MEDITATING ON THE PSALMS  – “A life-changing glimpse at God”
Posted on May 6, 2017
PSALM 69  – Save Me, O God (ESV) or A Man of Sorrows: Part 2
                   Judgment and Redemption (title and notes from James Montgomery Boice)
Let’s start where we left off last time beginning with verse 22 and read to the end, to verse 36 of this messianic psalm.  Most interestingly, 7 of its 36 verses are quoted in the New Testament, and there are themes that are developed in a general way in reference to Jesus Christ in the Gospels [from pgs. 576-577].
The outline of Psalm 69 begins with a stanza in which the psalmist both laments his sad situation and also calls on God to help him (vs. 1-4).  This is followed by a one-verse acknowledgement of the psalmist’s folly and guilt (v. 5).  Verses 6-12 contain the first renewal of the lament.  Verses 13-18 contain the first renewal of the plea for help. Verses 19-21 contain the second renewal of the lament and verse 22-28 contain the second renewal of the plea, which constitutes the main body of the psalm.  It then closes with a short, one-verse interjection similar to verse 5, in verse 29, and a formal conclusion in which the reader is invited to praise God along with the psalmist, in verses 30-36 [p. 577].
What’s your favorite part of the psalm?  Which verse(s) brings you delight and comfort?
A Second Renewal of the Lament
Verses 19-21 contain a second renewal of the psalmist’s lament, but like the other renewals these verses also introduce new elements.  The first new element is the writer’s claim that God knows how he is being scorned.  This is the second time he has claimed that God knows something.  Earlier it was his folly and guilt.  Here it is his mistreatment.  It is helpful to us to know that God knows what we are going through and there is comfort in knowing that he knows.
The hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” is so popular.  It is not great poetry… but it has drawn forth an echoing note in countless devout hearts; people who have taken their sad troubles to Jesus and been comforted simply by knowing that he knows about them and has gone through them himself.
What a Friend we have in Jesus                     [sing it out loud if you know it]
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged:
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can you find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness—
Take it to the Lord in prayer!   [pgs. 577-578]
A Second Renewal of the Plea for Help
The second renewal of the plea for help, in verses 22-28, also goes a step beyond the earlier prayers in that it now is no longer merely a plea for personal deliverance from trouble, but is also a request for God’s swift and utter judgment on the psalmist’s enemies [pgs. 578-579].
These imprecations build in intensity, ending in the most terrible words of all: “May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous” (v. 28).  We pull back from words wishing that someone else might go to hell.  But if those others are persistently and ultimately unrepentant, that is the only place they could possibly go and be.  If they were taken into heaven, they would ruin heaven.  How do we handle something as explicitly vengeful as these verses?  First, although David is calling for God’s swift vengeance on his enemies, it is significant that he is asking God to render judgment and not proposing or even wanting to take vengeance himself.  Second, it is David, the anointed one of God, who is speaking.  Therefore, his enemies are God’s enemies.  David’s calls for vindication are therefore never merely an individual matter.  But there is more.  We should remember that Jesus told us to forgive our enemies.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:43-45). Jesus, when he was being crucified, even being given vinegar mixed with gall to drink (v. 21), did not curse his enemies but prayed for them instead.  He prayed, “Father, forgiven them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).  We are likewise told to forgive and not to take vengeance [p. 579].
A Brief Interjection
In verse 29, David seems merely to reiterate his profound pain and once again calls on God to protect him.  What it is seems to do is draw the main body of the psalm to a close and prepare for the quite different material and tone of the closing stanzas in which the psalmist praises God and calls on others to praise God too [p. 582].
Conclusion: Let God Be Praised
There is a great deal of sorrow and tragedy in this life.  A person would have to be blind not to see it.  But for the Christian, tragedy is never the final word.  The final word is always victory and praise! So this is the note on which the psalm ends… the psalmist first voices his praise to God, then calls on “heaven and earth… the seas and all that move in them” to praise God also [p. 582].
In this world there is much pain and evil… what is more, God does not always remove the pain or troubling times. Jesus prayed in great agony in Gethsemane, asking that the cup he was about to drink might be taken from him and God did not remove the cup.  Jesus had to drink it.  God nevertheless heard his prayer and did not despise his agony. Moreover, he sent angels to minister to him and strengthen him so that he might go through his trial gloriously for God. Be assured that this will be the case with you also. Whatever cross you are given, tell God about it and know that he will hear your prayers and come to strengthen you. You will certainly praise him for it one day [pgs. 582-583].
Questions to consider while applying this truth:
Do I pray for my enemies?  Do I ever take revenge? Or do I leave it up to the Lord to do? Do you spend much time praising and exalting the Lord, who along is worthy?
Personal notes by Lisa Patton

 (Bible notes from Ryrie, MacArthur and/or Boice)