Psalm 71, although not attributed to David, follows a very similar pattern to many of David’s psalms. The writer expresses honestly their many and bitter troubles (v20), and their problems with a range of accusers (v13) and enemies (v10), while being determined to praise God through it all. And the Lord’s faithfulness is praised in familiar images such as my refuge, my rock, my fortress and my hope.

I like also the psalmist’s variety of expressions of worship. He uses his lips (v23), his tongue (v24) and his mouth (v15), alongside both the harp and the lyre (v22). It’s past and future, from his birth (v6), through his youth (v5), and it’s for always (v14). God taught him in his youth, and he is determined to pass on the unchanging truth about the Lord to the next generation, “to all who are yet to come” (v18).

Constant yet variable, the same but with slight differences – God is praised for His righteous deeds, His saving acts, His marvellous deeds, His mighty acts, and His righteous acts (vv15-24). We do a similar thing with our modern worship songs, continually looking for variations on a theme. The message, the amazing good news of Jesus, never changes and never can change. But we can always find new words and expressions, new songs and hymns as well as variations on the old ones, to give us fresh ways of seeing and understanding.

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