The Psalms for a New Day website has just been redesigned and the website has moved to a new location. The page you are looking for has moved. Try the link below:
Looking for content on a specific topic?

Psalm 70

Help me now!

Our world’s evil and oppression  sometimes threaten to overwhelm us. Since God is determined to rid our world of evil, he welcomes all our prayers for deliverance from it.

A David psalm.

Rescue me, God!
Hurry, Yahveh, and help me!
Let shame and confusion overtake
all those trying to destroy me.
Rout in humiliation
all who want to see me hurt.
May all who revel in every hit I take
shrink back in shame.

But may everyone who seeks you
be glad and rejoice in you.
May all who love what you’re doing
to save humankind
say, “God is great!”

But I am poor and wasted.
Come quick, God!
You’re my help and my deliverer.
Don’t delay, Yahveh![a]

David begins and ends begging God to save him from enemies bent on destroying him. God promised to protect his people from harm in the Mosaic covenant, and earlier to curse all who cursed Abraham. So David naturally asks God to protect him. He tells him everything’s messed up and asks him to fix his situation immediately since he’s got no other hope. We might expect all this even in a breathlessly brief prayer.

But two things are surprising here. People usually respond to serious threats by hitting back even harder. David asks only that God leave his enemies in disarray, disgraced and red-faced when their hopes are dashed and their nefarious plans fall flat.

Even more surprising is the fact that David anchors his prayer in joy. He’s knows God dwarfs the evil and oppression he’s up against and will yet overcome it. He prays it will happen—that all who seek God and love what he’s doing to put things right in the world will rejoice in him and celebrate his greatness. Though we’re weak and helpless without him, joy will yet triumph over pain. David is determined to declare that truth for however long it takes for the darkness to give way to God’s light.

God, I long for the day when your light dispels every last shadow and you wipe every tear from our eyes. I believe it will come. But sometimes it seems such a long way off. You’re my help and deliverer. Don’t delay! May all who seek you be glad and rejoice in you. Amen.

In your free moments today, pray this prayer:

May all who love what you’re doing to save humankind say, “God is great!”

[a] This psalm was incorporated into Psalm 40 (vv. 13-17) with minor changes in wording. But these lines of poetry work differently on their own, just as a gemstone looks very different when taken by itself, as opposed to being surrounded by other jewels in a necklace.

Why Yahveh?

Every translator of the Psalms must decide how to handle God’s personal name, YHWH, which occurs repeatedly in its Hebrew text. Translators of the King James Version usually translated it “LORD” (all caps) and occasionally transliterated it (badly) as “Jehovah.” Modern translations, likewise, either translate or transliterate it. While translating it aims to make it more accessible to readers, transliterating it is more faithful to the text since it’s not a word at all, but rather God’s uniquely personal name. I’ve chosen to transliterate it to root it more firmly in the biblical story as the name—meaning the “self-existent One”—that God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. This name set Israel’s God apart from all the gods of Israel’s neighbors.

Personal names are, well, very personal. Even the sound of a name can evoke strong emotion. One problem with YHWH is that we aren’t sure how it was pronounced since Jews long ago stopped saying it in order better to hallow it. In transliterating it, I follow the advice of my esteemed Hebrew professor, Raymond Dillard. He advocated transliterating it as Yahveh—pronounced yah·vay—arguing that following the modern Hebrew pronunciation of its third consonant makes the name sound more robustly Jewish than Yahweh.
May these psalms be a light to you in dark times. You can read more of Mark Robert Anderson's writings on Christianity, culture, and inter-faith dialogue at Understanding Christianity Today.