A devotion on PSALM 69
19 You know the insults I endure—
my shame and disgrace. You are aware of all my adversaries.
It is cathartic to retell abuses we incur. With Adonai Jehovah Sabaoth, we don’t have to revisit our incidents play by play as with a good friend. He was there. He saw the curled lip and the eyes red-hot with hate against you. He keeps a record of wrongs you suffer. He knows exactly what it feels like to be scandalized. He is observant and concerned of every assault upon your person and your character. He knows well who thinks low or ill of you.
20 Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair.
I waited for sympathy, but there was none;
for comforters, but found no one.
21 Instead, they gave me gall for my food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Again, we meet Jesus whipped to shreds and bared for the whole town to see that day on Golgotha. It was not for nothing that the Sone of David cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The despair of having no one to understand and comfort you in your pain makes the soul reel in despair. Having no one to give sympathy in our moment of need is like being offered gall when hungry and vinegar when parched. It is a double insult that reinforces the brutality of your enemy.
22 Let their table set before them be a snare,
and let it be a trap for their allies.
23 Let their eyes grow too dim to see and let their loins continually shake.
Because he knows they seek and find nothing but mischief, and because they employ their strength to bring others down, David is not beyond praying for God to strike his enemies down a notch with physical ailments so as to divest them of their power.
24 Pour out Your rage on them,
and let Your burning anger overtake them.
25 Make their fortification desolate; may no one live in their tents.
26 For they persecute the one You struck
and talk about the pain of those You wounded.
27 Add guilt to their guilt; do not let them share in Your righteousness.
28 Let them be erased from the book of life and not be recorded with the righteous.
Because of how merciless they have been, he is actually asking God to rid the earth of them and kill them. I remember praying in a similar vein during a season in my life when someone unrelentingly – for years – saw to it that they made my life miserable. And not just mine but that of many other people. Obviously, this person’s own life was absolutely miserable. For their sake and that of others I asked the Lord to give her the release of death. I will not say how that ended but it was humbling and fear-inspiring. Would anyone be praying such a prayer regarding you? Are you a thorn in other people’s side?
29 But as for me—poor and in pain—
let Your salvation protect me, God.
30 I will praise God’s name with song and exalt Him with thanksgiving.
31 That will please Yahweh more than an ox,
more than a bull with horns and hooves.
Despite his plight, David never once forgot that he exists to please God. In his despair, he knew how to elevate his soul from its miry depths and that was with the ever-acceptable, ever-triumphant sacrifice of praise and worship. “Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.” Ps. 50:23.
32 The humble will see it and rejoice. You who seek God, take heart!
33 For the Lord listens to the needy
and does not despise His own who are prisoners.
34 Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them,
35 for God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah.
They will live there and possess it.
36 The descendants of His servants will inherit it,
and those who love His name will live in it.
David has so encouraged his own soul, that he has it in him to invoke heaven and earth and all that is in them to praise God. He sees beyond the myopia of his personal pain to the needs of his greater community of God’s work there. He asks God to build them up, much like he asked Him to tear down his enemies. He even thought beyond his current time and space to speak blessings over his descendants (you and I). Do you do that in your moment of need or is your pain singularly focused on yourself and your problems?