July 20, 2020
Daybreak: Psalms 69:1 through 70:5
“Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord.” (Psalm 70:1)
In the United States, 911 is the number to call in case of emergency. Doing so connects the caller to an emergency-response system designed to quickly dispatch police, fire, or medical assistance to the scene.
The system of providing an easy-to-remember, national number for emergencies was implemented in 1967 when Congress legislated 911 as the national emergency number. The first-ever 911 call was placed at 2 p.m., on Friday, February 16, 1968 by Alabama Speaker of the House, Rankin Fite, from the Haleyville City Hall to U.S. Representative Tom Bevill at the city’s police station.
Since that day, much publicity and training has been invested in an effort to ensure that people nation-wide know how to summon help when emergencies occur. Even very young children are taught this easy, three-digit number. Adults are reminded in management seminars, emergency training sessions, and various other venues that calling 911 should be an immediate step in any crisis situation. In fact, the system has been so effective that a call to any other number in search of emergency assistance is likely to be fruitless or frustrating at best, and at worst, could result in loss of life.
As effective as the 911 system has been, our focus verse describes a far more immediate and effective way to summon help from a capable Source when an emergency arises. God is not only instantly available when we cry out to Him, but He is infinitely powerful — more than able to offer help and deliverance, no matter what we are facing.
David, the author of this psalm, was a man who had experienced many crises in his lifetime. He knew what it was to face desperate circumstances, to live in mortal danger, and to feel overwhelmed by fear. Many times he cried out to his divine “emergency-response” Provider, and never once did God fail to answer him. When he wrote this psalm, he was oppressed by enemies who apparently were assailing him with cruel persecution and mockery. Fearing that he might be overwhelmed by their attacks, he cried out once again for God to deliver him. It is notable that he never questioned God’s ability to intervene. His primary plea was that God would “make haste.”
Whether the challenges we face are physical, emotional, or spiritual, we need never hesitate to call out to God. He stands ready to come to our assistance, just as He did for David.
Psalms 69 and 70 were compiled for tabernacle worship, and were part of Book II, the subdivided portion of the Book of Psalms often referred to as the “Exodus Book.”
Traditionally ascribed to David, the authorship of Psalm 69 is verified in Romans 11:9-10, where the Apostle Paul quoted verses 22 and 23 and indicated they were spoken by David. Psalm 69 is a cry of distress which describes the psalmist’s unmerited suffering at the hand of his enemies. While David’s agony of spirit was personal, his words also had Messianic implications. There are several New Testament allusions to the psalm (compare verse 4 with John 15:25, and verse 25 with Matthew 23:38). With the exception of Psalm 22, Psalm 69 is the psalm most often quoted in the New Testament.
Like Psalm 45, this psalm is dedicated to the “chief Musician.” The phrase “upon Shoshannim” either indicates that the song was to be sung to the tune
of a song titled “Lilies” or played on a lily-shaped
instrument. There is no clear internal indicator of the precise time frame in which the psalm was written; several periods in David’s life could correspond with the sentiments expressed.
In this plaintive song, David pleaded for divine deliverance from the hands of his enemies, using the metaphor of rising waters in the first two verses to portray his desperate sense of peril. In verses 5-6, David made it clear that his concern was not only personal, but also for those who might have been impacted by his “foolishness” or lack of wisdom. His statement in verse 10 that when he wept and chastened his soul with fasting “that was to my reproach” indicates his adversaries had jeered at him for his sorrow and for donning sackcloth, the traditional symbol of deep mourning. David again employed the metaphor of water in verses 14-15 to describe his sense of being overcome by those who hated him.
In verses 21-28, one of the strongest imprecatory passages in the Word of God, David pleaded for the justice of divine punishment upon his adversaries. While verse 21 may have inferred that oppression had rendered David’s food and drink unpalatable, it was also a Messianic reference to Jesus, alluding to the vinegar mixed with gall that was offered to Christ as He hung on the Cross (Matthew 27:34).
Starting with verse 29, the psalmist’s tone moderated and he began to incorporate thankfulness and praise into his song. The final three verses are a doxology of praise and confidence in God. Most scholars deem verses 35-36 as a reference to the expansion of Jerusalem and Israel during the future Millennial Kingdom, culminating in the finality of God’s blessings and prosperity on His chosen people, the Jews.
Psalm 70 was also ascribed to David and was a replication of the last five verses of Psalm 40, with slight variations. The superscription “to bring to remembrance” may have alluded to a memorial of some specific event. Commentators agree that Psalm 40 was likely the original work, and that the verses in this psalm were separated out for liturgical usage in the Temple worship. The tone of this psalm conveys desperate urgency, as David pleaded for speedy deliverance and retribution against his enemies.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
A Closer Look
- In Psalm 69:1-3, what are some of the descriptive words and phrases David used to indicate his distress?
- According to Psalm 69:8, who rejected and persecuted David? Why would the rejection of these individuals be so hurtful?
- What actions did David take in these psalms that we could also take when facing times of crisis?
A child of God can rest in the knowledge that the personal and sovereign God is near and will unfailingly respond to his prayer.