Today: [Psalm 69] Enduring the Dregs of Bitter Experience. In this verse David echoes the deeps of God in a Messianic psalm. David is enduring a profound trial and pours out his complaint to God. The Father never despises an honest heart in prayer. There is no need to be pretentious or to pretend that we aren’t suffering. God will hear you cry and as David will turn your captivity as reflected in today’s lovely psalm.
[Psa 69:1-36 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, [A Psalm] of David.]] Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto [my] soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where [there is] no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. 4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, [being] mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored [that] which I took not away. 5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. 6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. 7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. 8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. 9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. 10 When I wept, [and chastened] my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. 11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.
Psalm 69 is a psalm of lament during a very dark time in David’s life. His sorrow and the intensity of his suffering are so deep that in several verses his words evoke what happens to Jesus on the cross and reflect the very words of the Messiah himself. Throughout the psalm nothing positive is happening, David looks for deliverance and finally consigns himself to the faithfulness of God just a Jesus Himself did on the cross when He commended His spirit and gave up the ghost.
Scholars debate on whether or not David actually wrote this psalm. Some maintain that it was written by Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Still others believe that David probably did write it but Jeremiah added to it 400 years later. The first verse mentions the word Shoshannim which means lilies. This probably refers to the lyrics used when the psalm was presented. Evidently then that the psalm was an alternative set of lyrics to a popular psalm that was already known to the hearers and the performers. To choose a song about the lily of the valley to perform the psalm renders it very moving. It is a reminder that when nothing else in life is going right and everything falls apart that Jesus is the “Lily of the Valley” that sustains, comforts and ultimately delivers us as the end of the psalm expresses.
In verse 1 David cries out “save me O God for the waters are come into my soul…” What does this mean? It means that whatever is going on –it was “getting to” David. We go through adversity many times and just brave our way through it and come out on the other side. There are those times however that we are overwhelmed and despondent. Our emotions have been taken captive. We see no way out. Fear sets in. Our humanity and vulnerability become starkly apparent. When this takes place in a leader’s life the next thing that happens will be those he leads will distance themselves and possibly even revolt because the leader has shown weakness. We often complain that leaders are not transparent enough – but the bitter lesson for many is if they face a trial and open their hearts they pay very dearly for it.
In verses 4-5 David declares that he hasn’t done anything wrong to be facing the betrayal, revolt and criticism he is enduring. As though answering in his mind what his enemies might think, in verse 5 he admits that he is not unaware of his own sins and foolishness. However in this circumstance he knows that he is not guilty of the accusations against him. People are quick to accuse when controversy comes. Often they will bring up things about your life that have nothing to do with the current event that they previously overlooked but stored it away in their heart like a stone in their hand waiting to hurl at you. This can be particularly stinging and David endures this in great bitterness in his soul.
12 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I [was] the song of the drunkards. 13 But as for me, my prayer [is] unto thee, O LORD, [in] an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. 16 Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness [is] good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. 17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. 18 Draw nigh unto my soul, [and] redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. 19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries [are] all before thee. 20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked [for some] to take pity, but [there was] none; and for comforters, but I found none.
Verse 9 speaks of the zeal of the Lord’s house eating David up. The disciples remembered this verse and applied it directly to Jesus when he drove out the money-changers. This shows us that the depth of David’s struggle many times exposed prophetically the suffering of the Messiah that was for to come. This aspect of the book of Psalms shows its profound depth and deep mystery in revealing centuries ahead the most intimate first person perspectives of Jesus Himself in some of His deepest struggles.
In verse 12 David reports to God in his prayer that the elders in the gate of the city were speaking against him. In verse 13 he says “as for me my prayer is unto thee…” In other words he sees what others are doing and does not retaliate. He chooses not to get embroiled in the controversy but turns to God and looks to God for deliverance. Very often we may be tempted to respond in kind in the midst of contention. This never turns out well. To follow David’s example we should turn to God in prayer and look to Him and only take action when He specifically instructs us to do so.
21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. 22 Let their table become a snare before them: and [that which should have been] for [their] welfare, [let it become] a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. 24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. 25 Let their habitation be desolate; [and] let none dwell in their tents. 26 For they persecute [him] whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. 27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy 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 thy 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] bullock that hath horns and hoofs. 32 The humble shall see [this, and] be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. 33 For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners. 34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. 35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. 36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.
In verse 20 we see the brokenness of David’s heart and it reflects what Jesus went through in the garden of Gethsemane. He was alone. He desperately wanted the disciples to pray with Him but they repeatedly fell asleep. In deep frustration he realized that they didn’t know what was about to happen. When the soldiers did come all of his last remaining followers fled in terror and Jesus faces His worst expectation without friends, without pity from anyone. Verse 21 speaks directly in a prophetic way about the gall that the Roman soldier gave Him to drink upon the cross – the only bitter dregs of human compassion He would receive in the entire cross experience.
In verse 29 we see David completely exhausted. He has nothing more to say. He sees no hope but God Himself. He resigns himself to God saying that he is poor and filled with sorrow. He implores the Father to cause the salvation of God to lift him out of the mire of the bitter circumstances he is enduring.
In verse 30, true to form David shifts out of despondency into praise. Just as he did at Ziklag and throughout his life – when everything was lost David would encourage himself in the Lord. He didn’t wait on someone to come along and help him or bolster his emotions. Experience taught him that if he was to be delivered it would not be from the hand of man. Therefore in the end of this psalm and many others David turns from despondency to destiny and brightly hopes and trust that God is coming through for him regardless. This one feature of David’s character is the one most commendable to you and I as an example. Sometimes there is no one to help but God. In those times it is always acceptable as David to pour your complaint out to the Father. In the end however always turn and express your confidence and trust in God – and you will see His deliverance.
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