PSALM 71

Faithfulness: Ours’ and God’s

1.

OPENING

Not only does youth come with idealism, passion, and naivety, but it also often comes with a feeling of
invincibleness.
As you age, you start to feel less invincible. Spiritually, you see people washing up all around you. Many
of them are more spiritual, more knowledgeable, more passionate than you are, yet they drop like flies all
around you. They damage themselves, those close to them, those watching from a distance, and the
cause and reputation of Christ in general.
The differences between them and you are slight. You fear and tremble. “There, but for the grace of
God, go I.”
Oh Lord! Keep us faithful to you!
Give me a definition of faithfulness. Webster’s 1828
1. Fidelity; loyalty; firm adherence to allegiance and duty; as the faithfulness of a subject.
2. Truth; veracity; as the faithfulness of God.
3. Strict adherence to injunctions, and to the duties of a station; as the faithfulness of servants or ministers.
4. Strict performance of promises, vows or covenants; constancy in affection; as the faithfulness of a husband or wife.

What is the expiration date on faithfulness? When the charge is completed, the vows are fulfilled, or the
duty released.
I met a man the other day whose wife divorced him after 26 years of marriage. Was she faithful to her
marriage vows? 26 years is a long time. But 26 years of faithfulness were made null and void in a single
moment. Faithfulness to God, like marriage, is a long term commitment. It’s not an obligation that can be
met with a single burst of intensity, but with steady, plodding, daily adjustment of our heart, soul, mind,
strength; adjustment of our thoughts, words, and deeds; adjustment of our beliefs, our values, and daily
activities. That’s hard! In fact, it’s humanly impossible. But with God all things are possible.
This is where the Psalmist was in Psalm 71. No longer a young man, no longer with any confidence in
himself, full of fear of what could happen easily to him, he cries out, “In You, YHWH, I have taken refuge!
Let me never be ashamed!”

2.

OUTLINE

Pray. Read Psalm 71.
When we learn about the heroes of the faith, in bible times or the church age, the tendency is to admire
the people who did big things for God. Often times these people’s experience is so far from our own it
can be pretty hard to relate to them. Many times these people had failures later in life. My favorite
heroes of the faith are the ordinary men, who trusted the Lord early, and then walked in faithfulness for
the remainder of their lives. That’s why we named our sons after Robert Chapman, Enoch, and Daniel.
That’s why we chose this psalm that is a prayer for faithfulness.
We don’t know author or circumstances of this Psalm. It’s someone who has lived a while, though it’s not
necessarily the case that they are old. He expects to be old!
Outline: Inspired by George Zemek’s ROAD M APS FOR THE PSALMS
1. Presents Prayer for Rescue (1-13)
a. Since I have been dependent, please deliver me! (1-4)
b. Since I have been faithful, please don’t forget me! (5-9)
c. Since my enemies are vicious, please vindicate me! (10-13)
2. Promises Praise for Restoration (14-24)
a. The Psalmist’s praises and God’s historic faithfulness (14-19)
b. God’s anticipated faithfulness and the Psalmist’s praises (20-24)

