June 27, 2016

Tom Lowe





Title: Marching to Zion

(To the chief musician, [6]upon Shoshannim, a Psalm or Song of David)

Theme: Christ on the Cross, a prophesy of David.

Introduction to Psalm 69

Most Bible scholars will tell you that David is the author of this psalm even though there is nothing in David’s life which resembles the things he says.  Those who deny that David was the author forget that David was not only a poet; he was also a prophet.  That is the key to understanding this psalm.  From beginning to end it points forward to Christ.  This is not about David, but about the One whom God declared would set on the throne of David.

This psalm has three parts.  In verses 1-21 we are standing on a skull-shaped hill outside the walls of Jerusalem.  They are nailing our Lord to a rough wooden cross.  There He hangs suspended between Heaven and earth, in agony and covered with blood.  We hear a cry, a tearful cry, the cry of a tragic victim; an innocent man about to be abandoned by His Father.  The pronouns are all in the first person singular—I, me, my.

In verses 22-28 there is a sudden, startling change.  These verses record some of the most terrible and insulting statements in the Bible.  Charge after charge falls from the lips of the Lord.  We take our stand on a blood-soaked battlefield, on the Lord’s side.  The armies of the earth have been drawn to Armageddon.  The curse of God is upon them.  We hear a blood-chilling, terrible cry, the cry of monumental vengeance.  On earth our Lord never cursed anyone, he only blessed; but this is the day of God’s wrath and a world which rejected His blessing must now face His curse.  The pronouns are in the third person plural—they, them, their.

In verses 29-36 there is yet another change.  Now we take our final stand on a blessed and renovated earth.  The promise of the [1]rainbow has been fulfilled and the glorious Millennial day has dawned.  The dark shadows all have fled, the earth has been cleansed, and a redeemed people can look forward to 1000 years of peace, prosperity, and praise.  We hear the same voice raised in a cry, only this time it is a triumphant cry of victory. The pronouns are all in the third person singular—he, him, his.

This monumental psalm has drawn and awed God’s people for nearly 3000 years.

Even a cursory reading shows this psalm to be one of those classified as messianic; therefore, we will study each verse with two goals in mind: first, we will try to discover what it reveals from the life of Christ; second, we will attempt to explain the verse and how it relates to the other 35. God bless our study!


PART 1 (VERSES 1-21)

Introduction to Part 1

The words are the words of David; the heartbreak is the heartbreak of the Son of God.  Here we have what the Holy Spirit calls “strong crying and tears.” This is not the whimper of a babe or the cry of a hurt child.  This is the unutterable anguish of a strong Man, the strongest Man who ever lived, broken by the anguish of the whole wide world.



1 Save me, O God; for 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.

The psalm opens with a sequence of metaphors to describe his mood: “waters up to his neck,” sinking in mud with no foothold, swallowed up in “deep waters.”

It seemed to our Lord, as he hung there on Calvary’s tree, that sin was destroying Him: “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.” He felt that sin was defiling Him: “Save me, O God . . . I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing.” The clause “for the waters are come in unto my soul” is a figure of speech and has been rendered; “up to my lips”—“for the waters are up to my lips.” “The waters,” are those powers of evil that can take shape as both personal troubles or as national disasters; yet here it seems that the two are intertwined.  The psalmist, however, refuses to give up praying to God.  We see that he never stops believing that God is actually hearing him.

It was as though all the impurity of the human race had been gathered together in one stinking sewer, as though every perverted act, every pornographic thought, every savage an horrible atrocity, every wrong thought and lustful desire, every malicious lie, every depraved word, every sin however gigantic or however despicable and spiteful were all concentrated in one bubbling cesspool.  And He was sinking beneath it all.

That is what the Lord experienced on the cross.  No wonder He cried out, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing.” We would be hard pressed to find anything more terrible in the whole Bible though we searched every one of its 31,173 verses and combed every one of its 773,692 words.  There was seemingly no bottom to it, at all.

We need to remember that Jesus died for the sin of the whole world.  He not only died for us, He died as us.  The unspeakable horrors of that will only sink in when we give it some thought.  Think of men like Himmler and Stalin.  Think of the kind of people whose lives of crime are commemorated in wax in London’s famous chamber of horrors.  But why go so far away?  Let us think of our own sins and try to catalog them.  Then let us remember that Jesus took our place and died both for us and as us.  It he is a thought beyond all thought.  We cannot comprehend what it meant.  We can only pray with the hymn writer:


Oh, make me understand it,

Help me to take it in,

What it meant for Thee, Thou Holy One

To take away my sin.


