Psalm 70: Lessons For Turning to Jesus During Your Trials

Introduction: In Psalms 40 and 70, David twice cried out to God to deliver him from his enemies and to thwart their evil plans. Why does the Bible repeat the same prayer? Sadly, believers need reminders not to follow the instincts of their flesh. During a trial, turning to God is unfortunately not the first, second, or third instinct of many believers. For many, it only happens when God removes every worldly solution the believer has relied upon for support. David’s Psalm 70 also points to the hope of salvation that is available only through faith in Jesus. Today, believers also need reminders to turn to Jesus during their trials. Through Psalm 70, Jesus reminds believers of seven reasons to turn to Him during a trial or an attack. Jesus is a God of: (1) deliverance, (2) protection, (3) justice, (4) joy, (5) salvation, (6) comfort, and (7) help through the Holy Spirit.

First, in desperation, David cried out to God to hurry to rescue him from his enemies. During your trials or whenever you are in need, Jesus also wants you to cry out to Him for deliverance. Second, David prayed for God to thwart the evil plans of his enemies. During your trials or whenever you are attacked, Jesus also wants you to cry out to Him for protection. Third, David pleaded with God to put to shame those who had mocked him. David made no effort to avenge the wrongs against him. During your trials, Jesus wants you to pray for your enemies and to leave vengeance and justice to Him. Fourth, David proclaimed his desire that all who would seek God would rejoice. During your trials, Jesus offers that you peace and joy when you seek Him with all your heart and soul. Fifth, David stated that those who love God’s salvation would turn to Him in praise. This foreshadowed Jesus. Jesus offers to all a path to salvation. Those who accept it will one day turn to Him in praise. Sixth, David pleaded with God to hurry because he was afflicted and in need. During your trials, Jesus also wants you to turn to Him for comfort. Finally, David called God his “help” and his salvation. This foreshadowed the Holy Spirit. He is your Helper in times of need and the down payment on your eternal salvation.

1. Deliverance: During Your Trials, Cry Out to Jesus for Deliverance. Ps. 70:1.

  • David prayed for God to deliver him from his enemies. Despite being a mighty warrior, David always turned to God for deliverance when his many enemies tried to kill him: “For the music director. A Psalm of David; for a memorial. 1 God, hurry to save me; Lord, hurry to help me!” (Ps. 70:1). With any attack, most people try to rely upon their own abilities to defend themselves. But God wants you to turn to Him for deliverance.

  • Cry out to God when you are in need of deliverance.  Psalm 40 contains David’s nearly identical prayer:  “13 Be pleased, Lord, to rescue me; hurry, Lord, to help me. . .  . do not delay, my God.”   (Ps. 40:13, 17).  David also made similar cries for help throughout the Psalms:  “Hurry to help me, Lord, my salvation!”  (Ps. 38:22).  “God, do not be far from me; My God, hurry to my aid!”  (Ps. 71:12).  “A Psalm of David. LORD, I call upon You; hurry to me!  Listen to my voice when I call to You!”  (Ps. 141:1).  These cries are repeated for a reason. Many believers know what the Bible says about turning to God. But many fail to do it. Because of our sinful nature, believers need repeated reminders.

  • God wants you to share your authentic and genuine feelings with Him. Psalm 70 is remarkable because of the number of times that David tells God to “hurry”. In just five verses, David urged God to either hurry or to not delay no less than four times (Ps. 70:1, 5). To some, this might appear demanding or lacking proper reverence. But God never rebuked David for his prayers. To the contrary, while praying, God gave David peace. The message is that God wants you to be authentic and genuine with Him the way that a child might cry out to his or her parents. You can be genuine in crying out a plea of desperation without being disrespectful. It shows that you have a relationship with God and the faith to know that you can turn to Him for your deepest concerns.

“Prayers of a Warrior”: Psalm 70 – My Help and My Deliverer, by CountrySlicker | American Partisan

Let Jesus be your deliverer and fight your spiritual battles for you1

2. Protection: During Your Trials, Cry Out to Jesus for Protection. Ps. 70:2.

  • David prayed for God to thwart the plans of those who sought to harm him. Instead of picking up a sword and fighting his enemies, David prayed for God to protect him: “May those who seek my life be put to shame and humiliated; may those who delight in my harm be turned back and dishonored.” (Ps. 70:2). When you are attacked, Jesus also wants you to turn to Him for your protection. He can be your shield and your refuge.

