Psalm 69

Psalm 69  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The rich affectingness and object of this Psalm needs no comment—“He was heard in that he feared." Only we may note the character of the things in supplication by the Lord—His deliverance, as we have seen before, made the occasion of confidence to the humble. "The humble shall hear this and be glad," so they become the objects of His solicitude (v. 6, etc.). His identification with the Jews herein is manifest, and stands forth in distinctness also in verse 34.
This Psalm thus stands alone in presenting, personally, the great Sufferer—the key to all the rest.
I do not see how it is possible to avoid seeing the appropriation of the sins of the people by the Remnant, i.e., Christ, which is just righteousness, as they went to John the Baptist.
6. Adonai Jehovah Tsebaoth (Lord God of Sabaoth). The use of this is remarkable here. It is present not prospective, as in Psa. 68:16, 1816Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. (Psalm 68:16)
18Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. (Psalm 68:18)
, and elsewhere; so Psalm 70, but that must be considered apart. The Lord takes the place too of the Remnant, yet stands alone in it, as indeed He did in every respect.
Christ here explains His part in going without the camp, as, in effect, the Sin-offering, bearing all reproach, but really of a wicked world against God the Lord, the God of Israel. We have seen the circumstances of Israel, as obliged to go without, towards men, towards God—here of the great Sufferer, not in sympathy but, in fact, alone; and He explains this in His appeal to God first, then to the Lord as to its effect on the poor, and scorned, low laid Remnant around Him—for it was for the Lord of Israel's sake.
Then He pleads the whole case in His own sorrow before God the Lord. He had done all, even He could do, to win them. What had He not suffered for them? His heart had been broken. What had He received? There were none to pity—then judgment; but He, poor, set up on high, praising. The humble hear this—they rejoice and are glad; it is the sign of their confidence and deliverance. All will praise Him, for after all (the wicked have been judged) God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah, and there will be an heritage for those that love His name—a seed of His servants.
26. Here again, though characteristic, we find the blessed Lord alone, yet others associated with Him.
29. The distinction of the poor of the flock, and also Christ's taking this place, is evident.
I must say the more I read this Psalm, the more I see it does not treat of atonement. It goes into the time and circumstances in which also atonement was made. It is perfectly monstrous to make the effect of atonement to be adding “iniquity to iniquity," and judgment which excludes them from “the book of the living," that cannot be. But I see two distinct things consequent on the attacks on my statements as to this, making me look more completely into it, for one ought to examine thoroughly all that may touch the Lord, to see nothing dishonors Him. One is the full absolute knowledge, in trial, of good and evil—evil in its power, Himself being the good, and so perfectly tested and proved to be. Experimentally learned because He, being perfectly good, and knowing good and evil in moral capacity, had all the evil in man (as one of whom He had come) which showed itself outwardly against Him, estimated, and felt in pressure on His soul, in its true character of evil, treachery, unrighteousness, sad indifference even in His disciples, the absence of all conscience in His enemies—a dreadful thought, for He was a Man to feel it, the hatred to God in them, not surely felt as a passion, for then it gratifies itself for the moment, but felt as He only could feel it as evil" One of you shall betray me." Good and evil were brought up to their absolute character in love to God (to His Father), and hatred of God against Himself, “Me and my Father." Then, having gone to the end of this, He died to sin. This was perfection of love and obedience in Him. This, besides bearing our sins and being forsaken of God, though this last was what in an absolute way tested the perfectness of His obedience and love—the cup given Him to drink.
Then comes another, more dispensational, character—the cutting off of Messiah—the setting aside, as to Israel in the flesh, the beloved people of all the promises—the utter failure of man in this refusal of Him bringing them love and blessing, and the people of God, as far as their responsibility stood, losing all, rejecting the counsel of God against themselves—a nation lo chasid (not holy), and the beloved people the very scene of Satan's power, so that this terrible word could be said of them, " This is your hour and the power of darkness." This was dreadful, and His place with man in life with it. All that He had as Man come amongst men, turned by His goodness to bitterness, and so making the bitterness more absolute; see, as to the latter, Psa. 102. These are closely connected, as in Psa. 62 and 63, but they are distinct. The first far the deepest morally; the latter, as regards the promises and favor of God, the more sorrowful. But I believe He suffered all that could be suffered. The latter is connected with government, the former with the eternal character of good and evil. What a suffering! What a work! How perfect a one it was!
