We have all had times in our lives when we’ve felt discouraged. Perhaps someone said something to you that hurt your feelings and left you wondering,
“Does my life really matter?”
“Am I making a difference?”
“Is God pleased with me?”
Perhaps you are weary from the burdens of life and feel forsaken by all (including God).
In Psalm 71, we see that this type of discouragement happens even to those who are (let’s just say it this way) “elegantly seasoned.” Age plays no factor in the areas of discouragement and weariness. We are ALL highly susceptible to these joy-stealing viruses.
But here’s what I love about Psalm 71 … The Psalmist chooses to cling to the truths he knows about God rather than believe the lies of those who would seek to discourage him and challenge his faith. It is as though praise, thanksgiving, and hope in God become to the Psalmist like an antibody. These three joy-fillers get into his DNA and combat the negative words, thoughts, and hurtful-actions his enemies (the joy-stealers) use to harm him.
Take a moment now and read Psalm 71 and note any key words that stick out to you.
Here are a few words that God highlighted in my heart as I read His precious Word:
- Rock of refuge
- Strong refuge
If I were to choose a key verse for this Psalm, it would be verse 14 which says, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”
It would appear that the Psalmist is, “elegantly seasoned.” He is old in age and looking back on his life. (Psalm 71:6 & 8) He has learned so much about God through his life. I love the attributes he uses to describe God … rock, refuge, hope, trust.
This particular Psalm is a Psalm of Expectation or a “leaning Psalm.” The writer has learned to lean on God through tough times, and he has learned to trust God in the circumstances of life both good and bad. (Psalm 71:6, 20-21)
In verses 9-13 we read about the enemies who seek to destroy him. And in verse 11 they make the cruelest of declarations: “God has forsaken you.” To be in the midst of trouble is one thing, but to be there and think that you’re alone is crippling. The writer does not believe these lies for long, it seems. He immediately turns to the Lord and begs for His presence, and in verse 14 we see the turning point of the Psalm. “BUT … I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
Hope continually and praise you! Yes, these are the perfect antidotes for the viral plague of discouragement, doubt, and disease injected into him by his enemies.
What is hope?
It means to wait with expectation.
It’s as though the Psalmist is saying, “I’m going to continually wait expectantly on You, Lord, and while I’m waiting, I’m gonna keep on praising you over and over!”
I love that! I want that attitude while I wait, don’t you?
The very first thing that struck me as I read this Psalm was how much the Psalmist praised God. From the first verse to the last, he spoke of God’s greatness. He used his lips, mouth, and tongue like a megaphone to shout out praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to God.
I encourage you to read through this Psalm again and mark every place where the writer praise or thanks God. Then I challenge us all to use our mouths to declare the greatness of God in all circumstances!
How, you may be thinking, does one learn to lean on God and praise Him in all circumstances? I believe that Verse 6 gives us the answer … practice! From a very young age the writer began learning about and leaning on God. Experience is key! The Psalmist learned over time that when the going gets tough, clinging to God, remembering His faithfulness, and praising Him gets you through.
In the very first verse the writer expresses that God is his refuge.
A refuge is a place one can flee for protection. The Psalmist learned that God was the One he could trust in, confide in, and run to.
This is why it is so important for us to tell our stories of God’s redemption and deliverance to the next generation. We must declare the faithfulness of God! He is our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer!
Tell, tell, tell! Use your mouth as a positive, powerful tool to proclaim the greatness of God!
A couple of questions for you as we close:
Who has impacted your life by telling you their stories of God’s faithfulness?
Who will you tell?
How can you practically influence younger believers to know and walk with God?
Will you respond to what God has taught you by using your mouth as a megaphone of praise for Him?
Will you be a joy-filler to others and not a joy-stealer by speaking words of life and encouragement?
Be encouraged, friend. God is with you always!