In Psalm 69 David cries out once again to God in his time of distress. He indicates in verses 1-2 that he is being overwhelmed by difficulties. In verse 3 he states that he has been crying for so long that he is tired of doing it. He is waiting for God to solve his problem, but the answer from the Lord is slow (3). He is surrounded by people who hate him, but he has done nothing to deserve their wrath. In fact, he has done everything he can to appease them, but it has been to no avail (4). In verse 6 he calls upon the Lord to answer him not only for his sake, but for the sake of others who know and understand his situation. He does not want them to be ashamed or confused because of God's apparent lack of response. Thus we see that David is not only concerned for himself, but he is also concerned for others, and for the reputation of the Lord. I believe that this is important. While it is not wrong to pray for assistance in times of trouble, it is good to remember that there are others who need to see God at work as well. David's prayer is not selfish, and we need to be careful that ours are not either.
I also find it interesting that in the middle of his request, he mentions that he is both foolish and sinful. Here we see another aspect of David's humility. He is not so cocky as to think that he somehow deserves to have God solve all his problems. He doesn't come before Jehovah claiming sinless perfection, as if God was somehow a debtor to him. He admits his sinfulness, begging God to interceded for him anyway. God admires a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17), and possessing this kind of attitude is necessary for pleasing our Lord.
It is also important to note that David was receiving this opposition because of his relationship with God. Verse 7 states that he bore the reproach for God's sake. Verse 8 states that he was consumed with zeal concerning the Lord's House. In verses 9-10 we find that he was being mocked because of his attitude of sorrow and repentance for his sins. He was public in his repentance, and the ungodly ridiculed him for doing so. It got so bad that the drunks in town made up songs to disparage him (12). The principle here is this: when you stand for God, people are going to criticize and ridicule you. If you live a holy life, you will be scorned. If you choose to make the church your priority, you will be verbally abused. Even your repentance for sin will be mocked. All of this happens because the believer's holiness, faithfulness and repentance are all convicting to the ungodly. Be sure to continue to do what is right, regardless of what others might say or do.
As a side note, several verses in this song are Messianic. Verse 9 is quoted in John 2:17 as referring to Jesus. Verse 21 is prophetic concerning the crucifixion of Christ (John 19:28-30). Obviously the entire is psalm is not about the Lord, for He is not foolish and sinful (5). However, some of the other verses could be applied to Christ's situation on the cross.
At the end of the psalm David shows his trust in God by saying that he will praise Him with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving. Perhaps this is stated because he knows that God is going to assist him, but it could also simply refer to the fact that the Lord is worthy of praise and thanks whether He removes David's problems or not. David adds that this attitude of worship "also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs." God is pleased with the worship of His children even more that in their sacrifices. In fact, when the humble see God's people worshipping, and understand this principle, it makes them glad, for they realize that they, too, can trust in the Living God. They will understand that God does care about the downtrodden (33), and that He will provide for them, too. David concludes the song with a call for the universal praise of the Lord, and his own expectation that God would fulfill His promises both to Israel and His children.
When trouble strikes, take it to the Lord. Approach him in a humble attitude, considering also the needs of others. Be sure that your life is right before Him. Trust Him to do what needs to be done, and praise and thank Him for what He has done and what He will do. God will be pleased, others will be impacted, and you will be blessed.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery