Truth be told, often when it comes to the Psalms, I’m probably not exercising the right level of interpretation before jumping in with identification. Thinking that’s true this morning as I chew on Psalm 69. My “enemies” are of no comparison to David’s. I’m not fleeing from a hoard who hate me without cause, nor am I having to hide from those would destroy me (v.4). I’m not in a situation where I’m bearing reproach to the point of despair, and it’s not like I’m without a company of comforters (v.20).
Yet there is something in what David feels as a result of his trials that resonates within. David’s not really stuck in consuming mud yet he says he is sinking in “deep mire where there is no foothold.” He’s not really treading water in some great sea but cries out to God about “the flood that sweeps over me” (v.2). David describes how he feels inside because of the reality he faces outside. And that’s why it’s so easy to connect with his songs.
Though our trials may be very different, and far less physically threatening, yet we know what it is to feel like you’re being sucked in by an emotional quicksand. We get the desperation that can come from wanting to get your head above water so you can take a breath. We identify with wanting some relief from the heaviness on your chest and the pit in your stomach. While the circumstances are quite different, even minor in comparison perhaps, yet the cry is similar, “Draw near to my soul” (v.18).
And it’s because of that identification that David’s plea to the LORD can also resonate so deep within and end up on our lips as our petition. That the Spirit can take the inspired word of God and leverage it to intercede on our behalf when “we do not know what to pray for as we ought” (Rom. 8:26).
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of Your steadfast love answer me in Your saving faithfulness.
(Psalm 69:13 ESV)
Three things catch my attention: an acceptable time, an abundant love, and a saving faithfulness.
An acceptable time. While David may have been desperate, he wasn’t demanding. He knew the promises God had made to him. He had been given the macro view of the plans the Almighty had for him. He believed that nothing touched his life that hadn’t already passed through the fingers of Him who is sovereign over all. And so he prayed in light of an acceptable time. He was confident that relief and deliverance would come in a time well-pleasing to the LORD. Not a matter of if, but of when. And belief that until then, God’s presence would sustain him and God’s grace would be sufficient for him.
An abundant love. Despite his enemies breathing down his neck, David never doubted that a multitude of God’s affection enveloped him. God is love and those He loves are loved to the uttermost. The depths of love having been demonstrated through the cross and the giving of His Son for the wages of men’s sins. Like David, we do not waver, despite the current circumstance, knowing that “if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32).
A saving faithfulness. He who has redeemed us will rescue us. His salvation a work begun that He has promised He will complete. Saving to the full those who trust in Him. Faithful to carry to the finish line those who run the race. His faithfulness a solid foundation upon which to stand. His name, our refuge. His promises, our assurance.
Though our affliction and pain doesn’t compare with what David experienced, though it differs in degree from those around us, yet our God delights to see our faces turned heavenward as we call out, “Let Your salvation, O God, set me on high!” (v. 29).
And it will. At an acceptable time. Through the abundance of His steadfast love. Because of His saving faithfulness.
All because of grace. All for His glory.