He felt too, as though sin was drowning Him: “Save me, O God . . .  I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.” It is said that all the past life of a drowning man passes before him in a fleeting moment.  If this is so and if this happened to Jesus what a remarkable life it was that passed before him on the cross.


I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

I suppose most of us, at one time or another, have sobbed our hearts out over some childish disappointment, or over some severe tragedy in life.  We know what it feels like when the anguish persists but no more tears will come.  Such were the tears Jesus wept over our sin in Gethsemane and on the cross.  Truly God has gathered up every one of them, of those liquid drops of agony drawn from the broken heart of the Man of Sorrows, and put them in His bottle, and treasured them as precious beyond all else.

“I am weary of my crying” suggests, “I have cried until I am exhausted.”

He can neither see God nor hear his voice; he receives no answer when he calls.


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: then I restored that which I took not away.

The world had turned against Him.  Roman, Greek, and Hebrew alike joined hands against Him at the cross.  But the whole world signed and endorsed the rejection of God’s Son.  His enemies were countless.  After sending Mary and John away He looked in vain for a friendly face as He gazed down from his elevated throne of pain upon the crowds that milled around the cross.  He, of all mankind, had no need to be there.  He was there by sovereign choice, restoring that which he took not away—restoring man’s lost sinlessness by being made sin itself.

Those who considered themselves His foes did so wrongfully.  He had done them nothing but good.  Wonder of wonders, even as they mocked Him and spat at Him—he loved them and was dying for them. Such were his foes.  He had healed their sick and raised their dead and fed them by the thousands and taught them immortal truths and their answer was the cross.

Meanwhile, David’s enemies have taken full advantage of his desperate situation.  He has done nothing to offend them, yet they are out to destroy him.  He has to defend himself for things he has not done. The Psalmist was hated “without a cause,” “his enemies wrongfully” opposing him, so that he is forced to restore what he had not taken away.  Is it fair? (69:4-8). I am a sinner, he says.  That I confess.  The wrongs I have done are not hidden from thee.  But this catastrophe that has befallen us far outstrips the punishment that any of us desire.  Let me give you an example, Lord: Am I expected to pay back, not only the value of the thing stolen plus 20% (Numbers 5:7), when I didn’t even steal the thing in the first place?


O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

These are the words of David.  Certainly Jesus could never have spoken like that!  How could He possibly talk of His “foolishness” and of His “sins”?  There was just one way He could do it; through identification with them.  He took our foolishness, took our sins, and made them really and truly His own, and He became so identified with them that He could speak of them as His!  Here, indeed, we need to stand with bowed head and broken heart and confess that this dimension of Calvary is beyond us.  We believe it, but we cannot understand it.

David admits he has sinned, and he even acknowledges a wound from God (69:26).  Perhaps he realizes his inevitable condition is tied to God’s discipline. 


Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.

He addressed God as the “Lord God of hosts.” He had told Peter just a few hours earlier, in the Garden of Gethsemane, to put up his sword because there were 12 legions of angels straining over the battlements of Heaven at that very moment, willing then and there to usher in Armageddon if only given the word.  Perhaps Peter would remember that in his tears and torment.  This was all part of a plan. 

The significant title, the “God of Israel,” appears several places in the Old Testament.  It is used in connection with Jacob’s parting from Esau, his buying of a parcel of land from Hamor, the father of Shechem, the building of an altar, and the subsequent disgrace of his daughter Dinah (Genesis 33:20).

Verse 6 points out that he cares about how he carries himself as a believer in the Lord.  He doesn’t want to do anything that reflects badly on his Lord or impedes someone else’s spiritual progress.


Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.

Again our attention is directed to the cross (verses 7-12) and to the Holy Sufferer.  Here, however, we have a view of the Lord surveying His ways and how those divinely-ordained ways had brought him at last to the cross.

