1 (To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David.)
Save me, O Elohim; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
...the personal experiences of the Lord in the days of his flesh.
We have not much insight into this in what is called the Gospel narratives; these deal more particularly with the external relations of the Lord. We see him traversing the districts of Galilee and Judaea, followed by crowds of people, speaking to them the Word of God, and working marvels which attracted their attention. Very occasionally we get a glimpse of the inner workings of his mind.
We have the declaration that he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We see him frequently retire to mountain solitudes to pray. This is no doubt sufficient to tell us that in the days of his flesh the Lord, like ourselves, felt the cloud and the heaviness and the bitterness appertaining to this body of sin, and the circumstances to which it stands related in this present evil world.
We naturally desire, however, more explicit revelations of the mental experience of Jesus -- a closer view of the actual personal thoughts and feelings of that marvellous personage who was begotten of the Holy Spirit, born at Bethlehem, brought up in subjection to his parents at Nazareth, trained to manual occupation at a carpenter's bench, anointed with the visible descending of dovelikeSpirit and manifested to Israel as the great power of God in their midst.
...We have to be thankful for a portion of the Word which gives us a living picture the very reverse of all this. I refer to the Psalms to which Jesus made allusion as "concerning" him. Here the sufferings of Christ are vividly manifest, as well as the glory that should follow. Those sufferings are not to be confined to the closing scene of his tribulation: the dreadful moment when he was in the hands of a scornful and brutal soldiery, and a spectacle on the cross to the jeering rabble. This was but the climax of his sorrows.
"Save me, 0 my God." Jesus had to be saved. Here be prays that he may be so; and as Paul says (Heb. 5:7), he was heard in that he feared, when with strong crying and tears he made supplication to Him who was able to save him from death. ...
"The waters are come in unto my soul."
This shows the keenness with which his afflictions were felt: they went home -- they pierced his soul -- they overwhelmed him with sorrow.
"I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried : mine eyes fail while I wait for my God."
Jesus "waited." He had his season of what we are now going through, and his "waiting" is here shown to have been of that dreary troublous, trying character that we find it to be.
If we picture him in the aspect of a continual ecstasy or even a continual calm we make a mistake. He was a "man of sorrows," and part of his sorrow was this "waiting for God." We are tasting the affliction of this attitude. Our whole life is an act of waiting for God, waiting for the time promised, looking for, desiring, and living for the appointed day of the baring of His holy arm.*
2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
None of us can ever be in a worse position than language like this describes. If such was the experience of David, and of Christ whom David represented, we may well reconcile ourselves to any little trouble that may come to us. We all have experience in that line more or less, if we are God's children. There are those no doubt who live in pleasure; Paul spoke of sisters who did that, and who were "dead while they lived."
No one who is a true friend of God can find consolation in an evil world like the one in which we dwell. A true friend of God necessarily feels a stranger and a pilgrim, trying to bear desert life, yet feeling it to be an affair of patience and endurance.
In this condition it is natural for us to desire comfort. It is according to the will of God that the heirs of salvation should be somewhat disconsolate now. It is almost a necessary condition of the case. We could not imagine God offering His comforting salvation to those who felt in no need of it, and were callous and indifferent on the subject. This susceptibility to distress is one of the ingredients of the process by which God is working out everlasting joy.
The joy and comfort is placed as a great light at the end of the journey. While we are on the road; we see it afar off. Mortal faculty may fail in looking at it sometimes; our eyes grow dim with dust and tears. Therefore we need to press home, as closely as we can, the comfort of the Scriptures, for that is a present comfort, and a very real one if we lay ourselves open to receive it.
What comfort is there in them? Of what does the comfort consist? First of all, it consists of the tokens they exhibit of their absolute and extraordinary truth. Without truth there could be no comfort, for what comfort would there be in untruthful or doubtful words, however beautiful?
The tokens are incessant and various, as we read from day to day.
Bro Roberts - Trouble now, power soon
3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my Elohim.
4 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.
Through the stake - life was restored...
- Though the cause of our misfortune was not His doing ...Bro PM Hart
This is an illustration of Christ's own precept:
"If a man sue thee at the law and take away thy cloak, let him have thy coat also."
Doubtless, if we could know the history of Christ"s private life at Nazareth, we would find many instances answering to these words of the Psalm.
When accused by neighbours of having taken from others things that actually belonged to himself, he would give place unto wrath, and restore that he took not away, comporting himself with a meekness for which a man in our day would be considered a fool. A wider application is found in the fact that he restored friendship and life while we were enemies in our minds, alienated by wicked works; but the lesson of meekness is the same.*
5 O Elohim, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.
The application of this to Christ is only intelligible on the principle that he partook of the common nature of our uncleanness -- flesh of Adamic stock, in which, as Paul says, there dwelleth no good thing; a nature the burdensomeness of which arises from its native tendencies to foolishness and sin.
This burden is felt in proportion as higher things are appreciated. Christ knew, as no man can know, the gloriousness and spotlessness and spontaneous holiness of the Spirit nature. The indwelling of the Father by the Spirit would make him sensible of this.
Hence he could feel the more keenly the earthward tendencies of the earthy nature -- the tendencies to foolishness and sin, which are the characteristics of sinful flesh, not that the tendency was stronger in him than in others, but that his spiritual affinities and perceptions were higher, and that, therefore, he would be more conscious of the burden which all the saints of God feel, more or less, causing them to exclaim, "O wretched man that I am!"
