Save me, O God,For the waters have threatened my life [they have come up to my neck]. I have sunk in deep mire, where there is no foothold;I have come into deep waters, where a flood overwhelms me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched;My eyes fail while I wait [with confident expectation] for my God. Those who hate me without cause are more than the hairs of my head;Those who would destroy me are powerful, being my enemies wrongfully;I am forced to restore what I did not steal. O God, You know my folly;My wrongs are not hidden from You. Do not let those who wait [confidently] for You be ashamed through me, O Lord God of hosts;Do not let those who seek You [as necessary for life itself] be dishonored through me, O God of Israel, Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;Confusion and dishonor have covered my face. I have become estranged from my brothersAnd an alien to my mother’s sons. For zeal for Your house has consumed me,And the [mocking] insults of those who insult You have fallen on me. When I wept and humbled myself with fasting,It became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing [as one in mourning],I became a byword [a mere object of scorn] to them. They who sit in the [city’s] gate talk about me and mock me,And I am the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, at an acceptable and opportune time;O God, in the greatness of Your favor and in the abundance of Your lovingkindness,Answer me with truth [that is, the faithfulness of Your salvation]. Rescue me from the mire and do not let me sink;Let me be rescued from those who hate me and from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwater overwhelm me,Nor the deep waters swallow me up,Nor the pit [of Sheol] shut its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is sweet and good and comforting;According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me. Do not hide Your face from Your servant,For I am in distress; answer me quickly. Draw near to my soul and redeem it;Ransom me because of my enemies [so that they do not delight in my distress]. You know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor [how I am insulted];My adversaries are all before You [each one fully known]. Reproach and insults have broken my heart and I am so sick.I looked for sympathy, but there was none,And for comforters, but I found none. They (self-righteous hypocrites) also gave me gall [poisonous and bitter] for my food,And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. May their table [with all its abundance and luxury] become a snare [to them];And when they are in peace [secure at their sacrificial feasts], may it become a trap. May their eyes be dimmed so that they cannot see,And make their loins shake continually [in terror and weakness]. Pour out Your indignation on them,And let [the fierceness of] Your burning anger overtake them. May their encampment be desolate;May no one dwell in their tents. For they have persecuted him whom You have struck,And they tell of the pain of those whom You have pierced and wounded. Add [unforgiven] iniquity to their iniquity [in Your book],And may they not come into Your righteousness. May they be blotted out of the book of life [and their lives come to an end]And may they not be recorded with the righteous (those in right standing with God). But I am sorrowful and in pain;May Your salvation, O God, set me [securely] on high. I will praise the name of God with songAnd magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the Lord better than an oxOr a young bull with horns and hoofs. The humble have seen it and are glad;You who seek God [requiring Him as your greatest need], let your heart revive and live. For the Lord hears the needyAnd does not despise His who are prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise Him,The seas and everything that moves in them. For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah,That His servants may remain there and possess it. The descendants of His servants will inherit it,And those who love His name will dwell in it.
An elderly man passed his granddaughter’s room and saw her kneeling by her bed reverently repeating the alphabet. “What on earth are you up to?” he asked.
“I’m saying my prayers,” replied the little girl. “But I can’t think of exactly the right words tonight, so I’m just saying all the letters. God will put them together for me, because He knows what I’m thinking.”
Perhaps you’re like that little girl, unable to articulate to the Lord what is on your heart. Or, maybe you’re like David in this psalm- profoundly able to express how you feel even during the worst of times. In either case, the Lord knows your need and hears your prayer.
Psalm 69 begins with a desperate appeal by David to be rescued from circumstances that have grown from bad to worse. Could this describe you right now? Have you yelled for help until you’ve lost your voice or looked for help from God so long that your eyes burn under the strain? Does it feel like you’re sinking, up to your neck in trouble, and engulfed in a flood of danger?
George Wood says, “ Your worst moments in any crisis come when three elements converge: you don’t think you can survive; you clearly see your problems; but you can’t see God.”
In such times we often alternate between feeling we’re getting what we deserve and that our predicament is totally unfair. David says, “I am forced to restore what I did not steal.”
In the midst of his personal crisis. David brings his guilt to the Lord. He asks that his failure will not adversely affect others for its bad enough when we reap the consequences of our own sins, but it’s far worse when we have to live with the fact that those we love are also suffering because of our actions.
David gives us a great principle of balance as he also affirms his innocence. True, some of his current suffering has resulted from his own wrongdoing, but it is equally true that some if it stems as a consequence of his loyalty to the Lord. This psalm speaks prophetically beyond David to describe Jesus who experienced suffering, opposition, and rejection solely because He did right. This suffering not for self but for others sets for us an example so that we might be stirred to set aside personal discomfort for the sake of others. Paul, writing to the Romans lays down this principle: “We who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves…For even Christ did not please himself but as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”(Romans 15:1,3)
It’s almost impossible to take the high road when we’re suffering. In this psalm, David bounces from the nobility of his suffering and refocuses on his personal issues. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Psalm 69 closed at the end of verse 13? But the truth is, real life doesn’t have such a quick revolution to its deep issues. We struggle with the timing of the Lord. Our faith says, “In the time of your favor,” but our emotions say, “Answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.” In his dilemma, David prays, “Do not let me sink…Do not let the floodwaters engulf me…Do not hide your face.” His loneliness compounds his adversity thousands of times over: “I looked for sympathy, but there was none
Dr. John Thompson