The Blendings of the Sufferings of David, the Servant of Jehovah, and Penitent Israel
69:1 Save me, O God; For the waters are come in unto my soul.
69:2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
69:3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is dried: Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
69:4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: They that would cut me off, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: That which I took not away I have to restore.
69:5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; And my sins are not hid from thee.
69:6 Let not them that wait for thee be put to shame through me, O Lord Jehovah of hosts: Let not those that seek thee be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
69:7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; Shame hath covered my face.
69:8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, And an alien unto my mother's children.
69:9 For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; And the reproaches of them that reproach thee are fallen upon me.
69:10 When I wept, [and chastened my soul with fasting, That was to my reproach.
69:11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword unto them.
69:12 They that sit in the gate talk of me; And (I am) the song of the drunkards.
69:13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Jehovah, in an acceptable time: O God, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness, Answer me in the truth of thy salvation.
69:14 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.
69:15 Let not the water flood overwhelm me, Neither let the deep swallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth upon me.
69:16 Answer me, O Jehovah; for thy lovingkindness is good: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies turn thou unto me.
69:17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; For I am in distress; answer me speedily.
69:18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: Ransom me because of mine enemies.
69:19 Thou knowest my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor: Mine adversaries are all before thee.
69:20 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.
69:21 They gave me also gall for my food; And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
69:22 Let their table before them become a snare; And when they are in peace, (let it become) a trap.
69:23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see; And make their loins continually to shake.
69:24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, And let the fierceness of thine anger overtake them.
69:25 Let their habitation be desolate; Let none dwell in their tents.
69:26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; And they tell of the sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded.
69:27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity; And let them not come into thy righteousness.
69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of life, And not be written with the righteous.
69:29 But I am poor and sorrowful: Let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.
69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify him with thanksgiving.
69:31 And it will please Jehovah better than an ox, (Or) a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
69:32 The meek have seen it, and are glad: Ye that seek after God, let your heart live.
69:33 For Jehovah heareth the needy, And despiseth not his prisoners.
69:34 Let heaven and earth praise him, The seas, and everything that moveth therein.
69:35 For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah; And they shall abide there, and have it in possession.
69:36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it; And they that love his name shall dwell therein.
- Some preliminary considerations.
- David's sufferings (vss. 1-12).
- Messiah's sufferings (vss. 13-21).
- The psalmist's prayer for divine vengeance (vss. 22-28).
- The prayer of the penitent remnant of Israel for deliverance (vss. 29-36).
Psalm 69 is a very important portion of the word. It blends the suffering of David with those of Him whom he, David, did typify and the final sufferings of Israel and her deliverance.
I. Some Preliminary Considerations
Some expositors, not knowing the law of double reference and the law of recurrence, have misunderstood this marvelous composition and have strained points in order to make it fit some preconceived
theory. It is never proper and right to wrap or twist any passage in order to make it fit some human hypothesis. If the normal meanings — either the literal or metaphorical — must be
twisted in order to make Scriptures harmonize, we may be certain that such a distortion of a passage cannot yield truth.
We are told in the superscription that David was the writer of the psalm. Some critics, however, do not understand that the name of David appearing in this superscription is sufficient warrant for our understanding that he was the human author. To my way of thinking this supposition is purely arbitrary. These critics, ignoring the appearance of his name, seek to find some other human author than the King of Israel. Thus these critics look at the contents of the psalm and find many traits that were also dominant in the life and the ministry of Jeremiah. Thus they conclude that he was the human author of Psalm 69. So far as these characteristics which are common both to the psalm and to the life and ministry of Jeremiah are concerned, this psalm could have been written by Jeremiah. The fact that these similarities exist is no proof at all that this prophet was the author. In this connection let me say that it matters little who the human author was in many instances. Just so we get the message that was intended by the Holy Spirit, we should be satisfied. Yet it is quite gratifying to know and understand who the human author was. But since the psalm is attributed to David in the superscription unhesitatingly I accept the Davidic authorship.
