Summary: Christ's words of prayer are reflected in Psalm 69.
March 11, 2011 Psalm 69
There can be a danger in interpreting the Scriptures to try and find a hidden meaning under every word. There are some who claim that by counting the Hebrew letters that by using a special code it spells out English words and warnings; and by buying their book you too can have the code! It leads to all sorts of fanciful and wild interpretations that lead people to do some pretty crazy and foolish things.
The Scriptures weren’t written that way. There are some things that are more difficult to understand than others and need to be explained. This is supposed to be done by using other clear Scriptural references to the visions to explain what God’s Word says. But the overall message is meant to be quite simple and straight forward; written in normal language that doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out and interpret. When someone comes up with some seemingly strange explanation that doesn’t fit with any other word of Scriptures, you know that it’s wrong.
The Psalms contain language that has simple language and yet it also does take some interpreting; explanations which are found in other Scriptures. What we see in the Psalms of David is that he was not always only talking about HIMSELF. Some of them are actually referring specifically to Christ, while some others are referring to both David and the Christ. Psalm 22 is one of those instances where it quotes the exact words of Christ from the cross; referring specifically and only to Christ.
This is one of those Psalms that comes under the debate, “Who is David talking about?” The Lutheran Study Bible recently put out by the Missouri Synod takes this Psalm to be a psalm of David about David, with verses that are quoted in the New Testament and applied to Christ. Yet other commentators say that this Psalm reflects the actual words of Christ; referring to His work of redemption and reflecting His emotions and thoughts in prayer. I am going to look at it from this perspective and see how it shows -
The Restoration of Christ
I. Was not welcomed by humanity
In vs. 4 the Psalm says, “I am forced to restore what I did not steal.” Humanity stole from the Tree that God told us not to take from. In trying to take a knowledge that didn’t belong to them, the devil also stole away their own righteousness and holiness. The devil in fact stole us away from God and became our spiritual slave master. Adam and Eve also stole away from their children and themselves the ability to see and believe that God is good and gracious.
If we look at this from a Jesus perspective, you can see that He was called on to restore perfection and holiness to a world of sinful humans. He also came to restore our relationship with Himself. The one argument could be that Jesus wasn’t “forced” to do it. He volunteered for it. Yet one could say that it was His own justice and love voluntarily “forced” Him to do something that nobody would volunteer for otherwise. It was not as if Jesus enjoyed being beaten, whipped and crucified.
The prayer of Psalm 69 reflects the difficulties of the Messiah that He had while doing what He didn’t have to do.
I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother’s sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards. (Psalm 69:7-12)
Imagine if your child wet his bed and you went in his room to take his sheets off and clean up his mess so he would have a clean bed to sleep in. While you were proceeding to do so he kicked you in the rear end and slapped you in the head. He also then said, “What are you doing? I don’t need my bed cleaned! I like sleeping in urine. You want to clean it up? Well then, get going slave woman. Hurry up.” It wouldn’t take long for you to get angry at him and tell him to clean up his own mess.
Isn’t this a picture of what humanity did to Christ? When Jesus cleaned out the temple, the leaders of the Jews only became angry with Him and questioned His authority. They ridiculed Him for His timing when He healed the sick and questioned His authority when He forgave the sinners and ate with them. Not being convinced that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus’ own brothers taunted Him to go to Jerusalem before His time to reveal his miracles. (John 7) When Jesus finally got to the cross, the spiritual leaders of Jerusalem only made fun of Him and taunted Him to come down. When He was thirsty they gave Him a sour tasting gall, just as the Psalm predicted. If anything, they should have been thanking Him and making His journey there as easy as possible. They should have been thanking Him from the cross instead of mocking Him.