  • Seek God’s protection when others try to harm you. Psalm 40 also contains David’s nearly identical prayer for protection: “May those be ashamed and humiliated together who seek my life to destroy it; may those be turned back and dishonored who delight in my hurt.” (Ps. 40:14). “Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; let those turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me . . . May those be ashamed and together humiliated who rejoice at my distress; may those who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and dishonor.” (Ps. 35:4, 26). “May they be ashamed and dismayed forever, and may they be humiliated and perish,” (Ps. 83:17). These may not sound like polished Christian prayers. But you can again be authentic and genuine with God when you pour out your heart to Him to obtain protection from your enemies.

  • God is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  David previously praised God as his “shield” and his refuge:  “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2).  “He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”  (2 Sam. 22:31).  “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”  (Ps. 3:3).  “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”  (Ps. 5:12).  Solomon also called God his shield:  “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”  (Prov. 30:5).  When God is your refuge, He will also be your shield. 

  • Praise Jesus for His protection.  Jesus is your rock.  Thus, He deserves your praise for His protection:  “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,”  (2 Sam. 22:47; 22:3).  “The Rock!  His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”  (Dt. 32:4).  “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  (Ps. 18:2, 31, 46; 19:14).  Do you praise Jesus for His protection and deliverance in your life?    

  • Let Jesus also be your refuge in the wilderness. It is in Jesus that we “have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” (Heb. 6:18). “The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble;” (Ps. 9:9). “Each will be like a refuge from the wind and a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry country, like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land.” (Is. 32:2). No one can replace the refuge that Jesus offers. Yet, He frequently uses His believers as the instruments of His refuge. If His love is in you, He wants you to be a refuge to those in need: ‘“naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’” (Matt. 25:36). Jesus asks us: “And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matt. 5:47). Have you made yourself available to help a person like David in their time of need?

3. Justice: During Your Trials, Leave Vengeance and Justice to Jesus. Ps. 70:3.

  • David prayed for justice against those who mocked him. David also asked that those who taunted him and questioned his anointing be put to shame: “May those who say, ‘Aha, aha!’ be turned back because of their shame.” (Ps. 70:3). God granted David a covenant for his lineage to rule over the Jews (2 Sam. 7:12–17). Those who mocked David for claiming a God-given right to be king were in effect mocking God’s Word.

  • David frequently turned to God when others mocked or ridiculed him. The term “Aha, aha” appears three times in the Psalms as an expression of ridicule (Ps. 35:21; 40:15; 70:3). “They opened their mouth wide against me; they said, ‘Aha, aha! Our eyes have seen it!”’ (Ps. 35:21). “May those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, ‘Aha, aha!’” (Ps. 40:15). “May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward;” (Ps. 129:5). This same phrase is also used to express ridicule in Ezekiel. “and say to the sons of Ammon, ‘Hear the word of the Lord GOD! This is what the Lord GOD says: ‘Because you said, ‘Aha!’ against My sanctuary when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and against the house of Judah when they went into exile,”’ (Ezek. 25:3). “This is what the Lord GOD says: ‘Since the enemy has spoken against you, ‘Aha!’ and, ‘The everlasting heights have become our possession,”’ (Ezek. 36:2). Whenever you face ridicule, turn to God for justice and resolution.

  • Jesus’ enemies also mocked Him for His claims. The enemies of Jesus also mocked Him for who He claimed to be: “And some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists and say to Him, ‘Prophesy!’ Then the officers took custody of Him and slapped Him in the face.” (Mk. 14:65). “Rest assured, the enemies of Christ and his people shall have wages for their work; they shall be paid in their own coin; they loved scoffing, and they shall be filled with it.” (Charles Spurgeon on Ps. 70).2

  • Leave vengeance to Jesus, and He will bring you divine justice. When someone hurts you, you must also leave vengeance to Jesus:  “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”  (Ro. 12:19). He will one day right every wrong. He will also bring about divine justice for every evil act against you. But you must wait for His timing.