Psalms 22, 35, 69 and 109 are very similar in many respects. Each of these speak of the sufferings of Christ. It is a well-known fact that Psalm 22 is Messianic. In the first twenty-one verses we have the life and execution of King Messiah, who expires on the cross with a prayer for deliverance upon His lips. In verses 21-31 we see the risen Messiah with the strength of His eternal life in the midst of the great assembly of Israel, recounting the wonderful works of God. In Psalm 35 we see the sufferings of Messiah, which are blended with those of the human author. The same thing is true with reference to Psalms 69 and 109. These four psalms should be studied very carefully together in order to get the picture which is presented by the prophets concerning the Messiah of Israel and His sufferings in behalf of humanity.
Psalm 40, which is attributed to David as the human author, bears some similarities to Psalm 69. Because of this fact, some critics believe that Jeremiah wrote Psalm 40 and 69. But their reasoning is inconclusive. It is far better for us to accept the information that is given concerning the authorship which appears in the superscription of many of the psalms.
The natural division of Psalm 69 is: David's sufferings (vss. 1-12); Messiah's sufferings (vss. 13-21); the psalmist prayer for divine vengeance (vss. 22-28); and the prayer of the penitent remnant of Israel for deliverance (vss. 29-36).
The relationship which exists between verses 1-12 and the second block of this passage, verses 13-21, may be illustrated by the law of double reference. In fact, this is a perfect illustration of that principal which obtains throughout the prophetic word. In verse 1-12 we see the picture of David, the human author, as he was suffering unjustly and unrighteously because of his devotion and loyalty to God. Then in verse 13-21 we see that the psalmist moved out into a larger circle of experiences through which David never passed. When we compare the various things mentioned in this section of the psalm with the New Testament and with other predictions for telling the sufferings of the Messiah, we see that in verses 13-21 appears a prediction concerning the sufferings of King Messiah. Thus the sufferings of David, the type (vss. 1-12), blend most beautifully with the sufferings of Messiah, the antitype (vss. 13-21). Moreover the relationship of verses 1-21 to verses 22-36 may be illustrated by what is known as the law of recurrence. This law might be pictured to us by the work of an artist. When a person posses for his portrait, the artist usually, at the first sitting, blocks out the picture, giving the main features of the person. At the second and subsequent sittings, these features that are already put on the canvas at the first sitting are brought out in more detail and new ones are added. Thus the portrait of the sufferings of King David on the one hand and those of King Messiah on the other are set forth at the first sitting (vss. 1-21). The work done at the second sitting is found in verses 22-36. When we understand these facts, we are in a position to study the psalm scientifically and intelligently.
In view of what has been said we may be certain that everything that is found in verses 1-12 was fulfilled in the days of King David of Israel. The predictions found in verse 13-21 were fulfilled at the first coming of our Lord. The predictions found in verse 22-28 apply to those of Israel's number who deliberately rejected the Messiah at His first coming and who would not accept the truth. The same principal holds true today with respect to those who will not see the truth and accept it. In verses 29-36 we see a vision of the penitential remnant of Israel who are given the facts concerning the execution of King Messiah who accept Him.
Another thing that we should notice before we approach the study of the psalm is this: In verses 1-21 we see the personal pronouns I, me, and mine. Naturally a person, realizing that David was the human author, thinks that these pronouns refer to David. But when he analyzes the thought of the first twelve verses, he sees that everything recounted there normally apply to David in his own personal experiences. But the things mentioned in verses 13-21 did not. Thus in this second section of the psalm David describes experiences that he himself never had. We should not be surprised at this; because, in Psalm 16 for instance, we see that David used the personal pronouns I, me, and mine. In the first seven verses he was talking about his own experiences. But in verses 8-11 he went far beyond anything that he ever experienced. These last four verses are clearly a prediction of the resurrection of the Messiah and are thus interpreted in the New Testament. So we can see that there was a blending in this psalm of the experiences of David, the type of the Messiah, with those of Messiah himself. The same principal obtains in Psalm 69.
