Keep your head on a swivel.
Have you heard that phrase before? I use that saying when I’m coaching my son in flag football. As a defensive safety, he must spy the quarterback in case he decides to pull the ball down and run, know where the receivers are so they don’t get behind him, and watch for the frantic traffic of his own teammates flying around trying to make plays. Keeping your head on a swivel is maintaining multiple perspectives all at the same time.
The Psalmist in Psalm 71 does that very thing. He effectively maintains three positions: looking back from where he came, staying present in the moment, and having vision to pray for greater things in the future.
If you haven’t had a moment to read Psalm 71. Take a few minutes to do so.
When I read Psalm 71, I felt both an urgency from the author and a right perspective at the same time. The author shows us a number of different feelings and emotions in the span of a few verses, and for me, I find comfort in that. My story feels that way sometimes, full of emotion. In an instant, I’m grateful for God’s great provision in my life giving rightful praise to the One worthy of all praise. In another moment, I am overwhelmed and alone in the world bearing the weight of great trouble. And there is a myriad of feelings in between: anger, excitement, joy, fear… all are present. Psalm 71 allows for a raw dealing with our God and the space for continual change in our relationship with Him who knows us best.
“Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.”
The Psalmist understands that within his story, God is all… the rescuer, the refuge, the allower of calamity, and the purveyor of salvation.
As he looks back:
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.(v. 6)
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. (v.12)
As he peers left and right:
O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! May my accusers be put to shame and consumed; with scorn and disgrace may they be covered who seek my hurt. (vv. 12-13)
And as he has vision ahead:
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (v. 18)
This week, keep your head on a swivel as your story unfolds inside of God’s Story. Praise the God who is your refuge and salvation all the days of your life … yesterday, today and always.
-- Matt Stewart