Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Suffering of the Servant

[To the chief Musician upon Shoshan'nim, A Psalm of David]

1 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.

2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.

3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.

5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.

7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.

8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.

9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.

11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.

12 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.

13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.

16 Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.

17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.

18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.

19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.

20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.

24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

25 Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.

26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.

27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.

28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

29 But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.

30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.

33 For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.

34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.

35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.

36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

—Psalm 69 KJV Bible

The psalm description suggests that this is a psalm of David, but this is not certain. Some think the song was written by the prophet Jeremiah about 400 years after David, and that the psalm description indicates that the song is to be included in the collection that David began. Others suggest that perhaps David wrote the original psalm and Jeremiah added to it. Whatever the case, it seems that the psalmist told the people what God wanted them to hear, the people did not like it, and the people took out their rebellious anger on the psalmist as a substitute for God. This is a lament psalm, the psalmist outlines his despair because of persecution, his desire for the punishment of his enemies, and his declaration of praise to God.

Some have described the psalmist as a "whipping boy"—an innocent servant of royalty who is designated to be beaten when a royal personage does something the people did not like. The people could not touch the royal, so they would strike the whipping boy as a substitute. In this respect, the greatest whipping boy in the Scriptures is Jesus Christ. This is considered a Messianic psalm in that it has many prophecies about God’s Messiah that were fulfilled in the earthly life of Jesus. Many Christians annually recite this psalm as part of their observance of Good Friday.

Psalm 69 is one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament. The quotes may not always match exactly because the writers referenced the Greek Old Testament rather than the Hebrew Old Testament. References include verse 4 (John 15:25), verse 8 (John 1:11), verse 9 (John 2:17; Romans 15:3), verses 12 and 20 (Matthew 27:29), verse 21 (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23), verses 22 and 23 (Romans 11:9), and verse 25 (Acts 1:20).

This is one of the imprecatory psalms. An imprecation is the act of calling down a curse that invokes evil. The imprecatory psalms contain an invocation of judgment, calamity, or curse against one's enemies who are viewed as enemies of God. The Major Imprecatory Psalms include psalms 69 and 109. Others are psalms 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137, and 139 (some include in this list psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 83, and 143). It is thought that the purposes of these imprecations are, depending on the psalm, to do one or more of the following: (1) to demonstrate God's just and righteous judgment toward the wicked, (2) to show the authority of God over the wicked, (3) to lead the wicked to seek the Lord, or (4) to cause the righteous to praise God. In the New Testament, Jesus quoted from them in John 15:25 (Psalms 35 and 69), the Apostle John references Psalm 69 in John 2:17, and the Apostle Paul quoted from Psalm 69 in his Letter to the Romans (Romans 11:9-10; Romans 15:3).

The psalm description says to present the psalm on the "Shoshannim"—Hebrew, meaning lilies. While it is not certain, this is possibly the name of a musical instrument or the name of a wedding tune to be used with the text.

In verses 1 through 4, the psalmist paints the picture of a drowning man who cries to God to be saved. The "water" is actually the many enemies of the psalmist that hate him for no reason and that demand he return to them what he did not take.

In verses 5 through 12, the psalmist confesses that he has sinned and asks that God not punish the people for his wrongdoing. The enemies of God cannot touch God, so they instead hurt God's servant, the psalmist. The psalmist wept, fasted, prayed, and wore sackcloth as a symbol of his repentance, but his actions were ridiculed in public by his family, his friends and his enemies.

In verses 13 through 19, the psalmist repeats some of his pleas to God from verses 1 through 4. In verse 15 and 18, the psalmist asks God to keep his soul from falling into Sheol, the place that all souls went after death—the psalmist does not want to die. In verse 19, the psalmist acknowledges that God is aware of all that the psalmist is going through.

In verses 20 and 21, the psalmist states that he is sick, heartbroken and no one will comfort him. Instead, his enemies give him poison (gall and vinegar) for food and drink. Matthew says that at the crucifixion of Jesus the people tried to give Jesus vinegar and gall to drink, but He did not drink it (Matthew 27:34). Mark says that it was myrrh mix with vinegar, offered to dulled Jesus’ pain, but he did not drink it (Mark 15:23).

In verses 22 through 28, the psalmist asks God punish his enemies for what they have done to him. The psalmist asks that the food and drink of his enemies becomes a trap for them, as they intended for him. The psalmist asks that their eyesight dim, that they develop palsy, that God’s anger burn against them and leave them homeless, and that God not include them with the righteous, who are blessed by God.

In verses 29 through 33, the psalmist asks God to save the psalmist from his afflictions. The psalmist will then sing praises to God which will be more pleasing than sacrifices. The psalmist is confident that God hears the poor and those in prison.

In verses 34 through 36, the psalmist encourages all creation to praise God. The psalmist describes how God will rebuild the nation. This portion is thought to be prophetic of the works of God’s Messiah during His millennial reign.

Father, when I must correct a fellow believer, help me to do so in love and for Your sake, not mine. And when I am corrected, help me to receive the correction in love and humility, knowing that it comes from You.


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