss. 2 & 4).

Verses 5-7 contain another group of synonyms speaking of God’s protection: “hope...confidence...support...refuge.” The noun, “refuge” (vs. 7), is a repetition of the verbal “seek refuge” (vs. 1). The word for “praise” (vs. 6) is also repeated (vs. 8). This passage serves as the psalmist’s powerful testimony to Yahweh’s lifelong care and support both physically and emotionally.

OUTLINE
I.  Yahweh, my refuge, rescues me.  (1-4)
II.  Yahweh, my hope and confidence, sustains me.  (5 & 6a)
III.  I praise Yahweh for always being my strong refuge.  (6b-8)

IDEA STATEMENT
Because Yahweh, my hope and confidence, has delivered me and become my strong refuge, I will continually praise him.

APPLICATION
Two parallel phrases speak of Yahweh’s lifelong care: “from the womb...from my mother’s belly” (vs. 6). This is something with which many believers can identify. As a child, I remember my parents telling me how they had prayed for me long before I was born. When my mother realized she was carrying me, she and my father rejoiced in God’s answering their prayers. For someone who grows up in a loving, God-fearing family, expressions like those found in verse 6 are easy to understand and accept. 

For those whose parents did not really want them, whose birth was an “accident” or an inconvenience, these words can at first seem fanciful, even phony or mocking. Even so, they can eventually become a great consolation. While some children bear the burden of not having been wanted or loved by their earthly parents, they can still be assured that our heavenly Father loves and cares for them. For those struggling with feelings of parental indifference or rejection, Psalm 27 can have special significance: “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Ps. 27:10). What a blessing to realize that God has always been there for us, uniquely loving us, sustaining and protecting us, whether we are loved by earthly parents or not! The more we understand of Yahweh’s faithfulness to each of us personally, the more we will praise him for his lifelong care and concern.

Psalm 71:9-13

Psalm 70