June 24 2018: Reflections on Psalm 68-69

Reflection on Psalm 68 

God is uniquely praiseworthy because he protects weaklings and pursues nobodies (vv. 3–4). With language reminiscent of Moses’ war cry, David reminds the covenant people that God’s power over their enemies is like wind to smoke, and fire to wax (vv. 1–2). God rode “through the deserts” (v. 4) on the cloud, which was a foretaste of his tabernacling presence in Christ (John 1:14). Through the cloud, God showed that he defends against human and natural enemies (Ps. 105:39; Dan. 7:13–14). Such total care is endearing and strengthening (Ps. 68:5–6).

With a highly compressed montage of scenes from Israel’s history, David reminds believers that God preserves his people—even as a remnant (vv. 7–10). The desert, Sinai, the defeat of Sisera (Judg. 4:7; 5:4), the arrival in Canaan, and the displacement of bloodthirsty enemies are all events in which God moved heaven and earth to prove that salvation comes from the Lord (Ps. 68:11–14; Jonah 2:9; Matt. 12:39–41).

God’s preferred way of overtaking unbelievers is by summoning them into his kingdom through saving faith, as he did with Rahab, Naaman, and other formerly unrighteous people (Ps. 68:11–14; 1 Cor. 6:9–11). What is most startling about God’s battle plan—illustrated in these historical skirmishes—is that he assembles a rag-tag band of warriors from a weak and persecuted people to execute it (Ps. 68:18). Similarly surrounding himself with orphans, widows, aliens, prisoners, poor, unwise, and weak sinners, Christ will bring humiliating defeat to hell itself (vv. 15–18; 2 Cor. 12:9; Eph. 4:8–9).”

Reflection on Psalm 69 

David provides the believer with words to express a lament when falsely persecuted. However, the New Testament’s application of these verses to the Messiah also teaches the worshiper that his ultimate vindication can come only through his union with Christ.

The psalm opens loudly with the cries of a drowning man (vv. 1–5). Though he reaches for a handhold, he only sinks deeper and deeper. The Savior felt like this as a victim of man’s mockery and estrangement from his Father (vv. 4, 9, 19–21; John 15:25). The only time Jesus did not address God as his Father was when he felt his abandonment (Mark 15:34). However, all of his suffering was out of zeal for the glory of his Father and love for those he came to save (Ps. 69:9, 13–18; Ex. 34:6; John 2:17; Rom. 15:3).

David poignantly describes how suffering cruelty can affect a person (Ps. 69:11, 12, 20, 29). In his pain he can lash out in uncharacteristic anger (vv. 9, 24–28). Applied to Christ, this explains the mystery of the “wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16; cf. John 2:17). An otherwise peaceful man became violent as he battled hell (Ps. 69:22–28; Acts 1:20; Rom. 11:9–10). The consequences of sin also alienate and dehumanize (Ps. 69:7–8). Since there is no way to avoid the messianic nature of this psalm, we conclude that Christ bore our reproach and became sin for us (cf. v. 9; 2 Cor. 5:21). David and his Greater Son lead the spiritually depressed out of their grief into praise for the God who saves the humble (Ps. 69:30–36; Matt. 11:28–30).

* Excerpt From ESV Gospel Transformation Bible

This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:

 Monday: Psalm 70 Thursday: Job 1
 Tuesday: Psalm 71 Friday: Job 2
 Wednesday: Psalm 72 Saturday: Job 3

Bible Column & Reading Plan by Rev. Chang Soo Lee
Mississauga Camps Lead Pastor