Verse 5. But I am poor and needy. Just the same plea as in the preceding Psalm, Ps 69:29: it seems to be a favourite argument with tried saints; evidently our poverty is our wealth, even as our weakness is our strength. May we learn well this riddle.
Make haste unto me, O God. This is written instead of "yet the Lord thinketh upon me," in Psalm 40: and there is a reason for the change, since the key note of the Psalm frequently dictates its close. Psalm 40 sings of God's thoughts, and, therefore, ends therewith; but the peculiar note of Psalm 70 is "Make haste," and, therefore, so it concludes.
Thou art my help and my deliverer. My help in trouble, my deliverer out of it.
O Lord, make no tarrying. Here is the name of "Jehovah" instead of "my God." We are warranted in using all the various names of God, for each has its own beauty and majesty, and we must reverence each by its holy use as well as by abstaining from taking it in vain. I have presumed to close this recapitulatory exposition with an original hymn, suggested by the watchword of this Psalm, "MAKE HASTE."
Make haste, O God, my soul to bless!
My help and my deliverer thou;
Make haste, for I am in deep distress,
My case is urgent; help me now.
Make haste, O God! make haste to save!
For time is short, and death is nigh;
Make haste ere yet I am in my grave,
And with the lost forever lie.
Make haste, for I am poor and low;
And Satan mocks my prayers and tears;
O God, in mercy be not slow,
But snatch me from my horrid fears.
Make haste, O God, and hear my cries;
Then with the souls who seek thy face,
And those who thy salvation prize,
I will magnify thy matchless grace.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. But I am poor and needy. He had been rich, but for our sake he had become poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich. Out of the fulness of his grace he had voluntarily entered, for our sakes, into a state in which he had experience, and most bitter experience, of the want of the means of enjoyment... But the word here rendered poor is often elsewhere, translated afflicted; in various ways he was afflicted. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and the acquaintance of grief. He was reproached, and "reproach broke his heart." James Frame.
Verse 5. I am poor and needy. By this I hold to be meant the chastisements, and fiery trials that come from God the Father; the temptations and bitter assaults of that foul and fell fiend, Satan; the persecutions and vexations inflicted by the hands of unreasonable and wicked men; and (but in this following Christ must be exempted) the inward corruptions, disordered motions, unsettled affections, and the original pollutions brought from the mother's womb; with the soul and body's inaptness and unableness with cheerfulness and constancy to run the direct and just paths of God's commandments. Many of these made the Head, all of these (and more, too) the members, poor and needy. John Barlow. 1618.
Verse 5. O Lord, make no tarrying. His prayer for himself, like his prayer for his foes and for his friends, was answered. The Lord made no tarrying. Ere four and twenty hours had rolled past, his rescued spirit was in Paradise, and the crucified thief was with him. O, what a change! The morning saw him condemned at the bar of an earthly tribunal, sentenced to death, and nailed to the bitter tree; before the evening shadowed the hill of Calvary, he was nestling in the bosom of God, and had become the great centre of attraction and of admiration to all the holy intelligences of the universe. The morning saw him led out through the gate of the Jerusalem below, surrounded by a ribald crowd, whose hootings rung in his ear; but ere the night fell, he had passed through the gate of the Jerusalem above, and his tread was upon the streets of gold, and angel anthems rose high through the dome of heaven, and joy filled the heart of God. James Frame.
Verse 5. (third clause). Helper, in all good works; Deliverer, from all evil ones. Make no long tarrying: it is the cry of the individual sinner. Dionysius the Carthusian (1471) quoted in Neale and Littledale's Commentary.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Who needs help? Who renders help?
- What it comes to: "deliver."
- What prayer it suggests.
- Confession! I am poor and needy.
- Profession: Thou art my help, etc.
- Supplication: Make haste; Make no tarrying.