Crucifixion was a shameful way to die quite apart from the terror and pain of it.  It was the kind of death the Romans gave to slaves and conquered enemies.  A man dying on a cross was exposed and naked for the world to see—even the body’s wastes could not be hid. The pictures we have of Jesus on the cross with him wearing a loincloth are strictly for the benefit of our easily offended scruples.  The embarrassment associated with death was not the least of its horrors for a sensitive person.  The Lord Jesus endured the cross “despising the shame” but as we learn from this psalm the shame was there.  And the reproach was there.  Indeed this was the most impossible thing about Christianity to a man like Saul of Tarsus—how could Israel’s Messiah be crucified when God’s Word said “cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”?  The reproach was as real as the shame.  He has wept, fasted, and dressed in sackcloth, yet he continues to suffer painful indignities: scorn, mocking, shame, insults, and even taunting songs from drunkards on the street (69:7-12). For the Lord’s “sake . . .  shame” had been poured upon him.


I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.


How accurate is the Word of God!  In no way could those half-brothers and sisters of His, in that Nazareth home, be called “his father’s children” since Joseph, their father, was not His father.  But their mother was His mother.  They had never understood His messianic claims.  They had sought, indeed, to interfere with His work, deeming Him to be “beside Himself.”  The rift had grown after His rejection in the Nazareth synagogue and the attempt by His townsfolk to throw Him over a cliff.  We can well imagine the things that were said about Him in the synagogue the family attended, and how His brothers would resent the “disgrace” He was, in their minds, bringing on the whole family.  Mary, of course, knew the truth but His brothers, and perhaps his sisters too, resented Him.  He must have felt their rejection very deeply indeed. For the Lord’s sake he had become like “a stranger and an alien” among his own people. This can be said of both David (1 Samuel 17:28), and of our Lord (John 1:11; 7:5)


For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

As He hung there upon the cross, His mind went back to the beginning of His public ministry when, on the occasion of His first official visit to Jerusalem, He had deliberately cleansed the Temple.  It was Passover time and the unscrupulous Sadducees had sold concessions to merchants to profit from the demand for temple currency and sacrificial animals.  Indignantly Jesus drove them out.  In recording the incident later, John quoted from this verse: “And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:17).  It was this righteous act, an evidence of His consuming devotion Godward that had turned the leaders of the nation against Him— especially when he repeated it at the end of his ministry.

The Apostle Paul quoted the remainder of the verse (“the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me”) when, writing to the Roman church, he urged the believers to be mindful of the weaker brother.  “For even Christ pleased not Himself,” he wrote, “but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on me” (Romans 15:3). “Reproaches” are fallen upon me—all these prior verses may serve to show us how deep and agonizing was the suffering of the Redeemer’s soul, when He came to his own, but they received Him not, and labeled Him a wine bibber and sinner.


10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.

“When I wept . . .  that was to my reproach” has been translated “When I chastened my soul with fasting, men jeered at me.” Nothing Jesus ever did was right with a certain class of unbeliever.  If he fasted He was penny-pinching; if he came eating and drinking they called Him a glutton and a wine bibber and a friend of publicans and sinners.  He was the most self-denying of men.  He began His public ministry with a prolonged, forty-day fast.  He knew how to keep His body in subjection to the monitoring Spirit within.


11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.

No occasion in the life of Christ, which is recorded in the Gospels makes mention of such an act.  It was typical of the Old Testament prophets, however, that they used sackcloth and ashes visually to portray God’s displeasure with the sins of the nation and the certainty of coming judgment unless there was repentance on the part of the people.  In a metaphorical sense, Christ’s whole life was one of “sackcloth,” he was indeed “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”—grief greater than Job, Jeremiah, and Jonah in His sorrows for the sins of mankind.  There is no doubt that the Jews disliked Him intensely for the way His manner of life convicted them.  They called Him “a Samaritan” (no greater insult could have been meant) and said He had “a devil” (John 8:48).  The characteristic title for Him by the Christ-rejecting Sanhedrin was “that deceiver” (Matthew 27:63).

 “Sackcloth” was the traditional symbol of deep mourning.

“Became a proverb to them,” means that his name was used as an expression of contempt.


12 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.

“The gate,” of course, was the place official and everyday business was transacted in an oriental city in Bible times.  “They that sit in the gate” were the city’s officials; the elders of the city (Ruth 4:1; Job 29:7-8).  Even the most cursory reading of the Gospels shows how soon and how often Jewish officialdom spoke against Jesus.

