Life-Everlasting.net

Psalm 69

To the Chief Musician. Set to "The Lilies." {Hebrew Shoshannim} A Psalm of David.

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. 2 I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. 4 Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it. 5 O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You. 6 Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel. 7 Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face. 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother's children; 9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. 10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, That became my reproach. 11 I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them. 12 Those who sit in the gate speak against me, And I am the song of the drunkards.

13 But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, Hear me in the truth of Your salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, And let me not sink; Let me be delivered from those who hate me, And out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the floodwater overflow me, Nor let the deep swallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth on me. 16 Hear me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. 17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant, For I am in trouble; Hear me speedily. 18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; Deliver me because of my enemies. 19 You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonour; My adversaries are all before You. 20 Reproach has broken my heart, And I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none. 21 They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

22 Let their table become a snare before them, And their well-being a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; And make their loins shake continually. 24 Pour out Your indignation upon them, And let Your wrathful anger take hold of them. 25 Let their dwelling place be desolate; Let no one live in their tents. 26 For they persecute the ones You have struck, And talk of the grief of those You have wounded. 27 Add iniquity to their iniquity, And let them not come into Your righteousness. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous. 29 But I am poor and sorrowful; Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.

30 I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. 31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, Which has horns and hooves. 32 The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live. 33 For the LORD hears the poor, And does not despise His prisoners. 34 Let heaven and earth praise Him, The seas and everything that moves in them. 35 For God will save Zion And build the cities of Judah, That they may dwell there and possess it. 36 Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, And those who love His name shall dwell in it.

Prologue

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may guide and teach us about this passage.

I chose this psalm as it has a little of everything dear to the Christian, recognition of sin, cry for mercy, redemption, salvation, suffering as we will see. As I started to study this psalm and write this 'sermon' I was doing fine the first evening, then the second evening of study and typing I realised that this was going to take some doing to fit into six or so pages, and by the third evening, I found myself doing a potted version, pulling the main pieces, but having to leave much for you to enter into yourself. Such is the way of this Psalm.

Introduction

Psalm 69 is known as a messianic prophetic psalm. It is written by David, and undoubtedly describes how he feels, yet it goes beyond this. We can see that the Psalm's header has an interesting inscription - To the Chief Musician. Set to "The Lilies" or, "upon the lilies." {Hebrew Shoshannim} A Psalm of David. Three Psalms are set to this - 45, this one and 80. Scofield indicates that Shoshannim, "lilies," and so, the spring; the Shoshannim Psalms were probably connected with the Passover season, and hence reminders of redemption out of bondage, and of the origins of Israel[1]. Others believe it to be a form of musical instrument or form of music. No interpretation has any solid foundation to them, but all are quite reasonable. This Psalm though does have strong connections to the context of Passover, sacrifice and redemption as Scofield indicated.

Verses 1-2

The Psalm commences with a very strong, very emotive statement. "Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. 2 I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me." This is a cry from the heart. No beating about the bush with this cry - Save me! The waters are deep - up to my neck in fact, not much further to drowning really, Not only have the waters come up to my neck, but I am also sinking - double trouble, I was in something more manageable but now am in deep waters, and not only that but they are flood waters, strong, swirling, muddy. - save me Lord, save me. These words need no explanation. However, they do offer comparative instruction for the reader. Do we wait until the water is up to our necks before crying out to the Lord? Do we actually recognise the symptoms of a swirling flood and sinking feet. Are we willing to cry out to God and admit to the trouble we are in?

However, there is greater insight to this and following verses. What do they say when we remove David or ourselves from this picture. The commentaries are very much in unison regarding these first verses. We can note many of the Psalm's verses can be directly connected to the life of our Lord, for example, when our Jesus can be found in the Garden of Gethsemane as in Mark 14:34 "Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death" or Luke 22:44 where the description of Christ is: "And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly." It is at this point that our Lord is feeling the waters piling up, getting ready to swamp him as he himself stated to his disciples in Luke 12:49: "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 "But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!"

Biblically, water is a readily used example of trouble, something to be passed through, or even as in this case sin piling up, Job in his misery states: 27:19 "The rich man will lie down, But not be gathered up; He opens his eyes, And he is no more. 20 Terrors overtake him like a flood; A tempest steals him away in the night." Water, doom, darkness. We see the beginning of the suffering our Saviour went through just with these two lines. Let us go further into this Psalm.

Verse 3

"I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God."

