Read: Psalm 69; Psalm 45:8; Philippians 4:12 – 13
The Hebrew introduction to Psalm 69 says it is to the tune Shoshammim, which means “the lilies.” Psalm 45 was sung to this same tune. In Psalm 45 the setting of the lilies is in ivory palaces, full of gold, rejoicing, beauty, and blessing, where God’s presence is evident. In Psalm 69 the lilies are in the swamp, in a treacherous setting full of despair, rejection, injustice, and suffering where God seems absent. Evidently both settings are authentically Christian.
Think About It: What are some biblical examples of how God’s people experienced both the palace and the swamp? How have I experienced both? Where am I right now?
Prayer: For courage and faith to grow when the deep waters threaten to overflow.
Read: Psalm 69:4-6, 9, 21, 28
The Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip about the passage in Isaiah 53, “Is the prophet speaking of himself, or of someone else?” We might well ask the same question of David in Psalm 69. The correct answer would be “both.”
Think About It: Compare Psalm 69:4 with John 15:25; 69:5,6 with 2 Corinthians 5:21; 69:21 with Matthew 27:34, 48; 69:28 with Luke 23:34. Where is David speaking prophetically of Jesus? Where is he speaking only of his own experience?
Prayer: For my prayers to be as honest and as urgent as David’s prayer.
Read: Psalm 69:1 – 3, 8, 20 – 21
The experience David described in this psalm was that of the “deep waters,” the uncontrollable, overwhelming flood of circumstance that threatens to sweep us away and produces a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. David wanted to sense God’s presence, but hadn’t yet done so; he was aware of rejection, reproach, and abuse from others.
Think About It: What part or parts of David’s experience can I identify with? Where do I need help from God right now?
Prayer: Thanks to God because He is more powerful than the flood of waters.
Read: Psalm 69:4, 9 – 11, 35:19; John 15:18, 25; Matthew 5:10 – 12
Anyone who is being overwhelmed by the flood, who feels like they are going down for the last time, is bound to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” David asked this, and pondered at least two answers. The first is that he was suffering because he was hated without cause– that is, without just cause. Because he was doing what was right– being zealous for God’s house, sorrowing for sin, fasting, giving evidence of true devotion and love for God– there were people who hated him. Eugene Petersen translates 69:9, “Because I’m madly in love with You, they blame me for everything they dislike about You.”
Think About It: Have I ever suffered for doing what was right? For standing up for Jesus? What does Jesus have to say about such suffering?
Prayer: Thank God for the privilege of suffering for the sake of Jesus.
Read: Psalm 69:5; Psalm 19:12; 2 Samuel 16:8 – 16
David was aware that his sufferings might have been the result of discipline for sin in his life. If this psalm refers to the time of Absalom’s rebellion, he must have been aware of how the example of his immorality had led to further immorality within his family in the matter of Amnon, which he then compounded with failure to discipline, which in turn led to Absalom’s murderous revenge and the ultimate rebellion. Even when no specific sin comes to mind, we cannot claim sinlessness; we may be blind to our own faults.
Think About It: Am I aware of ever having to suffer God’s discipline because of sin in my life? How have I responded to such discipline? How should I respond?
Prayer: Lord, cleanse me from secret faults; help me to bear Your discipline and be willing to be corrected.
Read: Psalm 69:13 – 19
How did David respond to the deep waters of overwhelming distress? As always, David cried out to God in prayer.
Think About It: On what did David base his appeal to God in Psalm 69:13 – 19? How might I use this basis in my own prayer life?
Prayer: Lord, please answer my prayers not for my sake, but for Your own sake!
Read: Psalm 69:6; 2 Samuel 12:13 – 14; Isaiah 52:5
David prayed that his experience of suffering would not discourage those who sought to trust the Lord. He mentioned this just after he had prayed about his sin, so he may have been thinking of how a bad example tends to discourage others– and he knew he had not always been a good example. He mentioned this just before reflecting on how he was suffering for his zeal for God, in which case those who were zealous for God might be discouraged, thinking of the kind of trouble righteous zeal might lead to. In either case, David’s argument with God seems to be that it is in God’s best interest to provide deliverance!
Think About It: What evidence did David have from his own experience that God was both willing and able to save him? Is there anything in my life that might give people an excuse to scoff at God?
Prayer: Lord, may my life be a credit to your grace and glory.