Verse 21 tells me that it’s messianic in nature, that what the songwriter chronicles was to foreshadow what the Son of God would know as well. But beyond just providing insight to the Savior’s sufferings, it also provides deep connection to the Savior’s understanding of the human condition and experience. A reminder that “He had to be like His brothers and sisters in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest” (Heb. 2:17). A reminder that the salvation He brought was not only sufficient to open the gates of heaven, but sufficient to sustain us through the griefs of earth. This morning I’m chewing on the salvation that protects.
The song begins by getting to the point. “Save me, God” cries the psalmist with his opening words. He feels like he’s drowning. Unable to plant his feet on solid ground, the water of felt opposition gets deeper and deeper and he is unable to rise above it (Ps. 69:1-2).
While the flood is fed by those “who hate me without cause” (v.4), David is more than aware of how his failures have helped open the floodgate.
God, You know my foolishness, and my guilty ways are not hidden from You.
(Psalm 69:5 CSB)
Yet, the insults the songwriter endured went beyond his failures. He had become a “stranger” to the brothers in his own house because of the consuming zeal he had tried to live out for God’s house (69:8-9). And so, discredited, derided, and discouraged the psalmist laments before His God:
You know the insults I endure—
my shame and disgrace.
You are aware of all my adversaries.
Insults have broken my heart,
and I am in despair.
I waited for sympathy,
but there was none;
for comforters, but found no one.
Instead, they gave me gall for my food,
and for my thirst
they gave me vinegar to drink.
(Psalm 69:19-21 CSB)
Gall for food, vinegar to drink — there’s the messianic connection (Mt. 27:34, Jn. 19:29). But hover over the shame and the disgrace, the broken heart and lack of comforters, and, for how many of us at one time or another, is there found the human connection?
But we don’t stop reading there.
But as for me—poor and in pain—
let Your salvation protect me, God.
I will praise God’s name with song
and exalt Him with thanksgiving.
(Psalm 69:29-33 CSB)
Let Your salvation protect me. Worth chewing on, I think.
Our salvation is not only a redeeming salvation, a rescuing salvation, a delivering salvation, but it is also a protecting salvation. A salvation that keeps those it saves. A salvation that sources endurance when endurance is needed. A salvation which is more than making sure a name is written in a book for a future day, but that the person attached to that name is secure in the Good Shepherd’s care each and every day. A protecting salvation so sure that its remembrance evokes praise. A salvation which so guards the soul that the spirit can’t help but sing a new song when it is invoked.
Let Your salvation protect me. The ESV renders it more literally as let Your salvation “set me up on high”. God’s salvation is a protecting salvation because it is a salvation that sets on high. It’s an exalting salvation even in the midst of hostility. A salvation promising a glorious end, so that every valley encountered before that day will always be a valley which will eventually and assuredly be ascended. Every pit then becomes part of the path used to complete the good work God has begun in us (Php. 1:6).
The salvation that protects. That’s our salvation. That’s a salvation worth praising God for, a salvation worth thanking God for, a salvation worth singing about. Amen?
By His grace. For His glory.