But what, perhaps, captures our attention more than anything else is that He was “the song of the drunkards.” They mocked Him in their taverns.  Think of it!  The One who angels worshipped was the One who was the theme of [2]seraph’s song—“the song of the drunkards.”  In yonder glory land angels had crowded around His throne to awaken the echoes of the everlasting hills with their ceaseless chant: “Holy!  Holy!  Holy!” Now, in the taverns, with drink slopping down their beards, they lifted their tipsy voices in vulgar song, mocking Him.  The phrase, “The song of the drunkards” indicates that the low (drunkards) as well as the high (they that sit at the gate) conspired to pour contempt upon him. The Psalmist’s sole hope was that God would hear.

Thus, all the way down these first dozen verses of this monumental psalm, we have a description of His desperate plight. And He loved them, died for them; died, indeed, as them.


13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

14 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.

15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.


“But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.” Jesus staked everything on that.  His “times” were in God’s hands.  It might not be “an acceptable time,” indeed, for God to show Him His mercy, not while He was acting as Sin bearer, but that “acceptable time” would come.  He had every confidence in that.  God’s wrath was about to fall, but that would be only for three dreadful hours.  But His mercy endures forever.  Beyond the storm lay the sunshine of a new, unending day.

Then, too, he describes His condition: 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.” He repeats the opening anguished cry.  There has been no answer.  The “waters” have only become “deeper” and the “mire” more dreadful.  Now death itself looms on the horizon, the “deep” and the “pit.”  It is evident that soon He must die.  But does death sever us from the mercy of God?  Could death cut him off from those mercies which are from everlasting to everlasting?  Never!  Still the Holy Sufferer prays—“Hear Me!  Hear Me!”

Prayer is the only hope in such a situation, the only hope of David (Saul was close on his trail), and the only hope for the Savior of mankind (nailed to a tree).  The Psalmist returns to the despairing picture of 69:2, feeling himself to be sinking in “the mire” and “the deep waters” (69:14), with “the pit” of death about too close over him (69:15).  It may sound as if David is about ready to throw in the towel, but that is not true at all.  “I keep on praying to You, Yahweh, Lord of the Covenant, even when it might seem that the Covenant is dead and buried.” So it is in just such “impossible” circumstances that this psalmist along with others makes a real “breakthrough” in matters of faith.  He discovers that (a) God does not answer prayer that is offered flippantly.  He waits until a person is truly humbled and at his wit’s end.  Jeremiah makes this plane in Jeremiah 14:19-22.  (b) God answers prayer, not when we think He ought to, but at what we today would call the psychological moment, but which the psalmist regards rather as the eschatological moment, God’s “acceptable time.” (c) That right moment will happen only in conformity with God’s great hesed, his steadfast, unswerving, faithful love and help.  And that “acceptable time” can be at any moment, even up till the moment of death.


16 Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.

17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.

Now the Lord expands upon those sure “mercies.”  They are wonderfully defined: “Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.” We have noted this again and again in the psalms.  God is not just kind and merciful.  He offers not just kindness but loving-kindness, not just mercy but tender mercy, not just tender mercy but tender mercies. Everything is in the superlative.  The sufferer on the cross, abused and forsaken by men, soon to sink beneath the very waves of God's wrath, lays hold upon His mercies.  He magnifies them.  Goodness and mercy had followed Him all the days of His life and He was sure they would not desert Him at the last, come what may.  Such an affirmation of the Lord’s faith in His Father, at such an hour, at such a place, under such conditions is marvelous indeed.

Then, too, those mercies are willingly displayed: “And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.” He had no doubt at all.  God's mercies had been displayed all down through the long, tragic history of man's sin—let it be displayed now—If not to Him, then to those who stood around the cross.  "Father," he had prayed, “forgive them, they know not what they do." Even as He hung there, the victim, his prayer was being answered—at His expense.  That cross was like a mighty lightning rod, reared against the skyline of the world.  The descending fury of God's wrath was caught by that cross and its dying victim.  The high voltage of God's righteous wrath against the human race exploded in the soul of the Savior.  The human race escaped instant incineration because of the mercy of God. God's mercy was, indeed, being willingly displayed even in that dreadful hour.  Jesus well knew He could not have it both ways.  He could not be both the Saved and the Savior.  Still, He reveled in the mercy of God, mercy to be shown to rebel sinners of Adam’s ruined race.


