To the choirmaster. Of David, for the memorial offering.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let them turn back because of their shame
who say, “Aha, Aha!”
May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay!
The enemies of David spoke out of turn, and David prayed for their shame. How dare they use their words in such an insensitive way, forgetting that death and life are in the power of the tongue! They had no right to speak this way.
But some may argue that David spoke out of turn as well:
“Make haste, O God.“
“Hasten to me, O God!”
“O LORD, do not delay!”
David himself once said it is miraculous enough that God cares for man at all. What is man, then, that he can make such demands of his Creator? It is one thing to ask for God’s help, but to ask for it speedily feels a touch presumptuous.
Should David be ashamed of himself? Is such an approach of God the stuff of holy, reverent worship? The tone of David’s prayer before God’s throne seems vastly different than Isaiah’s trembling: “woe is me.” It is nothing like Nehemiah’s extolling: “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive.”
The surprise of God is that such requests are not met with rebuke. God does not admonish David to “let go and let God.” The author of Time itself does not tell David, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” Because David’s request of God, in the end, is not selfish, or impolite. It is faith.
This prayer is not a fatalistic, detached rehearsing of the right words: “thy will be done.” It is a humble and desperate cry for help, and more importantly, a cry that believes that the One who hears it can do something.
In prayer, God wants a right heart more than the right words. Sometimes our requests may sound too demanding or premature, but God can take them all: “Let it be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.”
What will God do when we cast all of our anxieties upon Him, even those that seem presumptuous?
What we will find is stunning.