II. David's Sufferings
Save me, O God; For the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing;
I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
I am weary with my crying my throat is dried: Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: They that would cut me off, Being my enemies wrong-fully, are mighty: That which I took not away I have to restore.
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; And my sins are not hid from thee.
Let not them that wait for thee be put to shame through me, O Lord Jehovah of hosts:
Let not those that seek thee be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; Shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, And an alien unto my mother's children.
For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up;
And the reproaches of them that reproach thee are fallen upon me.
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, That was to my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword unto them.
They that sit in the gate talk of me:
And I am the song of the drunkards (vss. 1-12).
In the first two verses David speaks of himself as if he were in literal waters and was sinking in deep mire. This figure is found in Psalm 40:1f. One of the reasons that the critics assign this psalm to Jeremiah instead of to David is the fact that Jeremiah was put into a pit and remain there some time. There would have to be positive evidence to attribute to Jeremiah the authorship of this psalm, since it is attributed to David in the superscription. Did David have any such experience as this? Was he put into a miry pit or thrown overboard and was engulfed by the waves? Such an inference is not necessary. The writers of the Scriptures very frequently thought of some difficult experience through which they were passing and compared it to their being in water and about to drown. For example see the following passages: Psalms 18:15; 32:6; 124:4; 66:12; 88:7,17. There is nothing in the history of David that will lead us to believe that he was ever put down into a pit as was Jeremiah. And yet he could use such a graphic representation to set forth the trouble through which he was caused to pass.
On the other hand, there are those who try to explain Jonah's experiences mentioned in Jonah chapter 2, by the figurative meaning of waters in the passages just referred to. And examination of the facts of the Book of Jonah shows us that the prophet was fleeing from the Lord, when he purchased the ticket and went on board a ship bound for Tarshish. When the lot which had been cast to discover the guilty person fell upon Jonah, the sailors threw him overboard into the water. This was literal water, the sea. All the facts presented in the Book of Jonah shows that these waters are to be taken literally. But the waters mentioned in the passages mentioned above are not literal waters, but are used metaphorically. One must know and apply the golden rule of interpretation in all instances. This rule requires us to take everything at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the context indicate clearly a departure from the literal meaning. In such a case we are to attach a symbolic or metaphorical meaning, according to the usage of the language.
When we reach verse 3, we see that the psalmist has dropped the figure as being cast into waters and speaks of his being weary and exhausted. In his distress he has cried out to God until his throat is dry and his eyes, weeping, fail him as he waits for God to answer his petition by delivering him.
In verse 4 David speaks of the multitude of enemies that are against him and of their might and strength. Moreover, they require him to restore that which he had not taken away from anyone. These enemies assume this hostile attitude without any basis or reason for doing so.
In verse 5 the psalmist, looking over his past life, confesses that he has acted very foolishly and that his sins are not hidden from God. David was conscious of his sins. The closer one lives to God, the more do his sins loom before him. If it were not, however, for the fact that God blots out the sins and transgressions of His people and remembers them against them no more, the child of God who is living close to the Lord will be overcome with despair. But praise God, when He forgives the sins of His children, they are forgiven, never to be remembered again!
King David did not want any reproach to be heaped upon the name of God because of anything that he had done. He did not want to be a stumbling block to anyone. He did not want to be the occasion of any dishonor to anyone who was sincerely seeking God. May we ever be eager to live properly and to walk circumspectly that we may not cause others to stumble or to bring reproach on anyone who is serving the Lord.
From verse 7 we see that David had borne reproach for the name of God and shame had been heaped upon him. His own family did not understand him. They thought that he was rather fanatical. This reminds one of Joseph and of the attitude that his brothers took toward him. David loved the Lord supremely. It was his meat and drink to do the will of God and to do those things that pleased God. When the Lord selected David out of the house of Jesse to be prince over His people, He passed by all of his older brothers and selected the young shepherd lad. Doubtless God's selection of David caused jealousy to rankle in the hearts of his brothers. When David therefore proved to be such a devout, pious man, who was zealous for God and His glory, his own family was alienated from him. This seems to be reflected in verses 8 and 9. Especially in the later we see that David put spiritual things first and he was willing to spend and be spent in the Master's cause.