18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.


Again His “enemies” intrude upon His thoughts; shouting, jeering, and mocking: "He saved others Himself He cannot save . . .  If Thou be the King of Israel, come down from the cross and we will believe Thee . . .  He trusted in God, let him deliver Him now, if He will have Him." And even the dying thieves: "Save Thyself—and us." How every one of those taunts must have stung!  Did He sense that the moment was coming when His Father in Heaven would also turn His back?  Is that why he uttered the agonizing appeal: "Draw nigh unto my soul"?  Was the sense of distance already beginning to cast its shadow?  Who can tell?


19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.

If the sufferer goes over the same ground again and again it is because that is the way it is when one is in intense pain and anguish.  Who can be logical at a time like that? Do we not tend to repeat the same phrases over and over when the physical pain or the mental anguish becomes more than we can bear?  Again the Lord is overwhelmed by the shame, the disgrace, and the scorn of his position on that cursed tree.


20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

He asks God to help Him because He was in no condition to bear it: Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness.” The night before was Passover, which he spent with his disciples.  It was a time filled with strong emotions.  There He made his last great intercessory prayer for the others.  His dreadful agony continued in the garden where His suffering was so great that He had actually wept great drops of blood and angels had been required to come and strengthen him.  Then all night long He had been marched here and there to face this trial and that, all the time being beaten and bullied and finally mocked and scourged.  In the morning He is seen staggering under the weight of the cross as he walked along the path leading to Gethsemane. But more than anything else there was the heartless ingratitude of the Jews, the wholesale abandonment of Him by his disciples, and the unbearable loneliness of it all.

The pain was made more unbearable by the realization that he had no companion to share it: “And I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” His mother had been there, but He sent her away with John, for he knew that in the ages to come the church would make a goddess out of His mother.  There is, in Rome in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, a statue of Christ depicted as the dying Savior of the world; next to Him and crucified with him, actually sharing His cross, is a statue of the virgin Mary depicted as the co-redemptrix for the sins of the world. To sweep away all such hideously false notions, Jesus sent His mother away.

Jesus was truly left in terrible pain without a human comforter.  Every other eye in the place was an unfriendly eye, every other voice a hostile voice.  He looked for someone to take pity on Him, “but there was none; and for comforters, but found none.”


21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

That was the crowning act of heartlessness.  He had been on that cross for hours and was desperately thirsty.  During the hours of daylight he offered a prayer for His foes, gave a promise to the dying thief, and made provision for His mother.  He began His public ministry by being hungry (Matthew 4:2) and He ended it by being thirsty.  Satan offered Him stones for bread on that occasion, now men offer Him “gall” and “vinegar.”  We cannot be sure what the "gall" was but we can be sure it was something bitter.


Read verses 13-21 once or twice, and give some thought to the meaning with which Jesus uttered them.  It is probable that He literally died of a broken heart—this was evidenced in the blood and water of John 19:34.



Introduction to Part 2

The scene abruptly changes; Mount Golgotha gives way to Megiddo.  The curse Christ bore now recoils on the heads of those who have no use for Him and who are living at the end of the age when the cup of wrath, brimming over for centuries, is now poured out by a God who can hold back His wrath no longer.  If the world will not have Christ as Savior, very well, He shall come back as Judge and Avenger of blood. 




22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

The cross of Christ was God’s great welfare provision for the human race.  The cross was the high point in man’s guilt—man could do nothing worse than crucify the Son of God; it was also the high point of God’s grace—God could do no more to show His forgiveness, compassion, and mercy than to take the very instrument of man’s hate and convert it into one of the means of man’s salvation.  For over 2000 years now God, in the expressive language of the Apostle Paul, has been “making peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20).  The time is soon to come when God will make war over that blood.  Misery comes to those who turned their backs upon God’s great peace offer, His great plan for the welfare of the race in the redemptive work of Christ!

The Psalmist’s lament moves to a lower moral level, from a description of his accusers and persecutors to the terrible curses He placed upon them.  Here, in verses 22-28 is hot emotion fired by the strong Semitic feeling that evil is self-destructive, that injustice comes back as retribution upon its perpetrator.  The psalmist calls down upon them curses in proportion to what he has experienced at their hands.

