Psalm 71

The Word Made Fresh

1I depend on you, LORD.
Don’t let me ever be ashamed.
2By your righteousness set me free and deliver me.
Hear my plea and rescue me.
3Be my safe place and my strong fortress
and my unfailing protection.
4Save me from the hands of the wicked
and the grip of cruel and evil people.
5For you, LORD, are my hope.
You are the LORD in whom I have trusted since my youth.
6I have leaned on you from the day I was born,
for you are the one who delivered me from my mother’s womb.
I will always praise you.
7I have served as a warning to many evildoers,
for you are my powerful protector.
8I will praise you and proclaim your splendor all day long.
9Don’t push me aside now that I am old.
Don’t forget about me now that my strength is gone.
10My enemies constantly plot against me
and others who are after my life are making plans.
11They are saying, “Chase him down and take him prisoner!
God has forsaken him and there is no one to protect him!”
12O God, don’t go too far from me.
Hurry to my side and help me.
13Let those who accuse me be ashamed and ruined.
Let those who look for ways to hurt me be disgraced.
14But I will never lose hope. I will continue to praise you.
15All day long I will tell of your mighty deeds, and your saving
even though I have no idea how many there are.
16I will praise the awesome works of the LORD God.
I will praise your righteousness, and only yours.
17You have been teaching me since I was a youth,
and I still tell others of the wonderful things you have done.
18Even when I’m old and gray, O God, don’t turn away from me
until I have passed your mighty works on to the next generation.
19Your power and righteousness are as high as the heavens above,
for no one is like you. Only you have done such great things.
20You who have sent to me many problems and failures
will raise me up again.
You will again bring me up from the depths of the earth.
21You will see that I am honored even more,
and once again I will be comforted.
22I will praise your faithfulness with the harp, God,
And I will sing your praises with the lyre, Holy One of Israel.
23My lips will erupt in shouts of joy when I sing your praises,
and my life which you have rescued will praise you.
24I’ll tell about your good help all day long.
I’ll tell how you have put those who tried to hurt me to shame,
and they are disgraced.


1-4: The fact that no superscription precedes this psalm has given rise to speculation that at some point in time Psalms 70 and 71 were one. Both are prayers for deliverance from foes, but Psalm 71 is a more general application rather than being focused on a particular threat: “Don’t let me ever be ashamed,” is the sentiment expressed in verse 1.

5-9: While the prayer has a general application, it is offered by a specific individual. He has trusted God from his youth, and now begs to be helped in his old age.

10-11: He has seen how people sometimes act like vultures whenever someone is beset with ill fortune.

12-13: Retributive justice is a common theme in the psalms: let those who want to hurt others have a taste of their own medicine.

14-16: The psalmist declares that he will hold steadfastly to the hope that God will always be there to help and support.

17-18: An echo of verses 5-9: God has been there since he was a boy, and he begs God to stick around in his dotage.

19-21: God is praised for righteousness and might, and witness is given that, although God sometimes lets us see troubles, God will not forsake us but rather will revive us each time.

22-24: The psalm ends with praise and expressions of trust in God, of course.


Over and over again the psalms tell stories of God rescuing the faithful. The hard part is always the waiting. Sometimes our discomfort, and even suffering, serves a purpose we may not be able to understand. But trusting God means that whatever befalls us is for a purpose, and often a purpose we can only discover in hindsight. Don’t despair, trust in God. This, too, shall pass.