Now therefore He lives to God, and that only. Always perfect in His offering Himself up to Him, and living really to Him, yet He had to do with sin, and, having dealt with it perfectly, He has done with it completely—“He lives to God." He will judge evil no doubt, but in His life He has no more to do with it. He had constantly to do with it (save what grace did, with nothing else), and was made it before God. Perfect to God in the place of sin, and made it, He has died and done with it, died to it all—that He lives, and in that He lives, it is to God. Between Him and God, as living in every thought, feeling—speaking reverently, all that expresses life, there is only God. To live thus (through Him) we are called. In that He liveth He liveth unto God is all, necessary of course though free with Him, but a wonderful thing, a wonderful thought! And, Oh! to have an end of sin! For Him, by His own perfectness, having had to the end of it to do with it; for us as crucified with Him—what a blessing! But it shows wonderfully what the life of Christ, as a Man, is now—what ours ought to be. He died to sin once—was out, by dying to it, out of the whole scene of His connection with it—a connection with, a relationship to it, which only showed, and there by personal perfectness, His absolute carrying out of good when tried fully with evil; and evil being fully searched out, sounded, and brought to a climax with good on the Cross, was passed out of by experimentally dying to it forever. Good only remained, and God the fullness of it, and everything for man, only with perfect love therefore to those that were His.
Such is the perfectness of Christ; only my words are poor, imperfect expression of what God, in a word or two, reveals. Still, searching, if it be with reverence, is good.
I have been reading this Psalm again, and I cannot doubt that the interpretation I have heretofore given to it is the just one. His death is not spoken of—the deepest troubles are, and men's heartless insults and outrage, but what characterizes Psa. 22 is not there; there is no appeal out of these to God, and finding forsaking, which is the essential point of the suffering of that Psalm. It is judgment on those who were hostile to Him. It views the historical fact of His rejection, and the consequence to those guilty of it—judgment of the wicked and unbelieving Jews, and so blessing in Zion. The point of the Psalm is that He was heard, not that He was not. The Remnant are in the deepest distress, and know and confess that it is through their sins. Now Christ did enter into this, and in bearing them in the way of atonement (but that is not the aspect here) He prays it might not be a stumbling block to any. Reproach was on Him for the Lord's sake, and His prayers to Jehovah were in an acceptable time. But the Lord hears the poor, and saves Zion that the Remnant may dwell there.
I do not write now to give the proofs that it is not expiation though it was that too—verses 22-29 prove that—but what the true force of the Psalm is, which seems to me perfectly clear, and falls in with the whole tenor of the Psalms. The conflict in sorrow, is in verses 32, 33. It is the judgment of the haters of Christ, and the deliverance of the Remnant to dwell in Zion with blessing. The Lord heard the poor—Christ was the proof of it to the oppressed Remnant, and, when He was there, it was not their sins (now confessed) were not before God, but Christ is a delivered, praying Man, and His enemies judged. Hence the blessing in Psa. 22 is of a far different and wider kind.
In this Book the Remnant are outside, and it is a question of enemies, Gentiles and the nation. Psa. 42 and 43 are their enemies, and Messiah their deliverer; God arising at the end, but the Remnant finding in a suffering Christ the stay of their souls in the deepest of their sorrows. The delivering power is in Psa. 68, but founded on Psa. 69, which is their comfort till deliverance comes. Historically, Christ's sufferings will be their stay, though in the depths, for He had been there. It is when they look on Him, whom they had pierced, that they recognize atoning grace.