The king realized that by fasting and prayer one could get closer to God and could obtain His favor, humanly speaking. Of course we cannot merit or win the favor of God by anything that we may do or say. But by our taking this attitude sincerely and engaging in fasting and prayer, we can get closer to the Lord than we could otherwise. When David had seasons of fastings and prayer, he was misunderstood and his people made it the occasion of rebuke and shame. This is also reflected in verses 11 and 12. If the king set a time for prayer, fasting, and meditation, and real true spiritual worship, those who were less spiritual or who are walking according to their carnal nature began to talk about him and to ridicule him. Even the drunkard took him up as a song and tore him to pieces. If a man wills to live for God, people who are following the Lord afar off and sinners will misunderstand him in every way, every time, and will heap reproach, ignominy, and shame upon him. Yea, all who live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution and shall be misunderstood.
III. Messiah's Sufferings
But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Jehovah in an acceptable time:
O God, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness,
Answer me in the truth of thy salvation.
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.
Let not the water flood overwhelm me, Neither let the deep swallow me up;
And let not the pit shut its mouth upon me.
Answer me, O Jehovah; for thy lovingkindness is good:
According to the multitude of thy tender mercies turn thou unto me.
And hide not thy face from thy servant;
For I am in distress; answer me speedily.
Draw neigh unto my soul, and redeem it:
Ransom me because of mine enemies.
Thou knowest my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor:
Mine adversaries are all before thee.
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.
They gave me also gall for my food;
And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (vss. 13-21).
By the time we reach verse 12 the picture of David has faded out, figuratively speaking, and the dim outlines of another picture begin to appear. Soon the first picture in verses 1-12 has completely faded and the portrait of David's Greater Son stands before us on this spiritual screen. Verse 13 marks this transition from David to his Greater Son.
David's Greater Son was none other than God manifested in the flesh. He assumed the form of man. He was every inch a man. The New Testament emphasizes His human nature, as well as recognizing His Divine Essence. For the doctrine of the incarnation one should read John 1:1-18 and Hebrews chapters 1 and 2, as well as many other passages on the same subject.
Though Jesus of Nazareth was God in human form, He lived the normal life of a perfect man — apart from all sin. The records of the Gospel, especially Luke, lay emphasis upon the prayer of the Lord Jesus. Often when others where asleep, He was in private, communing with God in intercession. That He would do this was clearly foretold by Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 50:4-9).
In verse 14 David speaks of the sufferings of the Messiah and compares them to the mire in which he is placed and into which he is sinking. That this mire is not literal is seen from the parallel in the same verse: “Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep water.” The same figure is continued in the first two lines of verse 15, but in the last line of this verse, “And let not the pit shut its mouth upon me,” the figure is changed somewhat. Messiah is represented as being in the water and sinking. If he continues to sink, loosing His strength in His struggles in the water, He will drown. When a person drowns, dies, his spirit leaves the body. Prior to the death of Christ, the spirit always went to Sheol — regardless of whether the person was saved or lost. There were two apartments in the underworld — one to which the righteous went and the other to which the wicked went. In verse 15 the praying Messiah realizes that He is going to pass out of this life and that His spirit is going down into Sheol, the pit; but he prays very earnestly that the pit may not shut its mouth upon Him. In this petition He is asking that, though He goes down into Sheol, He might be released and return, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel. This petition was literally fulfilled. When our Lord died, being put to death in the flesh, in the spirit He went and made an announcement to the spirits that were in prison. On the third day, however, He came back from Sheol, His spirit re-entered the body in which it had been during His earthly lifetime, and He appeared with His glorified humanity.
