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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 71

Smith's WritingsSmith's Writings

Verses 1-24


The experience of a godly Israelite; illustrating God's ways with Israel from the commencement of their history until the nation is revived in a day yet to come.

(vv. 1-3) The psalm opens with an expression of confidence in God, and an appeal to God to act in righteousness for deliverance from bondage. The soul finds in God his unfailing resources; in His words, his ground of assurance. If God has given His command that Israel shall be blessed, the believing soul can appeal to God's righteousness to carry out His Word.

(vv. 4-9) The verses that follow recount the goodness of God in the past. The godly man is in the hand of the wicked, unrighteous, and cruel man; but, by reason of God's goodness to him in the past, the Lord GOD is still his hope. From his birth God has been his refuge, and through all the vicissitudes of his long history he had been upheld by God, so that his preservation had become a wonder to many. Now, in the end of his history he looks to God that he may be kept for the praise and honour of God, and not be cast off in the day of his weakness.

How truly these experiences witness to God's ways with Israel. Throughout their long history there had ever been a “remnant according to the election of grace;” the abiding proof that God had not cast off the nation. Their preservation as a nation separate from the Gentiles, in spite of their bondage to the powers of the world by reason of their sins, is a standing wonder to the world.

(vv. 10-13) Nevertheless the godly man finds himself in the midst of enemies that plot against him without fear of consequences, for they say “God hath forsaken him.” Thus the Gentiles, in the last days, will persecute the Jewish nation without fear of God. Circumstances will indeed look as if God had forsaken them.

(vv. 14-16) This time of testing will draw out the faith of the godly, who will look to God to make haste to their help, by putting to shame their enemies; result in praise to God increasing yet “more and more”, and His righteousness being declared all the day, as that which is beyond reckoning. Thus, when his strength fails (v. 9), the godly man falls back on the strength of the Lord God.

(vv. 17-18) The history of this godly man has been a witness to God's “wondrous works.” In his old age he still desires to be a witness to God's strength and power, to generations yet to come. Even so, the history of Israel through long ages, has been a witness to God's wondrous works of righteousness; and in the old age of the nation will witness to the mighty power of God in its deliverance and restoration.

(vv. 19-20) The righteousness of God that would not pass over evil in His people had been witnessed to by the sore trials they had been allowed to pass through. His quickening power would be seen in reviving the nation and bringing them again from the depths of the earth in which for so long they had been buried amidst the nations.

(vv. 21-24) The greatness and glory of restored Israel will surpass the former greatness of the nation. After their sore trials they will be comforted on every side. Set free from their enemies, they will be to the praise of God, the Holy One of Israel, the One who has redeemed them in righteousness, and put to shame all their enemies.

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 71". "Smith's Writings". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-71.html. 1832.
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