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The Psalm of the Trespass Offering
The 69th Psalm, which we are to study today, is one of those great Calvary Psalms which stir our souls. Like other Psalms there are some things in it of an historical message, but the Psalm can meet its fulfillment only in our greater David, even in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The heading of the Psalm says: "David complaineth of his afflictions, he prayeth for deliverance, he praiseth God with thanksgiving." These headings, however, have been added by the fingers of men. We do not deny that there are certain truths in the headings, but we do say emphatically that the Psalm has a far wider meaning. There are things here which David could not have said about himself.
Beside this, certain verses in this Psalm are quoted in the New Testament as being fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is our conclusion: When we read the Psalms we must remember that David was a Prophet, and that he was speaking, as he was moved by the Spirit, of the Lord Jesus. Did not Christ on the Emmaus Road bring out of the Psalms things referring to Himself? Does not the New Testament say that the Holy Ghost spake "by the mouth of His servant, David"? Let us give you an example of what we mean.
Apart from the Holy Ghost, David could never have written the words, "They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink." We know that David did not say this of himself, but they referred to the Lord Jesus Christ as centuries later He hung on the Cross.
On the other hand David never prayed with such maledictions against his enemies as we find in this Psalm beginning with Psalms 69:22 , These words were fulfilled, not upon David's immediate enemies, but upon Israel because they crucified the Lord on the Cross, and upon these, also, the Romans, who abetted the crucifixion and actually drove the nails.
It was Israel, nationally, and not David's enemies, whose table became a snare, whose eyes were darkened, and whose loins were made to shake.
It was upon national Israel that God poured out His indignation, and let His wrathful anger take hold of them. It was their habitation which became desolation. All these things will be developed as this study proceeds.
What we wish to do, is to impress the fact that this Psalm, as other Psalms, has a direct reference to Christ and to things to come. If we are going to read the Psalms as a mere historical Book, teaching us David's personal heartthrobs, prayers, praise; or even his curses upon his enemies; we are going to miss the message of God. The Book of Psalms should be studied as one of the most marvelously prophetic Books of the Bible. Only thus can we comprehend its message.
I. CHRIST OVERWHELMED WITH WATERS OF JUDGMENT (Psalms 69:1-2 )
Let us in our mind's eye imagine the Lord Jesus Christ approaching the hill that is lone and gray, in that land far away. Let us see the Cross lying prone upon the ground, "Hark! I hear the dull blow of the hammer swung low; They are nailing my Lord to the Tree."
Let us now see the Cross raised, and see it fall into the orifice which was dug for it. The people surge about the Cross. They wag their heads. They cry out against Him as our Lord hangs there. Darkness begins to gather. God hides His face. The burden of a world's sin overwhelms Him as He dies a substitutionary death. With this vision of the Cross before us let us notice thoughtfully God's foreshadowing of that hour through His Prophet, David, as described in our key verses.
Our text says, "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." When waters are used typically in the Word of God, they speak of overwhelming grief and sorrow.
The Lord wrote to His saints: "When thou passest through the waters * * they shall not overflow thee." Waters suggest "peoples," "tongues" and "nations." They represent here the surgings of the multitudes as they came against the Son of God.
The waters were deep as they rolled against our Saviour. We are reminded of the flood, and how the waters deluged the whole earth. Those waters anticipated these waters of His sorrow.
We are reminded of the waters which passed over Jonah, when he said, "The floods compassed me about: all Thy billows and Thy waves passed over me." He said, "The waters compassed me about, even to the soul." So it was with our Lord Jesus Christ. He was overwhelmed with the waves of God's wrath, as He bore our sins upon the Tree.
II. CHRIST HATED WITHOUT A CAUSE (Psalms 69:4 )
"They that hate Me without a cause are more than the hairs of Mine head: they that would destroy Me, being Mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty." Some one may object, saying that the enemies of Christ who were at the Cross were not more than the hairs of His head. However, there were multitudes of unseen Satanic hosts likewise around that Cross.
Besides, there were innumerable people down through the ages who had shown toward our Saviour the same spirit of hate that was shown that crucifixion day.
That which we wish to particularly stress, however, is not the fact that He was hated, "hated without a cause."
Who, being innocent, has ever suffered as He suffered? They found no fault in Him, and yet they crucified Him. There were none who could convince Him of sin, and yet He was made sin for us. He went among the people doing good: He healed the sick, He fed the hungry, and gave words of cheer to the brokenhearted. He caused the lame to leap, He cast out demons, He raised the dead, He gave sight to the blind eyes. Why should they have hated Him? He lived for their good, served their interests and then He died for their salvation.