Meanwhile,David’s persecutors are absolutely merciless, and in verse 22 he begins to pray more for retribution against them than deliverance for himself.  Essentially, he wants them to experience the same things he is feeling: weakness, isolation, and despair.  Even worse, he wants God to judge them harsher by blotting them out of His [7]book of life (69:22-29).


23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.

They had gloated over His sufferings.  Now they must face the poetic justice of God.  Disease will be another herald of the coming day of wrath.  Plague and pestilence will sweep the world.  Man’s achievements in the medical realm will be confounded as dangerous new diseases defy medical skill.


24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.


The fun soon goes out of sin when its consequences come home to roost.  In the days which lead up to Megiddo this world will not be a fun place to live.  There will be wars and famines, pestilences and persecutions, earthquakes and panic.  The “great tribulation” will be in full force, people who have received his mark will be tormented by ulcerating soars and the nightmare of the coming battle of Armageddon will increasingly overshadow all other terrors.

As the vials of God’s wrath are poured out, and the beast’s power structure erodes, so that the [3]“kings of the east” can break away and mobilized against Him, his fury will know no limits.  His rage plus God’s wrath will turn this world into a suburb of hell itself.  This is the bottom line in God’s account with men who have no use for His Son. 


25 Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.

This verse is quoted in Acts 1:20 when speaking of Judas, the arch traitor, the man who sold Christ for a fistful of silver.  This "son of perdition" will have his anti type on earth during the days when God's curse will be poured out on the world.  Like some last-day Adolf Hitler, this diabolical man will sow destruction everywhere.  Homes will be ransacked by his inquisitors; sons, brothers, fathers, and eligible women will be drafted into his armies and march off to endless wars.  If people will not have His Christ, God will let them have the Anti Christ; if they will not have the One who blesses man's homes then they must have the one who breaks up and destroys their homes.  In the end it is the inevitable law of sowing and reaping.


26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.

This can be said about what man did at Calvary.  They aggravated the sufferings of Christ with their lies and abuse.  This is what Job’s "comforters" did to him.  No doubt, in the days of the Anti Christ, those marked for torment and death will have their tormentors increased by the scorn and hatred of the world.  Many of these will be God's own saints, paying the supreme price for their belated faith in Christ.


27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.

Now comes the finale of this dreadful curse.  For those upon whom it will fall there will be no hope of salvation on earth: “Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness." The very essence of God's salvation lies in the fact that those who come to Christ for salvation not only have their iniquities taken away, but they are clothed with the very righteousness of Christ Himself.  But, in the days of the curse, Christ rejecters will have inequity added to inequity.  Their sins will pile up until they find themselves filling up with the waters of wickedness, sinking in the deep mire of sin, and being swept away in the raging floodwaters of God's wrath.  There will be no hope of salvation for them on earth.  They will receive the [4]mark of the beast and become the objects of God's special curse: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.(Revelation 14: 9-11).


28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

There will be no hope of salvation for them in eternity: “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” This awful statement takes us on to the great white throne judgment where the books are opened and where those whose names are not found written in the Lambs book of life are hurled into a lost eternity (Revelation 20:11-15).  Their names are blotted out forever.  Not least among the horrors of a lost eternity is that of being completely forgotten—forever.  God blots out the sins of those who come to Christ; he blots out the names of those who reject Him.  The lost wander forever in their terrible state forgotten by all who ever knew them.  Could any torment be greater?

This is how the terrible curse ends. Its focus is on a coming day when Christ will return to avenge the shedding of His blood.  But its application is to all Christ-rejecting people in each and every age.  To reject Christ is the ultimate unpardonable sin and those guilty of it will come under the curse of God—the very curse Christ died to save them from.




