The Poverty of Man

April 29, 2012 - 5:00 am

“But as for me, I am poor and needy;
   come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
   Lord, do not delay.” — Psalm 70:5

Psalm 70 presents many familiar themes that can be found throughout the book of Psalms. David begins by cursing his enemies who seek his death, then prays and praises those who take refuge in God, finally ending with a personal plea for God’s salvation.

What then makes this psalm unique? Though the theme and flow of the poem mimics other psalms, the style — one of extreme terseness — makes it unique.

In five short poetic sentences, David manages to capture his range of emotions:  his despair, his faith, his hope, his sadness, and his ultimate need for the intimacy with God. And yet, despite his poetic agility, David, as seen in verse 5, ends with a feeling of inadequacy before God.

He views himself as completely poor and needy, desperate that God not waste one more second in coming to his salvation. David displays a tension between his poetic abilities and his ultimate knowledge of his unworthiness before God. I think this provides a valuable insight into the heart of the poet, whose words resonate for us all.

Sometimes it is in the moments of poverty or neediness, whether spiritual, economic, or health, in which we realize our greatest connection to God. It is in the moments when we feel so overwhelmed by life, beat up, let down, going from one struggle to the next that we feel winded, at a loss for words that we just sigh, or groan, and that groan speaks volumes.

It is the groan of the weary, the tired, the suffering, but also the groan of someone who realizes that something is missing in their life. It is the groan for God — please do not delay for I am poor and destitute without you! It is David’s groan, “Come quickly to me, O God.”

Everyone, at some point in our lives, feels a type of poverty. When we find ourselves in those destitute moments, those moments where words cannot capture our absolute need, we must remember to call out to God and use those moments to grow even closer to the Ultimate Source of goodness in our lives.


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