David indeed had cried much to the Lord. Many times in his early days he was fleeing those who wished to kill him, he felt himself growing old. The Lord in the garden was so much in earnest he sweated great drops of blood, his throat too would have been dry, and he would have seen that God was turning His back on him. On the cross his eyes failed completely, God was no longer visible. This is powerful imagery, and gives us some insight into how we should feel about our own sins, and have at least some measure of desire to wait for God, not in death, rather for the rapture, a waiting that is fervent and with depth of feeling.

Verses 4-5

The next verses can be contrasted. We can see prophecy being outlined in verse - 4 "Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it". But can also see that David then speaks for himself, and for us in the next verse - 5 " O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You." The Lord did not sin, there was no cause to hate him, indeed He always had a caveat for the sinner as we can see for example in John 12:26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour." The word "anyone" means exactly that, including those who hated Jesus without cause, if they repent, turn from their evil ways and serve the Lord. However, when we read the next verse we can see that the writer is expressing regret for foolishness and sins. Therefore we see the prophecy related to the persecution of the innocent Lord and the reality that each one of us has, we have cause to be hated by some, if we live foolishly, if we sin. We too need to be willing to express the failings of our lives to God in prayer, and repent, and "him my Father will honour."

Verses 6-12

Moving further into this Psalm, we come across further interesting (doctrinally) verses.

6        Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel. 7 Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face. 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother's children; 9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. 10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, That became my reproach. 11 I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them. 12 Those who sit in the gate speak against me, And I am the song of the drunkards.

David moves from himself, back to a picture of the Lord in His time of suffering. David begins in verse 6, by praying that no-one is ashamed because of him, an expression of regret as to how he had acted. He is noting that his actions were shameful, and were opposite to that of serving and obeying God. David is praying that God cuts through the confusion some may have, after seeing this contradictory behaviour of how David had acted and his underlying principles' he had previously lived of being a child of God (Think of his slaying of Goliath). This is the problem that faces many Christians. We may preach or teach one thing, but our actions fail to back up our word; we do not fit the image we expect of Christian living. We must therefore keep in mind the solemn truth that some will watch our behaviours and think that it is OK to behave in this way. If we stretch boundaries, those that imitate are sure to stretch them just that but further. May David's prayer be ours, and may our ways be instructed through the Holy Spirit's work in us, to be humble and holy, both attitudes keeping us from being foolish.

Then as we move into the passage we can be reminded that the next lines are spoken in similar fashion to the children of Israel through Ezekiel the prophet:

Ezekiel 16:60 "Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 "Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when you receive your older and your younger sisters; for I will give them to you for daughters, but not because of My covenant with you. 62 "And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, 63 "that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done," says the Lord GOD.'"

Note the word 'ashamed' and shame being brought into context in this passage. However, the words in Psalm 69 are of the Lord as He is burdened down with our sin. He suffered the shame of the cross as in Hebrews 12:2: "Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God"[2].

Verse 8 states that His brothers did not know him. It was later, after His resurrection before we see belief occurring in His family, with James writing a section of the scriptures. For David, the ultimate misery was that he had become the song of the drunkard. I like to compare that with the Lord sharing the gospel with the inn keepers, tax collectors and similar people described in a single word "sinners". This was his place of ministry. It too can be our place of ministry. David wears sackcloth as an outward sign of his repentance, as a part of his lament, our Lord wore the stripes of the lash, along with the crown of thorns.

Verses 13-21

At verse 13 we switch again and follow the afore seen pattern where some of the words can only be applied to David, (as we read in verse 19), much though is that of suffering, both of David and our Lord. Note also the return to the picture using water as with the opening verse:

13 But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, Hear me in the truth of Your salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, And let me not sink; Let me be delivered from those who hate me, And out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the floodwater overflow me, Nor let the deep swallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth on me. 16 Hear me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. 17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant, For I am in trouble; Hear me speedily. 18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; Deliver me because of my enemies. 19 You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonour; My adversaries are all before You. 20 Reproach has broken my heart, And I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none. 21 They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

David knows to whom he is praying, to God, full of mercy, loving kindness, and for all of us salvation. Again we can contrast this to the our Saviour on the cross, God did not hear Him there, the sky darkened as God removed the light from the world.

It is also instructive for us to note that David says "I am in trouble. You know my reproach. my dishonour". He does not let the earlier statement stand on its own, he repeats the recognition of his own sin. Does this give us a clue to repentance? I don't much like to repeat my sins out to God, indeed, it is very easy to offer a smooth statement of sin, as it were, glossing over the darkness and never coming to the gravity, the reality of what we have done. We can be reminded of Job here as an example of how to go about repentance, for Job even offered up sacrifices for sins that he and his children may have committed without knowing.

