Psalm 69 : May Your Salvation Protect Me

imageOn the cross at Calvary the perfect innocent was crucified. Though charges were leveled and accusations screamed about Him, there was no guilt in the verdict of the ultimate Judge. The Savior knew and trusted in the ultimate outcome of The Plan.

Though our voices ring with affirmation of our trust in God and His Plan, the immediacy of the struggles we face excite the doubting voice in our hearts. Why God? Why do you allow your saints to be falsely accused while the mockers go free? No answer has ever been given except, “trust me.”

Save me O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.

I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.

I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.

I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail looking for God. (Psalm 69:1-3)

Along with Psalm 22, this scripture is found most often in the New Testament. The authors (as well as modern Christians) found the parallels with the innocent suffering of Christ to be the perfect descriptive words. John speaks of Jesus’ rejection by His own people (Jn 15:25) and his motive in driving out the traders from the Temple (Jn 3:17). The other gospel authors heard the words of innocence being put to death ( Mt 27:34; Mk 15:23; Lk 23:36; Jn 19:19-30) and Paul related the meaning of His suffering (Rom 15:3) to this psalm.

for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. (Ps 69:9)

For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” (Rom 15:3)

Trusting that our struggle is for the greater good is one of the greatest challenges that we face. Our innate sense of what is fair doesn’t have a category into which we can organize our pain in the face of the guilty walking free of injury. We must simply trust.

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. (vv 30-31)

Grace and peace to you.

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Psalm 26 ~ Test Me, O Lord

26Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth. (vv 2-3)

The Psalmist’s cry to the Lord should cause us to pause in prayer and ask if this is the transparency that we truly want to have before our God. In the lives of many Christians, we offer up our outer beings, the public personae that we rehearse for those around us. That is the cleaned up, polished, and groomed person that we believe will convince others that we are straight and true in our walk. Somewhere in the back of our mind we know it is isn’t true and even more importantly, we know that the Lord isn’t fooled. He needs no invitation to clamber about in our hearts and minds and the know the real us: the one who doesn’t consistently love his neighbor, the one who succumbs to her temptations and on and on.

The proclamations of faith and innocence do not begin or end with those verses that we have seen. In the opening verse, the psalmist proclaims that leads a blameless life and is a man of unwavering faith. The NIV translation of ‘blameless’ is a bit beyond the meaning of absolute purity, something that Yahweh possesses but is found in no man. It is better read as in my integrity I walk which gives it a domain inside of the fallen human experience. Is this braggadocio? Reading further we find instead it is a plea not to be judged as those who are unfairly judging him. The psalmist correctly places his ultimate trust in God.

Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes.

But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me.

My fee stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord. (vv 9-12)

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Psalm 7 – Acquit Me O Lord

The psalmist expresses his innocence against all charges in this prayer by casting his fate completely into the hands of the Lord. We are not told what the charges are, but they must rise above the level of even human judgment. David cries out his appeal;

O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands – if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe – then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. (vv 1-5)

Only the pure of heart can make this bargain for we who approach the throne must know that God searches our hearts and knows what a human judge could not decipher without proof. This becomes even more critical if we follow the psalmist in crying out for satisfaction in judgment against our accuser.

O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. (v 9)

Before this becomes our prayer, we too must walk the path of light. If any portion of us remains in the shadows we will be tempted to hypocrisy in accusing others of similar guilt. The Spirit searches us day and night and, if we listen, will exert a pull to us out of the dark and convict us when we choose to stay. We are thankful for the imputed righteousness that we have received as believers but our task is to be transformed so that we reflect to a higher and higher degree the source of the righteousness.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. (v 17)