The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 71

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
Other Works

TITLE. There is no title to this Psalm, and hence some conjecture that Psalm 70 is intended to be a prelude to it, and has been broken off from it. Such imaginings have no value to us. We have already met with five Psalms without title, which is, nevertheless, as complete as those which bear them. We have here THE PRAYER OF THE AGED BELIEVER, who, in holy confidence of faith, strengthened by a long and remarkable experience, pleads against his enemies, and asks for further blessings for himself. Anticipating a gracious reply, he promises to magnify the Lord exceedingly.

DIVISION. The first four verses are faith’s cry for help; the next four are a testimony of experience. From Ps 71:9-13, the aged saint pleads against his foes and then rejoices in hope, Ps 71:14-16. He returns to prayer again in Ps 71:17-18, repeats the confident hopes which cheered his soul, Ps 71:19-21; and then he closes with the promise of abounding in thanksgiving. Throughout, this Psalm may be regarded as the utterance of struggling, but unstaggering, faith.

Verse 3. Be thou my strong habitation. Permit me to enter into thee, and be as much at home as a man in his own house, and then suffer me to remain in thee as my settled abode. Whereas foes molest me, I need a dwelling framed and bulwarked, to sustain a siege and resist the attacks of armies; let, then, thine omnipotence secure me, and be as a fortress unto me. Here we see a weak man, but he is in a strong habitation; his security rests upon the tower in which he hides, and is not placed in jeopardy through his personal feebleness. Whereunto I may continually resort. Fast shut is this castle against all adversaries, its gates they cannot burst open; the drawbridge is up, the portcullis is down, the bars are fast in their places; but, there is a secret door, by which friends of the great Lord can enter at all hours of the day or night, as often as ever they, please. There is never an hour when it is unlawful to pray. Mercy’s gates stand wide open and shall do so, till, at the last, the Master of the house has risen up and shut to the door. Believers find their God to be their habitation, strong and accessible, and this is for them a sufficient remedy for all the ills of their mortal life.

Thou hast given commandment to save me. Nature is charged to be tender with God’s servants; Providence is ordered to work their good, and the forces of the invisible world are ordained as their guardians. David charged all his troops to spare the young man Absalom, but yet he fell. God’s commandment is of far higher virtue, for it compels obedience, and secures its end. Destruction cannot destroy us, famine cannot starve us; but we laugh at both, while God’s mandate shields us. No stones of the field can throw us down, while angels bear us up in their hands; neither can the beasts of the field devour us, while David’s God delivers us from their ferocity, or Daniel’s God puts them in awe of us. For thou art my rock and my fortress. In God we have all the security that nature which furnishes the rock, and art which builds the fortress, could supply; he is the complete preserver of his people. Immutability may be set forth by the rock, and omnipotence by the fortress. Happy is he who can use the personal pronoun “my”—not only once, but as many times as the many aspects of the Lord may render desirable. Is he a strong habitation? I will call him “my strong habitation, “and he shall be my rock, my fortress, my God (Ps 71:4), my hope, my trust (Ps 71:5), my praise (Ps 71:6). All mine shall be his, all his shall be mine. This was the reason why the psalmist was persuaded that God had commanded his salvation, namely, because he had enabled his to exercise a calm and appropriating faith.

Singing Psalms 71

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