“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God” (Psalm 69:1-3).
Many of David’s psalms were written during times of despair and David unashamedly cried out to the Lord; then he waited for God to act on his behalf. I noticed in today’s psalms that David said the word “let” about thirty times. How could David surrender his need to control his life and simply “let” the Lord have His way with him and those around him? Because David fully trusted that the Lord was FOR him regardless if the world was against him. David also knew that there was nothing he can do to muster up the strength needed to survive in this broken world; his strength had to come from the Lord:
- “Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds. O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people” (Psalm 68:34-35).
- “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your maidservant. Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, because You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me” (Psalm 86:15-17).
David experienced persecution because of his love for the Lord and for the house of the Lord. But when men rejected him, David turned to God:
- “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children; because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach. I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate speak against me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation” (Psalm 69:8-13).
- “Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:20-21).
Persecution comes with being a Christian as Jesus will later say, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Jesus will experience this same persecution that David is describing and much more. Jesus will be stripped. A crown of thorns will be shoved onto His head. He will be mocked, spat upon and beaten. Nails will be driven into his hands and feet. And while hanging on the cross, dying a death we deserve, “they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it” (Matthew 27:34).
Following Christ on this side of heaven is not always easy as Jesus will explain to his disciples – “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:18-20). However, we can find rest in Jesus Christ – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Our hope is found in Christ and His finished work of salvation. Therefore, like David, we can relinquish control over our lives and “let” the Lord give us the strength needed to sustain us through hard days while praising Him for the salvation He is providing through His Son Jesus Christ – “Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:29-30).
(Psalms 68-70, Psalm 86, Psalm 101)