Continuing His prayer in verse 16, the suffering Messiah, through Himself upon the goodness of God and asks that the Lord would answer Him according to His tender mercies. In verse 17, we see a rather strange petition — strange until we read it in light of Psalm 22:1; “My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?” Here in 69:16 we see the Messiah in great distress and praying to God not to hide His face from Him, He is in distress and wants to be speedily answered.
This verse was literally fulfilled during the three hours of our Lord's being upon the cross. God and the Holy Spirit turn their backs upon on Him and He, as the second Adam, a man, championed the cause of humanity. Darkness veiled the struggle. Satan with all his hosts was there in full force, trying to break the morale of the Messiah and cause Him to deviate in His loyalty and allegiance to God. During that short period of three hours our Savior fought the battle, won the victory, and accomplished Satan's defeat and man's deliverance.
In verse 18 we see a continuation of this prayer. Of course we may believe that the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane prayed these same thoughts. In fact, we know it. He prayed that, that if possible, the cup of suffering might pass from Him. Nevertheless, He did not wish His will to be done, but that of the Father. Thus on the cross He, as our Kinsman-Redeemer, prayed God to draw near unto His soul, to redeem it, and to ransom Him from His enemies. The fundamental conception of the ransom as it is seen in the Scriptures is found in the idea of God's ransoming or redeeming His people Israel from Egyptian bondage. With a strong hand and an outstretched arm He redeemed or ransomed them. That is the thought expressed in verse 18. Thus the Messiah prays to God to use His strong hand and outstretched arm to redeem Him from His enemies, the enemies of hostile men and the forces of evil under Satan.
God was thoroughly cognizant of what was going on when the Lord Jesus in fulfillment of this passage was nailed to the cross. During the first three hours of the crucifixion His enemies were present and were hurling every type of indignity and reproach at Him. The climax was reached in the last three hours — the time of the supreme effort of the powers of darkness. But our Lord was triumphant.
IV. The Psalmist's Prayer for Divine Vengeance
Let their table before them become a snare;
And when they are in peace, let it become a trap.
Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see;
And make their loins continually to shake.
Pour out thine indignation upon them,
And let the fierceness of thine anger overtake them.
Let their habitation be desolate; Let none dwell in their tents.
For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten;
And they tell of the sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded.
Add iniquity unto their iniquity;
And let them not come into thy righteousness.
Let them be blotted out of the book of life,
And not be written with the righteous” (Psalm 69:22-28).
As we have already seen, David, throughout the first twenty one verses of this psalm, uses the personal pronouns I, me, my and mine. In the first twelve verses he is speaking of his own experiences. But, in verses 13-21, being a prophet and speaking as such, he sets forth the sufferings of Messiah, his Greater Son, continuing by the use of the personal pronouns the same as he had done in the section in which he described his own sufferings and sorrows. The Apostle Paul, in Romans, chapter 7, in a figure transferred the sufferings and the sinful nature of mankind to himself; hence he used the personal pronouns, I, me and mine, even though he was not speaking of his own experience as such — neither his pre-Christian nor his Christian experience.
But when the psalmist reaches 69:22 he drops the impersonation which he has been carrying on in verses 13-21.
Let us remember that, at this junction of the composition, David, following the law of recurrence, changes the viewpoint. He no longer impersonates Messiah; but seeing what the people of Israel would do in rejecting Him and in putting Him to death, he, in a sympathetic attitude, prays for God's punishment to come upon those who willfully reject the Messiah. As I set forth in the first section of this discussion, David blocked out the picture of his sufferings and those of the Messiah in the first twenty-one verses of the psalm. Then in verses 22-28, he went back over the picture and added some details that were not given in the first part of Psalm 69. In doing this, King David simply spoke as an observer who is standing off and seeing the sufferings of the Messiah. Knowing that what they do to Him is unjust and seeing things from the divine standpoint, he prays that the Lord would take the situation in hand and deal with those who thus execute King Messiah.
