A Cup of Coffee, Solitude, and the Scripture

Psalm 70: Calling 911

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On many mornings I enjoy having a somewhat extended (for me, anyway) time of reading the Bible. A cup of coffee, solitude, and the Scripture is a great way to start my day. But, sometimes life intrudes, cutting short or eliminating this favorite habit. Whether it’s my own lack of discipline to get up on time or some emergency requiring my attention, sometimes there isn’t opportunity for that quiet time of reading, prayer, and meditation. 

Or maybe in the course of the day I am suddenly faced with a serious crisis needing immediate action in which there is no time to prepare, only to react. Whether it’s the former situation or the latter, sometimes all I’m able to do is send up a flare: “God, help!”

The warrior-king David had his share of times like that, too. I know he did because he wrote about them in Psalm 70. In five short verses, his prayer begins and ends with a plea: Lord, please hurry and help me! David provides reasons that he needs a 911 immediate response from God: there are enemies trying to kill him, people trying to hurt him, and some who are rejoicing in his troubles, seeking to humiliate him. 

In David’s snapshot prayer, he asks that his tormentors be turned back and dishonored, and he prays that those who seek God would rejoice with gladness, and that God would be glorified by His people. His emergency request ends with a humble confession that he needs God’s deliverance, and he needs it now.

Commentators note that Psalm 40:13-17 constitutes an almost word-for-word repetition of Psalm 70, and that Psalm 71 is also very closely related to Psalm 70. But both Psalm 40 and Psalm 71 are longer than the brief cry for help that comprises the short, emergency telegram of Psalm 70. It’s a comforting lesson. In those crisis situations when all there’s time for is “God, help!”, it’s enough;  He hears and answers His people.