Psalm 69:19-36: For the Lord Hears
March 23, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Deuteronomy 29-31, Psalm 69:19-36, Matthew 27:57-66, Romans 15:1-13
This second section of the psalm continues its focus upon “salvation” (see verses 29 and 35). It begins with a mournful plea to God: “You know my reproach.” Take comfort if you are in difficulties that God knows. Your pain is not hidden from him; your sorrows are not invisible to him. He knows. And he cares!
But the most striking part of this second section of Psalm 69 is no doubt the middle portion from verses 22 to 30. What are we to make of it?
David says, “Let their own table before them become a snare.”
That itself is not too hard to swallow, perhaps. David is asking that the moral order of the universe would be upheld by God. We would rather David had prayed for his enemies for them to be saved. We would rather he had loved his enemies. But this part of the prayer does not seem immediately too reprehensible, perhaps.
But then as the passion waxes hot, David continues until he gets to this point: “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living.”
David is praying that his enemies would go to hell. We might wish that sometimes in our blacker moments! We might even, to our shame, say it sometimes out of anger. But to pray it! What are we to make of this prayer to God for David’s enemies’ names to be blotted out of the book of life?
- We could take it as an example of how we are to pray about our enemies. This seems clearly wrong from a New Testament perspective because Jesus tells us to love our enemies. How can it be loving to wish our enemies’ names to blotted out of the book of life?
- We could take it as an example of David speaking prophetically under special inspiration. What we are reading here is not any ordinary prayer. This is David writing Scripture, his words breathed out by God. So this could be in effect, and in David’s voice, the record of God’s judgment on these people.
- We could take this as an example of David’s particular role as king of a theocracy. In other words, these enemies are not really David’s enemies per se. They are God’s
- We could take this as an example of David saying what he feels in the intimacy of his covenant relationship with God, rather than saying what he should In other words, it is an example of the way we can be honest with God about our feelings. David is showing how prayer can function as a theo-therapy for soul; working through your feelings with God until those feelings come into line with the truth.
At any rate, as the psalm concludes, it circles back to less convoluted matters and to more pastoral.
“For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.” Would you this morning cry out to God in prayer confident that he will “hear”?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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