There are some people who cannot understand the imprecatory psalms. They tell us that the spirit of these compositions is entirely foreign to the spirit that is set forth in the New Testament. Whereas the writers of the different psalms prayed God's avenging power upon evil doers. The Lord Jesus and Stephen, for instance, prayed God not to lay the sin of their enemies to their charge. Thus we are told that the spirit of the Old Testament is that of vengeance, whereas that of the New Testament is kindness and love, pity, compassion, and mercy toward those who mistreat others. Such a deduction is a very hasty and immature one. The psalmist and the other men of God who prayed for God to deal with sinners upon the basis of the merits of their conduct were enabled by the Spirit of God to see things exactly as they are and to view them from the standpoint of God's holiness. Moreover, by the inspiration of the Spirit, they could see the people who had sinned against light and had deliberately rejected the truth. Hence they could pray God's avenging wrath upon them.
In the sacrificial system of the Old Testament offerings were made for sins done unwittingly; but for those that were done with a high hand and presumptuously, there was no offering provided. This fact indicates that, when men deliberately and willfully reject truth and light and pit their wills against God, there is no provision for them. An examination of the various imprecatory psalms, as they are called, will reveal the fact that those servants of God who thus prayed avenging wrath upon certain ones saw that these people had gone beyond all redemption, had sinned against light, and were enemies against the truth of God. Thus seeing and realizing these facts, they were lead by the Spirit of God to pray that God would avenge, bring punishment upon such. Moreover, they looked at things from the standpoint of law — more than from the standpoint of grace, since they lived during the Law Dispensation. From the standpoint of law, no flesh can be justified in God's sight. Only when people stand upon the basis of grace and put their trust in God can there be any such thing as forgiveness and mercy.
In verse 22 we read: “Let their table before them become a snare; And when they are in peace, let it become a trap.” The antecedent of the pronouns, their, them and they, can be none other than the enemies and adversaries mentioned in verses 18 and 19. These enemies are the ones who hate Him (vs. 14), without a cause. When we look at the fulfillment of the passage, we know that this is true. When the leaders of Israel aroused the multitude to demand the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, Pilate realized that it was through jealously that they had delivered Him up to be executed. They had had every opportunity in the world to learn the truth and to know who He was and the purpose for which He had come. To them He said, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” They could have come to Him, but they willed not to do so. When they took that attitude toward Him — sinning with a high hand and a determined will — there was no hope for them.
The psalmist, by inspiration of God, seeing that the enemies would thus assume that attitude toward Messiah, prayed that their table might become a snare to them and a trap. In this language the psalmist prays that the table of good things might be overruled by God and become, figuratively speaking, a snare and a trap to these men who have rejected the light and who have thus executed this Servant of God without a cause.
Sin always has a hardening effect upon the heart. Likewise it blinds the eyes. Thus we see in verse 23 this language: “Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see; And make their loins continually to shake.” When anyone rejects light, God withdraws the truth from them, which is indeed the light. The result will be that such a one will walk around in darkness. It is a fearful thing to reject light. Isaiah told Israel that, because they had chosen their own ways and delighted in their own ambitions, the Lord would choose their delusions and bring their fears upon them (Isaiah 66:3,4). When certain of the elders of Israel came and sat before Ezekiel, asking him for further light on some important matters, the Lord spoke to the prophet and told him to say to them: “Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Every man of the house of Israel that taketh his idols into his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I Jehovah will answer therein according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols” (Ezekiel 14:4,5). Thus those who reject Messiah, according to this psalm, have their eyes blinded; fear and uncertainty grip their souls. This is indicated by the last clause of verse 23: “And make their loins continually to shake.”
