Because He Commands I Have Confidence
by Joseph Franks
Psalm 71 appears to have been written by an elderly saint. In his life, much water has passed beneath his bridge; he is not wet behind the ears. This man has seen the goodness and prosperity of the Lord. He has also been buffeted due to the mysterious decree of the sovereign God.
However, despite the pain ordained and allowed by God, despite what he has experienced, despite what he is presently experiencing, and despite troubles and trials still coming his way, this godly saint waivers not. Despite the storms and floods, this beleaguered worshiper has an unshakeable confidence because God is his rock, fortress, and refuge. The psalmist is confident because God has given the command to save him.
In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent. For my enemies speak concerning me; those who watch for my life consult together and say, “God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him.” O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! May my accusers be put to shame and consumed; with scorn and disgrace may they be covered who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt. (Psalm 71:1-24)
God has been the psalmists’ rock, fortress, and refuge from before his birth. From his infancy, even before he exited his mother’s womb, special care is shown by the Creator towards this child. Why is this so? It is because God has given the command to save him.
God has been the psalmists’ rock, fortress, and refuge throughout his youthful days. While he is an immature lad, the all-seeing eye of God is particularly and especially fixed upon him. The strong hand of God faithfully, steadily, and consistently guards this beloved boy through his infant, toddler, elementary, and adolescent days. God must do so; he has given the command to save him.
God has been been and is being the psalmists’ rock, fortress, and refuge in days of “troubles and calamities” and in seasons of “injustice and cruelty.” The psalmist recognizes God has foreordained these horrible experiences. God has “made him see” these harshest of days. Foolish men slander him and consider him a bad omen — one forsaken of God. Enemies watch for an opportunity to take his life. Yet, even in the midst of such trials and tribulations, God is the rock who steadies, strengthens, and preserves his beleaguered friend. God shelters him because God has given the command that he must be saved.
God will be the psalmists’ rock, fortress, and refuge in his “time of old age and gray hair.” Yes, when his back bends and his “strength is spent,” God will continue to be his shelter and support. After all, God cannot fail. God cannot forsake his word. God od has given the command to save him.
God will be the psalmists’ rock, fortress, and refuge after his bodily internment. Though the number of his days will come to an end, his breath will expire, and his body will be deposited in the ground, the psalmist exclaims, “From the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” Why is the Psalmist so confident? Once again, it is because God had given the command to save him.
Therefore, though buffeted by the devil, by demons, by disasters, by depraved men, by his depraved flesh, by disability, by disease, and by death, the Psalmist erupts in praise to God:
- You are my Lord.
- You are my Rock of Refuge.
- You are my God.
- You are my hope.
- You are my trust.
- You are my Strong Refuge.
- You are my Rock and Fortress.
- My mouth is filled with your praise.
- My mouth is filled with your glory all the day.
- I will hope continually.
- I will praise you yet more and more.
- My mouth will tell of your righteous acts.
- My mouth will tell of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
- I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
- I proclaim your might.
- I proclaim your power.
- Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens.
- You who have done great things.
- O God, who is like you?
- I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness.
- I will sing praises to you with the lyre.
- My lips will shout for joy.
- I sing praises to you.
- My tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long.
Friends, this saint is not special. He is just one of millions saved by grace. Therefore take heart by his inspired hymn. If we are trusting in Christ Jesus, God has commanded we be saved. He is our rock, our fortress, and our refuge. He is the one who predestined us from eternity past to enjoy reunion with him in eternity future. He is the Alpha and Omega of our salvation; that which he began he will surely finish.
Therefore, how is Satan buffeting us today? How are demons and depraved men making life miserable for us? What sinful thorn in the flesh has God not yet removed? What diseases and disabilities plague us? Is death around the corner?
Let us have confidence and worship our God, for he has commanded that we be saved.