Work in Progress: 9/26/2014
Nathaniel P. Scott

So I’m not going to do a verse-by-verse exposition. whether we have served God little. I find it helpful to sort out some of his statements into categories and think about them that way. A. 4. and turn you away from faithfully following the Jesus! If you have left your first love? Have you?! What should you do to protect yourself from these dangers? V1: Take refuge in the Lord! Spurgeon says “Not only on God must we rest. It doesn’t have a lot of theological words or advanced concepts. worldliness. The Ways the Psalmist Brings God Glory F. we need the gospel. but God’s! 2) Praise Him for His past protection. or much. selfsufficiency. “utter dependence” I don’t mean. doubt/unbelief. logical argument. Work in Progress: 9/26/2014 Nathaniel P. Not your own strength of character. reactionism. you repeat yourself and you run your concepts together. The Psalmist’s View of God E. and CONCLUSION So are we stretching to include use this psalm in a weekend where we are looking at faithfulness? Here’s the deal. but in Him we must trust. spiritual depression. so I don’t need to break it down. so that He might bring us to God…” We are helplessly lost. For some of you. but to see if you have let life and the world damage your commitment to godliness! If you’ve let the worries and cares of the world and the desire for things choke out your fruit.PSALM 71 Faithfulness: Ours’ and God’s 3. 3) Promise praise for His continued protection. We’re going to talk more tonight about what faithfully serving the Lord in your current walk of life looks like. And so once again. this is a very convicting subject. helplessly faithless. The only thing that has EVER been between you and destruction is HIM. INTRODUCTION EXPOSITION V1: “Let me never be ashamed!” What are some spiritual dangers you have seen bring shame to yourself or others? (Spiritual pride. “Don’t look at me! I’m hopeless without Him!” Isn’t that the gospel? 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also died for sins once for all. the just for the unjust. Like the psalmist. wisdom or righteousness. we need the gospel. If you’re like me. Whether we are young or old. Then when we read the psalm we have the big picture and we can appreciate each little heart-felt moment. We’ve passed out this prehandout and asked you to evaluate your own faithfulness. Obstacles. GROUP STUDY (5-6 PEOPLE/GROUP) This isn’t a difficult passage. fear of man. as a man hides in a cave. and Fears the Psalmist Faces B. The Psalmist’s View of Spiritual Success C. but the real purpose of those handouts we gave is not so much to see if you were silly 10 years ago. The Requests the Psalmist Makes D. isolationism. as a man stands on a rock. The Dangers.” How do you take refuge in the Lord? The way this Psalm does! Four things: 1) Remind God (and yourself) that the only thing between you and destruction is HIM. our only credential is a life of utter dependence on God! We’ve always only needed God! When I say. The Psalmist’s Credentials of Faithfulness 5. falling into immorality. The Uses and Implications of the Words “Righteousness” “Faithfulness” G. legalism. “Look at me! I’m so dependent on God!” I mean. bitterness) Do you see these as dangers to yourself? It’s funny to talk about the differences between our naïve expectations and reality. We need His grace to rescue us from our sins and help us walk in faithfulness. it may be convicting to the point of despair. 4) Entreat continued protection. Scott . He’s pouring out his heart! When you do that. The psalmist isn’t trying to make a reasoned.

As you came to Jesus. But faithfulness cannot be conjured up by human wisdom or willpower. "Abiding in Jesus can only be by faith.' they have hardly found a place in their scheme for the larger truth. just as you were taught. but God’s! 2) Praise Him for His past protection. 4) Entreat continued protection. hard realities since then. They have degraded our idealism. I see people who love the Lord. They are very zealous for a free gospel. As I look around this room. Make this your basis for faithfulness: 1) Remind God (and yourself) that the only thing between you and destruction is HIM. to his Savior to receive of His life and strength. as you received Christ Jesus the Lord. who has faithfully protected us. wisdom or righteousness. God in His faithfulness sanctifies us in our faithfulness. or. The only thing that has EVER been between you and destruction is HIM. But after this they think everything depends on our diligence and faithfulness.PSALM 71 Faithfulness: Ours’ and God’s Faithfulness in following God is important. 20 years. We’re not done with those experiences. 'The sinner shall be justified by faith. so abide in Him. So will they result in increasing our wisdom. rooted and built up in him and established in the faith. “When the Son of Man returns will He find faith on the earth?” 10 years from now. While they firmly grasp the truth. abounding in thanksgiving' (Col. There are earnest Christian who do not understand this. and rebuked our naivety. they fail to realize its application in practice. and justification by faith alone. it is only as he daily comes. all empty and helpless." —Andrew Murray. Not your own strength of character. even 50 years from now. Abide in Christ. Scott . There it is: 'Therefore. and that in the relationship to Jesus the one daily and unceasing duty of the disciple is to believe. by faith. page 26 Sing Great is Thy Faithfulness. They know not that the life of grace is always and only a life of faith. with our first acceptance of Christ. it is a fruit of the Spirit. so walk in him. because believing is the one channel through which divine grace and strength flow out into the heart of man. Work in Progress: 9/26/2014 Nathaniel P. if they admit it in theory. We need to evaluate ourselves regularly to see if we are walking in faithfulness to Him. cooled our passion. I want us to be able to get back together again for another retreat and share heartfelt praises to God our Refuge. and have been committed to Him from an early age. and how He will each day do for the sinner just as much as He did the first day when he came to Him. for His glory! Remember these four ways this psalm shows us how to take refuge in the Lord. that he can bring forth the fruits of righteousness to the glory of God. 2:6-7). A number of us have had to face some cold. The old nature of the believer remains evil and sinful to the last. 3) Promise praise for His continued protection. The Solid Rock.' They have never understood what a perfect Savior Jesus is. or will they compromise our godliness? Jesus asked. A lot of us spent several very formative years together and watched the Lord really grow each one of us. 'The just shall live by faith.

