by Rachael Stelzer
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Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, Lord, to help me (Psalm 70:1).
Read Psalm 70
Psalm 40 is one of my favourite psalms. It is a joyful testimony of God’s ability to listen to and answer the prayers of his child, a later anthem of God’s earlier intervention and victory.
In reading Psalm 70, I remembered that Psalm 40 contains all of it – with some added sections. I wondered why God would choose to inspire the psalmist with the same words twice.
Psalm 70 is not an angry request for God to graphically smite one’s enemies – there are more than a few of those in Psalms. The author does not ask for anything more gruesome for their adversaries than pangs of conscience and feelings of shame at what they have done. It is not a miserable song of despair, asking where God is in the author’s troubles. If anything, the author demonstrates emotional intelligence and a humble spirit.
If there is a contemporary attitude that we could assign to this psalm, it seems to be a case of ‘Lord, give me patience – but hurry!’ The author has faith that their deliverance will happen but also expresses impatience and desperation to God.
The gift to me in this psalm is that there are no major details of what the author is struggling with, and like so many other psalms, this opens it up to be used by anyone at any time … and by me right now. Whatever I am facing, whoever or whatever is oppressing my soul, God is more powerful.
As in our reading on Sunday, the author comes humbly before God like the tax collector, recognising they have nothing to offer, but God is powerful. ‘I am poor and needy,’ says the psalmist. ‘O my God, do not delay.’
Dear Lord, grant me the faith and trust to know you will intervene in whatever is troubling me. Give me the patience to wait on your timing and the cheek to keep bugging you. Thank you for your great parental compassion, which sees what I really need and acts. Keep me close to you. Amen.
Rachael Stelzer is the Primary Lay Chaplain at Coomera Anglican College near Brisbane. She is a member of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Rochedale and teaches primary kids in the Growing Kids group. Rachael loves crafts, reading, and sharing meals, coffee and life with her family and friends.