After Pilate had heard all the accusations of the people against the Lord Jesus, he said, "I find no fault in this Man." The Lord, Himself, said, "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the Word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law, They hated Me without a cause."
III. CHRIST, THE BEARER OF THE SINS OF OTHERS (Psalms 69:7 )
The Psalmist now is anticipating the substitutionary work of the Cross. The reproach and the shame which He bore, and which covered His face was ours. Here are words of the Prophet David. They are words which could be said of the Lord alone: "Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered My face."
We remember how it is written, "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame." What was that shame? What was the reproach of that Cross?
It was this: Christ the Holy One, reckoned among sinners. "He was numbered with the transgressors."
It was this: Christ, the Giver of peace and rest, hung upon the Cross with His body bruised until His face was more marred than any man, and His form more than the sons of men. When we think of His unnatural position, the inflamed wounds, the exposed nerves: when we think of the blood from the thorns matting His heavy, long hair; when we see blood dripping from hands, and feet, and bruised back; when we behold the mocking, mad mob which surged against Him, we begin to understand something of the shame and reproach of that Cross.
It was this: they spat upon Him; they cried against Him; they defamed Him. It was this: that the Father hid His face, and darkness hung over the Cross, all because the Son of God was reckoned as a sinner in our behalf, and made sin for us.
There is no doubt that the 69th Psalm in our key verse refers to Christ bearing this shame and this suffering in our stead. Read it again: "The reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me." We wonder if we are willing to step under the shame of that hour. As the reproach against God fell on our Lord, are we willing for the reproach of our Lord to fall upon us? Shall we bear it?
IV. CHRIST AN ALIEN TO HIS MOTHER'S CHILDREN (Psalms 69:8 )
"I am become a stranger unto My brethren, and an alien unto My mother's children." This Scripture opens up a vista of Christ's family life that few, perhaps, have understood. "I am become a stranger unto My brethren" might refer to His people, Israel, because Christ was after the flesh, a son of Abraham.
The expression, "An alien unto My mother's children" cannot, however, be so interpreted. We must remember that while Christ Himself was begotten by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary, there were other children who came unto that home by natural generation. James, Joses, and Judas, were sons of Mary and Joseph. There were also daughters, born to Joseph by Mary. Their names are not given.
As Mary and Joseph's children grew up, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was older than they, became isolated by them. Perhaps there was something whispered around which cast a question mark around Christ's birth; and these rumors may have come to the ears of these three boys, and the girls. There certainly was a "mystery" that hung over the conception of Jesus. Of all of this we cannot speak definitely however, without contradiction, Jesus Christ was an alien to His mother's children. They treated Him as though He was not one of them.
Have you ever read this further Scripture? "I was a reproach among all Mine enemies: but especially among My neighbours, and a fear to Mine acquaintance: they that did see Me without fled from Me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against Me, they devised to take away My life" (Psalms 31:1-24 ).
The slander which was against our Lord, no doubt, had to do with the fact that He was born of a virgin. Mary could not reply to a mocking populace as to how the Spirit of God had come upon her, and as to how the Christ was begotten of the Holy One.
Alas, there are those today who deny the virginity of Mary and her immaculate conception; and some of these are supposedly among His friends.
V. CHRIST WAS EATEN UP WITH THE ZEAL OF HIS HOUSE (Psalms 69:9-10 )
"For the zeal of Thine House hath eaten Me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me."
It is in the 2nd chapter of John that we read the story of Christ entering the Temple in Jerusalem and driving out the sellers of oxen, of sheep and of doves.
It was there that the Lord overturned the tables of the money-changers, and with a whip, or scourge of small cord, drove out the men who had defamed His Father's House. The remarkable thing about this is the statement, that "His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of Thine House hath eaten Me up." This statement in John's Gospel makes certain that the words of our key verses refer to Christ.
No one ever loved Jerusalem as Christ loved it. No one ever loved the Temple as He did. When He saw what was done in His Father's House, He could no longer restrain Himself. He bore the shame, the maledictions centered against Himself without a word; however, when He saw that Israel had set herself against the Father, and the Father's House, it overwhelmed Him with grief. Can you imagine the zeal of His heart toward the House of His God? as He drove out the money changers?
Let us go to another scene. Now we stand with the Lord on the hill, that overlooks the city of Jerusalem. Looking down we see the beloved city, of which the Holy Spirit wrote: "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces." It is the city of God, and its inhabitants are the people of God.
