A devotion of desperation
1 Save me, God,
for the water has risen to my neck.
2 I have sunk in deep mud, and there is no footing;
I have come into deep waters,
and a flood sweeps over me.
Deep despair threatens the soul that has free fallen into the furor of the flood. Despite its cause, when death looms imminent, may our cry be, “Save me, Yahweh.” In that moment, we are certain that if our trouble rises an inch higher, we are completely done for. We nary a branch or ledge to support ourselves and find some relief for our depleted bodies
3 I am weary from my crying;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail, looking for my God.
Exhausted by our efforts to save ourselves, our blood-shot eyes and dry throats indicate that we are spent as we thrash this way and that in despondency. Whether our plight results from life’s trials, a temptation, unbelief, or consequences of ours or others’ sins the results weigh on the soul like an anchor.
4 Those who hate me without cause
are more numerous than the hairs of my head;
my deceitful enemies, who would destroy me,
Though I did not steal, I must repay.
Injustice and misunderstanding sting like nothing else can. Unfairness strikes at our very core and every level in between. It is desperate to have an enemy. It is hopeless to have a deceitful one. It is tragic to have one who is also powerful. Making reparations for offenses not committed stirs futile indignation that only further exhausts this poor soul.
5 God, You know my foolishness,
and my guilty acts are not hidden from You.
6 Do not let those who put their hope in You
be disgraced because of me,
Lord God of Hosts;
do not let those who seek You
be humiliated because of me,
God of Israel.
David is not naïve about his guilt. He knows that at any one point he has committed idiocy as accused. There is a refreshing air about a person that wears not only the reality of his sin but his propensity for it on his sleeve. It points to self-awareness and a sense of reality divested of pretense and airs. This points out that his self-defense as above wasn’t that of an incredulous man, blind to his own faults. Moreover, he holds God’s honor in high regard, knowing well the impact his behavior might have on other believers. This further adds to his grief as he calls upon Adonai Yahweh Sabaoth. David knows he can’t shield other believers as needed but trusts his God to do so for him.
7 For I have endured insults because of You,
and shame has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my brothers
and a foreigner to my mother’s sons
9 because zeal for Your house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult You
have fallen on me.
Jesus is truly the son of David. The shocking fiasco of Jesus flipping tables at the temple caused this passage to be remembered by his disciples. Like David, Jesus was also disowned and derided by his brothers. Both experienced public display of shame and near nakedness, cloaked in insults and mockery from those of high and low society.
10 I mourned and fasted, but it brought me insults.
11 I wore sackcloth as my clothing and I was a joke to them.
12 Those who sit at the city gate talk about me,
and drunkards make up songs about me.
13 But as for me, Lord, my prayer to You is for a time of favor.
In Your abundant, faithful love, God,
answer me with Your sure salvation.
14 Rescue me from the miry mud; don’t let me sink.
Let me be rescued from those who hate me and from the deep waters.
15 Don’t let the floodwaters sweep over me or the deep swallow me up;
don’t let the Pit close its mouth over me.
16 Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good;
in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me.
17 Don’t hide Your face from Your servant,
for I am in distress. Answer me quickly!
18 Draw near to me and redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies.
David’s desperate cry is for a miracle. The monster has closed in and is about to close its mouth over him. At that time his footing is God’s abundant, faithful love, his sure salvation, the goodness of his faithful love, his great compassion, and the firm belief that he is heard and favored.
May that be your firm foundation in your fiercest battle for your life despite desperate foes. May you know the sure hope that is your heritage from being loved by Adonai Jehovah Sabaoth!