In verse 24 the prophet goes farther than he has in verses 22 and 23. Not only does he want God to overrule the things that take place and to make everything contribute to their condemnation since they have rejected the truth; but he actually prays that God might pour out His indignation upon the ones who reject the truth and His Messiah. This verse was fulfilled in the Lord's overruling the political situation in Israel after the rejection of the Messiah. Finally, in the sixties of the first century, the Jews came into a clash with the Romans who sent their armies and for four years ravished the country. This invasion was brought to a dramatic conclusion in the downfall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, when the nation collapsed and hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered and many thousands were taken into the slave markets of the world and sold into bondage. Thus the wrath of God was poured out upon those who had rejected the light and their longed for Messiah. As a result of the pouring out of the wrath of God in the fulfillment of this passage and the one in Luke 21:20-24, the country, that had flowed with milk and honey and that had been given to the fathers of Israel, became a desolation and a waste. Thus the prophecies of 69:24,25 where literally fulfilled in the overthrow of the Jewish nation and the consequent chaotic condition that resulted from the war.
From verse 26 we see that the psalmist asked this judgment upon the nations because the people have persecuted “him whom thou hast smitten; And they tell of the sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded.” Thus it is clear from this passage that the judgment which comes upon the people of Israel is punishment for what they do against Him who God smites and the flippant way of their talking about those whom God has wounded.
The one mentioned in the first part of verse 26 is none other than the Messiah. It is God who has put Him to death for the sins of the world. We see this from Isaiah 53:10: “Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him [Messiah]; he hath put him to grief: when thou shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand.” It is not enough for these wicked ones who reject all light and who rush forth with determined wills, following their carnal natures, to look unsympathetically upon Him as He suffers the agonies of the most cruel and excruciating pain in death. They therefore, out of the hatred of their souls, attempt to persecute Him with mental agony. Even this does not satisfy the cravings of their depraved natures. They therefore “tell of the sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded.” They are certain ones who are associated with the Messiah, and who are wounded and crushed by the recent developments. They therefore talk of this sorrow and seem to gloat over the fact. This attitude of heart and soul God cannot brook. In justice and righteousness He therefore must deal with them upon the basis of their case.
Add iniquity unto their iniquity;
And let them not come into thy righteousness” (vs. 27).
Here the psalmist pleads with the Almighty to add to their already increased wickedness the iniquity of their taking this viscous attitude toward this innocent sufferer. He sees them in the grip of their own iniquitous acts and asks the Lord to chalk down this additional sin against them. Moreover, He prays that God will not allow them to enter into His righteousness. It is to be noted that righteousness belongs to God. They are not to share in this righteousness. The prophet, speaking of God's righteousness, seems to set it over against man's righteousness or man's unrighteousness. This righteousness must be that which is imputed. As an illustration of this, we read in Genesis 15:6 that Abraham believed God and his faith was counted unto him for righteousness. The righteousness of God was imputed unto Abraham upon the basis of his simply believing God. From the New Testament we understand more clearly the righteousness of God. The Apostle Paul declared that “apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets ...” (Romans 3:21). This righteousness is a righteousness of divine origin, which is revealed to man apart from all law and all ceremonies. It is given to man when he simply believes God. God is eager to let every soul have this type of righteousness, which, expressed in commercial terms, is “made in heaven.”
The last petition of this prayer is found in verse 28:
Let them be blotted out of the book of life,
And not be written with the righteous.”