  • Jesus will one day reign with justice and righteousness. The Bible promises that the Messiah Jesus Christ will one day reign over all the Earth with justice and righteousness: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.”  (Is. 9:6-7a).  “A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, and a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; moreover, he will seek justice and be prompt in righteousness.”  (Is. 16:5). “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’”’  (Jer. 23:5-6). Thus, you can trust Jesus to right every wrong and bring divine justice.

4. Joy: During Your Trials, Turn to Jesus to Find Peace and Joy. Ps. 70:4a.

  • David prayed for those who turn to God to find joy. David promised that all who seek God will rejoice and find joy: “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;” (Ps. 70:4a). This again pointed to Jesus. He offers you peace and joy during your trials.

  • David repeatedly praised God for the joy He offers during a trial. In Psalm 40, David also praised God for the joy that He offers to all who seek Him: “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;” (Ps. 40:16a). “May those shout for joy and rejoice, who take delight in my vindication; and may they say continually, ‘The LORD be exalted, who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”’ (Ps. 35:27). When you seek Him, Jesus also offers to give you joy in the midst of any trial or conflict.

Psalm 70 - YouTube

Jesus can bring you joy during even the worst trials or attacks3

  • Trust Jesus to also bless you with joy.  Like David, you cannot avoid moments of tragedy, sorrow, loss, or trials.  But Jesus offers you “abundant” life:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.”  (Jo. 10:10).  The Psalms can help you to find joy by turning your focus away from yourself and back to God where it belongs.  When Saul was trying to kill David, David wrote in one of his many psalms that he would always praise God (Ps. 34:1).  Moreover, David and other psalmists were joyful in their praises:  “I will rejoice and be jubilant in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.”  (Ps. 9:2).  “But rejoice, all who take refuge in You, sing for joy forever!  And may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.”  (Ps. 5:11).  “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; and my soul, which You have redeemed.”  (Ps. 71:23).  “I rejoice at Your word, like one who finds great plunder.”  (Ps. 119:162).  Thus, if you are going through the motions when you worship, you should stop and examine your heart. 

  • Trust in Jesus to restore your lost peace.  Jesus offers a peace that is not like the peace that the world offers:  “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.”  (Jo. 14:27).  He instead promises something better.  He promises peace that surpasses worldly understanding: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 4:7).  Is your happiness tied to your wealth and status?  If so, your peace is only temporary.  It will likely disappear in the next crisis.

5. Salvation: During Your Trials, Praise Jesus for Your Salvation. Ps. 70:4b.

  • David also stated that those who love their salvation will praise God with joy. David also prophetically proclaimed that all who love God’s salvation will one day praise Him: “and may those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘May God be exalted!’” (Ps. 70:4b). “David thought that to praise God was to magnify Him – that is, to make Him larger in one’s perception. Magnification does not actually make an object bigger, and we can’t make God bigger. Still, to magnify something or someone is to perceive it as bigger, and we must do that regarding God.” (David Guzik on Ps. 70 emphasis original).4

  • Praise Jesus for taking your sins to make your salvation possible. In Psalm 40, David’s nearly identical prayer contains praise for the salvation that God makes possible: “may those who love Your salvation continually say, ‘The Lord be exalted!’” (Ps. 40:16b). David also praised God because He offered “salvation” and an “escape from death.” (Ps. 68:20). Jesus came from the line of David to fulfill God’s promise through David to save His people: “And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David—” (Lk. 1:69). He bore our burdens by taking our sins upon Himself: “and He Himself brought our sins in His body up on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Pet. 2:24). He took our punishment and died for everyone because He loves us: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40). “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies,”’ (John 11:25). “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”’ (John 14:6). “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people,” (Titus 2:11). How are you showing your gratitude to Jesus for your eternal salvation?