Introduction to Part 3

Once again the scene changes.  The Lord, from the cross, not only anticipates Armageddon, He anticipates what lies beyond.  His death is not in vain.  The whole idea of redemption, as illustrated in the book of Ruth, is that the Kinsman-Redeemer not only redeems our persons, but our property as well.  The Millennial age is as much an outgrowth of Calvary as it is of Heaven.  In these closing verses we have the Lord describing:

  • His Condition (69:29)
  • His Confidence (69:30-31)
  • His Conviction (69: 32-34)
  • His Contention (69:35-36)



29 But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.

We are drawn back to Calvary.  The word translated "poor" here is not the same one as in verse 33.  Here the word means "afflicted." “I am afflicted and sorrowful." That is the Man of sorrows speaking.  Now, however, He has his sights set on what lies ahead, beyond the final hours of agony.  “Let Thy salvation, O God, set me up on high." That prayer was answered, as we can see by turning back and reading again Psalm 24.  Death was not the end.  He came forth from the tomb in triumph, He lingered another 40 days in the environs of earth, then He led His excited disciples out as far as the Mount of Olives, and there he ascended up on high.  He went in through the pearly gates of the celestial city, down the street of gold, and on up to the very throne of God.  And their He sits—on high!

But when He prayed for that to happen, the darkest hour still lay ahead.  His condition to all eyes except that of the one dying thief, was desperate; but as so often happens throughout the psalms, the poet rises through the gloom to catch a glimpse of hope.  When God’s salvation shall “set” him “up on high,” he will “praise the name of God with a song and with thanksgiving” (69:30).  Here the psalm writer speaks of his own physical condition of weakness and pain, from which he turns for a moment and cries out to God for help.  


30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

The Bible speaks of the Lord on the cross, thinking of “the joy that was set before Him." We are so attuned to thinking of the sorrows of Calvary that we rarely think that, even in His agony, Christ was able to praise the Lord.  He knew he was in the center of God's will.  Had he not prayed in Gethsemane, "not My will but Thine be done?" There is no place in all the world quite like the center of God's will.

 (Verses 30 and 31 should be studied together) Once again, David changes the tone of the psalm, this time it changes from lament and petition to a song of thanksgiving.  At this point in the worship service we hear from the priestly oracle, assuring the petitioner of God’s answer to his prayer.  This is responsible for his sudden change of mood.  In deep spiritual certainty and in profound gratitude he lifts his song of thanksgiving. His simple psalm of gratitude is, he thinks, more acceptable to God than animal sacrifice (69:31). 


31 This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

There were various grades of offering that a devout Hebrew could bring to God, ranging all the way from a handful of meal or a pair of turtle doves up to a full grown ox.  Reference here to the horns of the animal showed it to be mature, not under three years (Genesis 15:9).  The bigger and more expensive the offering, the greater the expression of appreciation for Calvary (Leviticus 1).  But there was something God prized even more than a full-grown bullock—the heartfelt praise of one whom, in the most distressing of circumstances, could praise the Lord anyway.  How Job’s great affirmation of faith in the midst of his sufferings (Job 19:23-27) must have delighted God and assured that double portion in the end!

No one has ever suffered as Jesus suffered on the cross.  Yet in the midst of it all He could bring pleasure to the heart of God by praising Him and trusting Him and expressing his confidence in Him.


32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.

He has a word, first, for His scattered people.  All too often it looks as though truth is forever on the gallows and wrong forever on the throne.  Calvary was the very epitome of this.  Yet that gallows ruled the future.  Satan’s day was very brief, the Lord’s Day is still to come, and what a day it will be!  The Lord directs the thoughts of His own to this.  The word "humble" here can be rendered “meek." In His great Sermon on the Mount the Lord had said, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth," and so they will.  He is going to inherit it one of these days—He who once described Himself as "meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29).

These words will probably be of particular encouragement to those who come to trust Him during the tribulation age when all around will seem so dark and when meekness, of all qualities, will be that most despised.  As the Lord, at Calvary, could look ahead to His eventual global triumph, so let those facing the hatred of the world and the rage of the beast, emulate their Lord, sure too that their testimony will be heeded in Heaven if nowhere else.

The psalmist has become a part of the congregation of the Lords worshippers.  To them he turns.  He gives his heartfelt testimony as to what God has done for him in lifting his soul into certainty.


33 For the Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.

The word "poor" here can be translated the "helpless." To the multitudes milling around the cross, who could have seemed more helpless than Jesus on the day He died?  He hung there on that tree, nailed to the cross by iron spikes. His head was crowned with thorns, His back a mass of tangled flesh, His visage marred more than any man's, every bone in His body out of joint, His strength dried up like a [5]potsherd, His tongue cleaving to His jaws, with not a friendly face or comforting voice to lend a gleam of hope.  The darkness came and silence reigned until it was suddenly shattered by the most dreadful cry ever to come from human lips.  Could anyone seemingly have been more helpless?