Evidently these concerning whom the petition is offered have their names written in the book of life. The psalmist sees the inappropriateness of their names being there on the register of life. He therefore prays to the Lord that their names might be blotted out of this book and that they might not be written among the righteous. What is the significance of this petition? When we study in the light of the New Testament revelation, we come to the conclusion: Through one man, Adam, sin entered the world and death through sin. Death passed unto all men, because all sinned. By the one act of disobedience of Adam, the many (the human family) were made sinners; but through the one act of righteousness by the one man Christ Jesus, the many (humanity) were made righteous. In Romans 5:12-21 the Apostle draws a parallel between Adam on the one hand and Christ on the other. Adam, as Paul tells us, was a type of Christ. Hence there are similarities between them and their ministries. At the same time, as Paul shows us, there is a contrast between Adam and Christ. In the case of Adam his unrighteousness — his pitting his will against God — was imputed to the entire human family; by the one act of righteousness on the part of Christ, His righteousness was imputed to the entire human family. Hence every individual's name was put in the book of life. Christ, as we are told in Hebrews, chapter 2, tasted death for every man. Since every persons name was put in the book of life because of what Christ did, they are all saved, being robed with the righteousness of Christ, including all infants (who died before reaching the age of accountability) and idiots. But when a child reaches the age that he can pit his will against God's and when he determines to disobey the Lord, by the act of unbelief and of refusing God's will, he throws off the righteousness with which he, as a babe, was clothed and stands guilty before God. After one has thus reached the age of accountability, he must accept Christ by faith in full surrender of his will to God. Whenever one thus accepts the grace of God through faith as manifested in Christ, he is clothed with the righteousness of Christ. The past is blotted out. Never will God impute unrighteousness to such a one after that. He is safe for time and for eternity. But of course God punishes all sin and transgression in everyone His children. This is taught in Hebrews chapter 12. Everyone, therefore, who accepts Christ has his name written down in the Lambs book of life. Let it be remembered that the Lamb's book of life is one thing; the book of life is an entirely different matter. The name of every individual is in the book of life because of what Christ did for humanity; a persons name is in the Lamb's book of life because he, by faith, accepts the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, is regenerated, and is saved. The psalmist understood these matters. Seeing the venom of the souls of those who reject the light and who persecute and heap ignominy and shame upon the innocent Son of God, the Savior of the world, the psalmist prayed that God would blot their names out of the book of life, and that He would not transfer and write them with the righteous in the Lamb's book of life. There are therefore erasures from the book of life. But there is no erasure from the Lamb's book of life. Let everyone who has accepted the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ rejoice in the fact that his name is not only in the original book of life, but also written in the Lamb's book of life and that he will, upon leaving this life go into the immediate presence of God and enjoy the blessings of the Lord with all the redeemed forever and ever.
V. The Prayer of the Penitent Remnant of Israel for Deliverance
But I am poor and sorrowful: Let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.
I will praise the name of God with a psalm, And will magnify him with thanksgiving.
And it will please Jehovah better than an ox, Or a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
The meek have seen it, and are glad: Ye that seek after God, let your heart live.
For Jehovah heareth the needy, And despiseth not his prisoners.
Let heaven and earth praise him, The seas, and everything that moveth therein.
For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah;
And they shall abide there, and have it in possession.
The seed also of his servants shall inherit it;
And they that love his name shall dwell therein” (vs. 29-36).
Throughout the psalms we read of the poor and needy. Here we see them in this quotation. They are called poor in verse 29 and needy in verse 33. The penitent remnant of Israel in the end time is thus designated, as we can see from numbers of passages in the Psalms.
When we read these verses in the light of other passages, we come to this conclusion: The truth of God will be given to the nation Israel. The honest hearts who are longing for God and the satisfaction of their souls will embrace the truth when it is given to them. Seeing and recognizing their helpless and hopeless condition and having learned that the Messiah has suffered and died for them, they immediately look to God and plead for deliverance. Thus they cry out, “let thy salvation O God, set me up on high.” Then they assure the Almighty that they will praise His name in song and magnify Him with thanksgiving and praise. Moreover, they will realize that ceremonialism and the observance of rights, though they have a purpose of the unfolding of God's truth to man, are not an end within themselves, but are a means to an end. Furthermore, they will realize that God is not looking at these externals, but at the real spirit of the one who thus turns to Him.
To the meek, as we see in verse 32, this vision of the truth of God and His grace becomes very apparent. They therefore delight in the newly-discovered truth concerning God's grace, His marvelous grace and forgiving power.
This faithful remnant of Israel who turns to Him in the very end will by faith look forward to the end of the Tribulation and will call on the intelligent beings in the heavens and those upon the earth to render praise and thanksgiving to God for what He has done and for what He will do yet for Israel. Thus, in verses 35 and 36, the penitent remnant will express its faith in God's fulfilling His promise in restoring Israel to the land of the fathers and blessing them and making them the channel of world-blessing:
For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah;
And they shall abide there, and have it in possession.
And they that love his name shall dwell therein.”