Scott . The Psalmist’s View of God       I. The Psalmist’s View of Spiritual Success Spiritual Success Protection Reputation Pour forth constant praise V6: I have been sustained from birth V7: I have become a marvel to many V8: My mouth is filled with…Your glory all day long V15: My mouth shall tell of your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long Testimony V18: I declare Your strength to this generation V18: I declare Your…power to all who are to come Repeated revival V19: You…will revive me again V21: You…turn to comfort me Impact V21: You increase my greatness  Notice the dangers are all about us. GROUP ANSWERS A. Fears Being cast off by God in time of old age (V9. Obstacles.PSALM 71 Faithfulness: Ours’ and God’s 6. The successes are all about Him! The goal is not merely to avoid the pitfalls. Dangers Being ashamed (V1) The hand of the wicked (V4) The grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man (V4) My enemies speak against me. The Dangers. The Requests the Psalmist Makes               Let me never be ashamed (V1) In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me (V2) Incline Your ear to me and save me (V2) Be to me a rock of habitation (V3) Rescue me out of the hand of the wicked (V4) Do not cast me off in the time of old age (V9) Do not forsake me when my strength fails (V9) Do not be far from me (V12) Hasten to my help (V12) Let those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed (V13) Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek to injure me (V13) Even when I am old and gray do not forsake me (V18) May you increase my greatness (V21) (May you) turn to comfort me (V21) D. V18) Being forsaken by God when my strength fails (V9) Being forsaken by God and not delivered from enemies (V11) God being far from me (V12) B. and Fears the Psalmist Faces           I. “You are…” (My only safe place. and watch for my life (V10) My enemies try to pursue and seize me (V11) My enemies seek to injure me (V13) II. but to be consumed with Him! C. and always have been) My rock (V3) My fortress (V3) My hope (V5) My confidence (V5) He who took me from my mother’s womb (V6) My strong refuge (V7) Work in Progress: 9/26/2014 Nathaniel P.

Yours alone (V16) I still declare Your wondrous deeds (V17) I declare Your strength to this generation. Your power to all who are to come (V18) I will praise you with a harp. The Psalmist’s Credentials of Faithfulness       I. In a psalm motivated by desire for faithfulness. yet we chose this psalm for a study on faithfulness. My praise is continually of You (V6) My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long (V8) I will hope continually (V14) I will praise You yet more and more (V14) My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long (V15) I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord YHWH (V16) I will make mention of Your righteousness. Scott . not mine (V16) God’s reaches to the heavens (V19) II. o God’s faithfulness is the result or outworking of the more foundational characteristic of His righteousness. but you get it from reading between the lines: o The psalmist’s concerns about personal faithfulness are the inspiration/motivation for the psalm. but personal faithfulness is NOT the solution. The Ways the Psalmist Brings God Glory              I. Borrowing from Zemek’s outline: You are my hope (V5) You are my confidence (V5) You have sustained me from my birth (V6) You are my praise (V6) I have become a marvel to many because you are my strong refuge (V7) My mouth is filled with Your praise and glory (V8) II. Conclusion: the psalmist is too aware of his lack of faithfulness to dare mention any deeds. All he can claim to do for God is praise Him. Faithfulness  Not mentioned.     G. even Your truth (V22) I will sing praises with the lyre (V22) My lips (and my soul) will shout for joy when I sing praises to You (V23) My tongue will utter your righteousness all day long (V24) F. His only credential is a life of utter dependence. Righteousness God’s is the basis for my deliverance and rescue (V2) God’s is what I tell of all day long (V15 and V24) God’s is what I make mention of. The Uses “Faithfulness” and Implications of the Words “Righteousness” and I. this psalm describes God’s faithfulness on the basis of his righteousness. and George Zemek lists it twice in the outline!  It’s an unmistakable theme. “You will…” (Save me again) Revive me again (V20) Bring me up from the depths of the earth (V20) E. Work in Progress: 9/26/2014 Nathaniel P. “You have…” (Saved me in the past) Given commandment to save me (V3) Taught me from my youth (V17) Done great things (V19) Shown me many troubles and distresses (V20) Redeemed my soul (V23) III. the psalmist is too fearful to mention his own performance. Or in other words.PSALM 71 Faithfulness: Ours’ and God’s        II.

Your. praises Ashamed Deliver. redeemed Rock. Yours Righteousness Praise. revive Work in Progress: 9/26/2014 Nathaniel P. Scott Count 25 + 21 + 14 = 60 19 + 13 + 1 = 32 5 4+2=6 3 2+2+2+1+1+1=9 2+2+2+1=7 1+1=2 . rescue. me. I You. salvation. refuge. save. fortress Sustained. help.PSALM 71 Faithfulness: Ours’ and God’s Word My. strength.