  • Praise Jesus in every context. Praise and gratitude should not be limited to only the good times. As our example, David praised God in both good and bad times. For example, when Saul was trying to kill David, David wrote in one of his many psalms that he would always praise God: “A Psalm of David, when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Ps. 34:1). Likewise, when Daniel learned that the king had signed an order that would result in him being thrown in the lion’s den, he continued in his regular praises for God: “Now when Daniel learned that the document was signed, he entered his house (and in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and offering praise before his God, just as he had been doing previously.” (Dan. 6:10). As another example, Paul worshiped even when he was jailed for his faith: “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father;” (Eph. 5:20). Do you worship God in both good and bad times?

Psalm 70:4 King James KJV (With images) | Rejoice and be glad, Scripture for today ...

When attacked, turn to Jesus with gratitude and praise for your salvation5

6. Comfort: During Your Trials, Turn to Jesus for Comfort. Ps. 70:5a.

  • David cried out for God to comfort him in his time of need. In his hour of need, David again cried out for God to be with him and comfort him during his trial: “But I am afflicted and needy; Hurry to me, God!” (Ps. 70:5a). Jesus also offers you comfort when you turn to Him during your time of need. He in turn asks that you help others in need.

  • Turn to God when you need comfort. In Psalm 40, David also cried out for God to hurry and help him: “But I am afflicted and needy; may the Lord be mindful of me.” (Ps. 40:17a). “A Prayer of David. Incline Your ear, LORD, and answer me; for I am afflicted and needy.” (Ps. 86:1). God also offers to comfort you when you are in need.

  • Jesus also offers you comfort when you turn to Him. When you suffer, you can also turn to Jesus for His comfort: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (1 Cor. 1:3-4). He restores you when you feel sad: “But You, LORD, are a shield around me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.” (Ps. 3:3). “A Psalm of David. I will exalt You, LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.” (Ps. 30:1). “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Lk. 21:28). When others around you are in pain, Jesus also wants you to share with them the same “comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (1 Cor. 1:4). Are you showing the comfort that Jesus has shown you to those who are in need?

7. The Spirit: During a Trial, Turn to the Spirit to be Your Helper. Ps. 70:5b.

  • David prayed for God to act quickly in being his helper. David concluded his prayer by calling on God, his help, and his savior, and urging God to act quickly to save him: “You are my help and my savior; Lord, do not delay.” (Ps. 70:5b). This prayer prophetically pointed to the Holy Spirit. He is your Helper, and He is always there to guide you.

  • David repeatedly referred to God as his “help”. Psalm 70 was the fifth time that David called God his “help”: “ . . . You who are my help, hurry to my assistance.” (Ps. 22:19). “ . . . You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, God of my salvation!” (Ps. 27:9). “Hear, LORD, and be gracious to me; LORD, be my helper.” (Ps. 30:10). “You are my help and my savior; do not delay, my God.”  (Ps. 40:17b). “For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.” (Ps. 63:7). Jesus fulfilled these prophetic words by making it possible for the Holy Spirit to dwell within you.

  • The Holy Spirit is your Helper. Jesus identified the Holy Spirit as the Helper in times of need: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.” (John 14:26). He is more powerful than any evil spirit: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).

  • The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ down payment on your salvation. You also don’t need to wait until you get to heaven to experience Jesus’ joy. The Holy Spirit is a down-payment on your salvation (Eph. 1:14; 2 Cor. 1:22). The fruit of the Holy Spirit includes joy and peace (Gal. 5:22-23). If you are lacking joy, pray for Jesus to remove the things that impede your ability to receive His blessings. “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 14:17).

  • Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus will also give wisdom when you seek Him in prayer.  If you diligently seek Jesus’ will in prayer, He also promises to give you wisdom through the Holy Spirit:  “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  (Jam. 1:5).  “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.”  (Ps. 51:6).  “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  (Prov. 2:6).  If, like David, you feel all alone, are you seeking Jesus’ wisdom and His direction through the Holy Spirit?

  • Put your hope in Jesus when you are attacked. When you face a trial or darkness, Jesus wants you to place your hope in Him alone for deliverance: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil,” (Heb. 6:19). “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Ps. 39:7). “For I wait for You, LORD; You will answer, Lord my God.” (Ps. 38:15). “For You are my hope; Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.” (Ps. 71:5). When you are attacked, do you place your hope in Jesus or in the things of this world?

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