I find it hard to confess to the actual sins done, especially the small ones, as I use the word small, I know that when sins are listed they don't seem to have a scale attached, take for example Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Here we see evil thoughts - not actual deeds, listed right next to murder, and a little further, false witness. All of these sins are on the same line have the same gravity and the same penalty.

David finishes this section with a prophecy that is now as clear as day as we can read about the actual fulfilment in Matthew 27:34 "they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink." This is where the messianic prophecy finishes, and it seems fitting that it finish with this statement. For we know that after Jesus had accepted the wine mixed with gall that he: 50 "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." His suffering on this earth was over. Man's ultimate scorn is shown here, as they offer our Lord in the time of greatest stress, something pretty unpalatable, the dregs; no kindness or mercy for the sinless one. In context, we have much left to learn about suffering.

Verses 22-29

As with many of David's Psalms, he adds a section as to what he wants done with his enemies. These sections can be quite brutal and final. And so is this in this Psalm as we read:

22 Let their table become a snare before them, And their well-being a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; And make their loins shake continually. 24 Pour out Your indignation upon them, And let Your wrathful anger take hold of them. 25 Let their dwelling place be desolate; Let no one live in their tents. 26 For they persecute the ones You have struck, And talk of the grief of those You have wounded. 27 Add iniquity to their iniquity, And let them not come into Your righteousness. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous. 29 But I am poor and sorrowful; Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.

David wants revenge on the people that harmed, and persecuted him. Even now, the righteous await the destruction of the unrighteous. We, unlike David, need not look for immediate retribution as David was requesting. We need to remember the verse specifically put in for the Christian by God in Romans 12:19, "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.". Yes indeed, for us we await the day of wrath, but we do not initiate it. This is further revealed in Revelations 6:9 "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

However, David wanted his enemies of the here and then to be avenged. David, though was also prophesying regarding the wrath that was awaiting the children of Israel for their disobedience, their turning of the back on their God, that came hundreds of years after David, a prophecy fulfilled, and also of the wrath that is to come as we have just read. This wrath is for the unrepentant sins of the world, our generation's sin, and those before us, what we have done against God, as nations and peoples, turning our backs on God and rejecting him, the same as occurred when Jesus was crucified. We can thank God that there is a loophole as it were (requiring faith in Jesus Christ), where we can escape the wrath, as we can see in the final line of what we have just read, then into the last section of the Psalm.

We know that when judgement comes we will have salvation, the final salvation, the rapture before it all happens. We will be able to join with David with humility and say "I am poor and sorrowful. you have saved me, you are taking me up on high".

Verses 30-36

So, we can skip, quite literally, into the final verses of praise.

30 I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. 31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, Which has horns and hooves. 32 The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live. 33 For the LORD hears the poor, And does not despise His prisoners. 34 Let heaven and earth praise Him, The seas and everything that moves in them. 35 For God will save Zion And build the cities of Judah, That they may dwell there and possess it. 36 Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, And those who love His name shall dwell in it.

I will praise the name of God. Why? Because praise shall magnify God, give glory to God, and this praise will please Him better than an ox or bull. We can read these words in a different setting:

Hebrews 10:7 'Behold, I have come--In the volume of the book it is written of Me--To do Your will, O God.' 8 Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" ., 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second."

Praising God takes more than sacrificing animals. To truly praise God, one must have a heart in the right place. Praise does not replace sacrifice. It is not an act of repentance. We have gone beyond repentance at this stage in the Psalm, to that of worship, of knowing God and not being able to control ourselves in telling others about the wonders of the God who loves us, who sacrificed His Son for us, who went into the flood waters, suffered and died for us. We have even greater reason than David to praise God. David could see the restoration of Israel following the salvation of the Lord. David highlights that God will save Zion and His servants will inherit it. We though, have even greater reason for the same exultation as we have already seen stage one of salvation - the death of Christ as the Saviour of the world, the opening of the gates to all peoples to salvation, and the promises of what is to come. We can grasp salvation in our hands and treasure it, for we have seen (through Scripture) Christ suffer. David could prophecy and have some insight, but not what we have. So as we leave here today, let us sing praises to God; let us practice praise for the day when all of creation sings, when we will join in with the mountains and streams. So let us practice praise, get our heart well enthused with praising God, thanking our Saviour, worshipping, beyond Sunday morning, beyond the evening service, to all day, every day. Why? Because this is what pleases God.

 

[1] Scofield Reference Bible, Oxford University, 1917 (can be found on-line) see notes for Psalm 45

[2] The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

Stephen B Simon
21 January 2008 (CCC)
\Psalms\Psalm_69_(SBS)