Psalm 69

Psalm 69 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

           This psalm doesn’t fit neatly into any one category.  It is a psalm of lament, a psalm of deliverance, a psalm of praise, a messianic psalm and an imprecatory psalm—one that invokes judgment upon the enemies of God.  David’s primary prayer in this song is “Save me!”  Surrounded by his enemies who are seeking to destroy him, David describes his condition as one who is about to drown or one who is sinking slowly into the mire, but he is all by himself with no one to help him, thus he cries out for deliverance to God.   

           There are many messianic themes in this psalm that also apply to Jesus.  “For your sake, I have suffered reproach.”  “Zeal for your house consumes me; those who reproach you fall on me…when I fasted and wept they made fun of me.”  Whether Jesus is turning over the tables of the money changers or crying out to his father on the cross, his enemies were speaking lies against him and mocking him.  Like Jesus, David had suffered great reproach all alone.  None were there to comfort or pity him, even giving him poison for food and sour wine to drink.    

           It is because of this great injustice that David calls down curses upon his enemies in vv.22-28.  There are many other instances in the psalms of these types of imprecatory prayers, which seem strange to us in light of the teachings in the New Testament.  But they are not out of place for the Lord is still the same yesterday, today and forever.  There is an appointed day of judgment in which these curses will bear fruition, and that is why we lift up our mouths in prayer rather than lifting our hands in anger.  Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and he will do what is right.  Certainly, we pray to forgive our enemies, as Jesus showed us even on the cross, but if they do not repent, the Lord holds in his hand a cup of wrath ready to be poured out upon the wicked. 

           Once the psalmist has expressed that anger to God he returns to his primary petition in v.29 saying, “But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!”  In other words, regardless of the ‘what’ and ‘when’ in regards to his enemies, he needs help RIGHT NOW.  Then in the remaining verses, David lifts up a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to accompany his petition, just as the apostle Paul taught us in Philippians 4:6-7 in order that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding might guard his heart and his mind in Christ Jesus.     

           Again, we don’t know the specific circumstances surrounding this particular psalm, but we don’t need to.  Surely, we have suffered the reproach of our enemies at times.  We have felt isolated and all alone.  We have felt like we’re isolated and all alone and cried out to God in desperation.  Even in times like these the Lord will not abandon us.  In a direct fulfillment of Psalm 22, when the father poured out his wrath upon his own son, Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Indeed, we may feel as if God has forsaken us, but because God treated his own son as an enemy because of our sin, he will only treat us as a friend, and he always comes to the aid of his friends, drawing near to them in times of trouble.