Yet these were His words: “The Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not His prisoners." In spite of it all, all was well.  His trust would be honored. “For the Lord heareth the poor” and does not despise “his prisoners”—His people who have been afflicted or exiled.


34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.

Now He has the millennial age clearly in focus.  All creation will yet praise Him.  It will be only a short while now and that gallows will indeed be transformed into a throne.  Creation is still groaning, as Paul tells us in Romans 8.  But when Jesus comes back to reign it will be a different story.  It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time “all creation groans in a sort of universal travail" (Romans 8:19, 22).  But that is only for now.  "In the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God" (Romans 8:21).  The Old Testament prophets have told us what it will be like—a renovated earth yielding its bounty, a lion lying down with the lamb, the desert flowering like the rose, and the curse on nature almost entirely removed.

“Heaven and earth . . .  the seas . . .  and every thing that moveth therein” should praise God. That day is coming.  Jesus could look forward to it on the cross, to one of the by-products of the redemption purchase. His praise song leads into a hymn, which brings the psalm to its close.  The wonder of God’s dealing with his own life leads the psalmist to the certainty of God’s eventual deliverance of Zion from its distress and the restoration of the Judean cities in abiding stability across the generations. 

Verses 34-36 expand the usage of the psalm.  It is not just one person’s struggle to endure the taunts of his or her enemies but also a challenge for the entire nation to raise their voices to God.


35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.

He had foretold the coming of the Roman, the destruction of Jerusalem, the age-long sufferings of the Jewish people who had cried: "His blood be upon us and upon our children." Nothing could avert what lay ahead.  He could see that the nation of Israel would turn in contempt and fury from the gospel preached by His disciples—first in the homeland and then throughout the dispersion. Nothing could avert the doom he had foretold.

But there was something beyond all that.  The land would become a prey to the invader, its cities little more than villages of hovels.  But the day would come when all that would be changed.  We have lived to see Jerusalem again become an important world capital and city after city in the reborn land of Israel be revived.  Beyond these present heralds of His coming lies the brief time of Jacob’s trouble—then the millennial age.  Jerusalem will at last come into its own and Zion’s hill will be the center of a government which will span the globe.  That was part of the work of the cross.


36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

The remnant of Israel, those who will survive the holocaust of the great tribulation, will be saved—to the last man, woman, and child.  They will rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the cities of the Promised Land for the last time.  The millennial temple will be built. The world will beat a path to their capital.  There He will reign and people will come flocking from the ends of the earth just to be in the land that His glorious presence will sanctify and to honor the Jewish people, His own chosen earthly people.


End Notes:

[1] There's only one thing you will see in the sky that's a sign, only one thing that God has placed there to give a spiritual message, and that is the rainbow. "Then God spoke to Noah and his sons with him saying, 'Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle and every beast of the earth with you, of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. And I establish My covenant with you and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the Flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. ‘And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between me and you and every living creature that is with you for all successive generations. I set My bow in the cloud and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth and it shall come about when I bring a cloud over the earth that the bow shall be seen in the cloud and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.' And God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on earth'" (Genesis 9:8-17).

[2] Seraph refers to one of the highest order of angels often represented as a child's head with wings above, below, and on each side.

[3] Who are these “kings of the east” and how do they become a coalition force heading towards Jerusalem.  We do not know.  The Bible being Jerusalem-centric keeps its focus on the events directly related to Jerusalem and those powers that are affecting her. It is silent on the rise of the kings of the east. We must assume that it will include the peoples of China, Koreas, Japan, Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia and all the predominately non-Islamic Oriental countries to the east of Jerusalem.

[4]The mark of the beast is the sign of the Antichrist, and is mentioned in Revelation 13:15-18:

“The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

[5] Potsherd is a "shred", i.e., anything severed, as a fragment of earthenware (Job 2:8 ; Proverbs 26:23 ; Isaiah 45:9 ).

[6] Upon Shoshannim” means “set to The Lilies,” and is probably a tune title.

[7] The “book of life” is mentioned from time to time throughout Scripture.  It appears to be an image that represents a record of those whom God has declared righteous.  New Testament references to this book suggest that those whose names are listed can anticipate eternal life with God (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8).