But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.
— PSALM 71:14 —
S. W. | Asia
The author of this Psalm is unknown but revealed as an older man (Psa. 71:9), who faces wicked men that seek to destroy his reputation and life (Psa. 71:4, 10–11). In the midst of the onslaught of persecution, his main appeal is for God to be near to him (Psa. 71:12), by hastening to help him. The first plea for help that he seeks is for his enemies to be judged by God (Psa. 71:13). Rather than disillusionment, the trial of persecution should remind us of God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, love, mercy, forgiveness, and so much more! The second plea for help is found in our verse, where he asks for a hopeful heart of praise. We must pause and consider how different this is from the modern evangelical perspective on persecution. We might agree with the psalmist in his request for justice upon his enemies. But the second plea seems antithetical to the spirit of today. Should not persecuted believers ask for physical restoration and blessing? We are convicted when the psalmist asks instead for a heart that would praise God more—a heart that would wait and hope continually. This is like the undoubting heart of faith that James exhorts us to have in trials (James 1:6). The psalmist also asks for a heart that would be caused (the language emphasizes God causing this praise) to praise God more than before the trial. Rather than disillusionment, the trial of persecution should remind us of God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, love, mercy, forgiveness, and so much more! This is a sweet reminder to me in ministry, where persecution and opposition is a growing reality for me and faithful brethren. God will use even persecution to bless us—not physically, but spiritually—by showing us a bigger picture of His kingdom purposes and faithfulness.