Strange throbbings come into our souls! We see tears running down the face of our Lord. He is weeping"! Then, He lifts up His voice, and, perhaps, with extended hands He cries, "If "thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." Christ went on as He wept to tell of Israel being trodden down of the enemy. Surely His heart beat for His people. We can almost see Him there. Like Jeremiah, he cried: "How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people!" Like Hosea, He cried, "How shall I give thee up, O Ephraim?" Yes, the zeal of His Father's House ate Him up.
VI. CHRIST UPON THE CROSS (Psalms 69:21 )
There are so many wonderful things in this Psalm that we are loathe to omit any of them. This one we must not overlook. Psalms 69:21 says: "They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink."
We know how this was fulfilled, and how Christ, when He had tasted the gall and the vinegar refused to drink it. Preceding this expression in the Psalms, we have the pitiful prayer of Christ as He lifts His voice toward the Father: "O God, in the multitude of Thy mercy hear 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 waterflood overflow Me, neither let the deep swallow Me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon Me."
The Lord Jesus felt utterly consumed with physical weariness and weakness. The powers of darkness were sweeping against Him. The floods of wrath were overflowing Him. Even God was hiding His face.
It was about this time that the Lord entered into the deepest expression of His anguish upon Calvary. He was being reckoned sin for us; our iniquities were upon Him; our transgressions were weighing Him down. Then, mid the gloom, He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
It was in this hour that some of those at the foot of the Cross took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar and put it on a reed. Others mocked Him, saying, "This Man calleth for Elias"! "Let us see whether Elias will come to save Him."
As we drink of the cup of the New Testament (covenant) of His Blood, let us never forget that He refused the sponge of vinegar mixed with gall, that He might drink the cup of death for every man.
VII. CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND EXALTATION (Psalms 69:30 ; Psalms 69:35 )
We could not leave this Psalm without giving its final picture of exaltation, which describes Christ risen from the dead, and sees Him enthroned as King over Israel, reigning in Zion.
Psalms 69:30 says, "I will praise the Name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving."
From the darkness of Calvary we pass into the glory and light of the paeans of praise, which crown His resurrection. How wonderful! He says the humble shall see this, and be glad.
While disciples still wept, and the women still mourned on that memorable resurrection day, the Lord's angels, full of joy and gladness announced Christ's being raised from the dead. The angels were amazed, and said unto the women: "Why weepest thou?" "He is not here, but is risen."
Afterward the Lord Jesus met the women and said to them, "All hail!" That is to say, "All joy!" Truly the shadows had passed! The darkness of Calvary was gone!
Had Christ remained in the gloom of that tomb we had been forever of all men the most miserable. Our faith would have been gone; our hope shattered.
However, with Christ risen we are begotten again unto a more lively Hope. The joy-bells ring; the songs of praise and thanksgiving sound: All those who name His Name, magnify and bless Him.
There is another picture in Psalms 69:35 and Psalms 69:36 : "For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of His servants shall inherit it: and they that love His Name shall dwell therein." Next to the contrast of the suffering's of Christ, with His glory; stands the contrast of the perfidy and shame of Israel, with her national salvation and restoration. The people who once gathered around that Cross and cried, "Away with Him," shall yet seek His face. The nations who once crucified Him, will yet crown Him. Christ shall yet reign in Zion!
A young man was asked when he first trusted in Christ and was saved. His answer was, "When the bee stung mother." When he was a little boy he was playing before the door, while his mother was working inside. Suddenly a bee came buzzing at the door, and he ran in to his mother, followed by the bee. She hid him behind her. The bee fastened on her bare arm and stung her severely. She turned round, took her little boy, and showed him her arm. There was the place where she was stung, and there was the bee slowly crawling up her arm. "You need not fear the bee now, Willie," she said, "for it has no sting. It cannot hurt you. Its sting is here." She showed her little boy a black speck sticking in the wound. And then she took him on her knee, and told him how the sinner, pursued by God's broken Law, by death whose sting is sin, could find no shelter save behind the Cross of Christ; while in that spotless One who hung there was plunged the fatal sting; to Him was meted out the wrath, the stripes, the bruises, the wounds, which were the sinner's due, so that now all the sinner has to do is to look, and death is harmless, because all its sting has been exhausted in Christ, all its dark waters dried up in Him, and nothing now remains but to bow in thankfulness and praise to the One who is mighty to save. "Christ also suffered for sins once, the Righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God." The Ram's Horn.
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Psalms 69". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/