True, Christ sustained the burden; he carried the load without stumbling. He kept the body under; he held it in subjection to the will of the Father in all things, and thus, by obedience, obtained the approbation of the Father, who was in him.
Still, the burden was there; and his consciousness of it finds expression in the words under consideration. Paul's consolation must be ours when we are grieved by a similar cleaving of the soul to the dust:
"It is no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me."
The new man delights in the law of God after the inward man; the flounderings of a sluggish inefficient nature belong to the list of innocent calamities from which we shall be delivered in the day when beauty shall be exchanged for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.*
6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Adonai Yahweh hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O Elohim of Israel.
This is specially applicable to David and Jesus. Calamities befel them; and they were concerned lest those who were faithful in Israel should be disturbed in their trust in God on account of these calamities.
When a man believed to be the loved of God is apparently forsaken, the weak of the flock are liable to stagger. In the case of David, his banishment from the presence of Saul, and his life as an outcast on the mountains; in the case of Jesus, his delivery into the hands of evil men, gave reasonable ground of anxiety to those who were looking to them with confidence, and might be shaken in God on account of their adversities.
That this result might be averted -- that God, while smiting the shepherd, might turn His hand upon the little ones, is the object of this petition. The lesson of it is, that we ought never to allow confidence in God to be moved by the most untoward occurrence -- even the apparent desertion of a righteous man, but hold fast to the persuasion which the end will justify at last -- that God is just, and will bring His purposes to pass, sometimes even by the very things which appear to frustrate them.*
A man of sorrows acquainted with grief
(both David and his Lord)
7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
Reproach is a bitter thing to bear, but when suffered for the name of Christ, it has promise of great sweetness for the day that is even now at the door. *
8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.
The application of this to Jesus is obvious: its application to his brethren will become manifest to everyone who acts a faithful part.
The effect of the truth, when accepted and appreciated in its breadth and fulness (as involving that complete change of principle, affection, and aim which is signified by the creation of the new man within), is to separate a man from his kindred and friends in the flesh.
There is an end to the union which formerly united him to them. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed; and when disagreement turns upon so large and vital a question as duty towards God and the future objects to be aimed at in the present life, alienation is inevitable, if the truth is held with any earnestness. When it is not held with earnestness, its effects are not worth considering one way or other, for they will be of no value to the professor. *
9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
This expresses no mild degree of earnestness. To be eaten up is to be absorbed, engrossed, taken up very much. This was Christ's mental relation to the things of the Father, and it is the standard at which we must aim, reaching which the other result will come.
10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
Saints do not mope on principle, or mope at all in the true sense of that term. They share the Master's sadness at the triumph of respectable ungodliness -- the disregard of all divine things.
Their hearts are weighed down by the mighty prevalence of wrong among men -- the evils that are more extensive, penetrating, and common than the common intellect realizes. But their sorrow hath hope. It springs from a capacity to appreciate joyful things. It has its root in the knowledge of God, the love of His ways, the desire to see good among men on the foundation of His glory. To such Jesus says,
"Blessed are ye that mourn, for ye shall be comforted. Blessed are ye that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for ye shall be filled." *
11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.
12 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.
13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Yahweh, in an acceptable time: O Elohim, 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.
16 Hear me, O Yahweh; 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.
18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
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.
21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
Christ was not only a sufferer, but the appointed avenger... even when he returns to the winepress of Yahweh's anger... meekness and righteousness shall not always be under the heel of the proud. *
22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.
24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
25 Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.
27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.
28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"
The appeal of the Master, given from the Stake on Golgotha's hill, was a plea for those onlookers who knew not the extent of their action, when they were led by the guilty leaders to secure his crucifixion.
Many of them had only recently proclaimed the coming of the King at the time of Passover, mouthing Psalm 118:26,
"Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Yahweh; Hosanna in the highest..." (Mat. 21:9),
drawing the ire of the chief priests and scribes (v. 15). Yet, such is the fickleness of human nature, when the emotions of the flesh are energised, that a few days later, the people of Jerusalem shouted:
"Crucify him... crucify him!" (Mk. 15:12-13).
They were caught up in the fervour of Jewish nationalism, excited by their leaders. However, the spirit of the Psalmist in his Passover Psalm (69:22-28) gives the Spirit's reaction to the wickedness of Jewry.
It reveals the divine declaration of what was due to the enemies of Yahshua. It would be immoral, unjust and dishonouring to Yahweh that such evil hearts should flourish, and in these verses the Psalmist could predict the coming punishment which subsequently enveloped the nation in the Roman onslaught of ad70.
This emphasised the righteousness of Yahweh in which the Master identified himself. In fact he prophesied of this event in his lament over Jerusalem (Mat. 23:37-38). Notwithstanding the overriding judgment uttered by the Master recorded in Matthew 23 against the leaders of Judea, his voice from the Stake was an appeal for those individuals who had been led astray by the Scribes and Pharisees, but who might subsequently have responded to his gospel message.
The Lord's words became a prophecy, when many "devout men out of every nation under heaven" heard the preaching of the apostles and over eight thousand accepted the Truth (Acts 2:40-42; 4:4).
We like to think that a young man, Saul of Tarsus, a member of the Pharisees (Acts 23:6; Php. 3:5) was in Jerusalem for the Passover, as would have been appropriate, and who noticed the sign over the Stake: "This is Jesus of Nazareth..." Later, when on the road to Damascus, an unusual light appeared and a voice from heaven expressed the same words, so that this man became convinced of the reality of the Messiah and responded in true faith and belief, becoming the renowned "Apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:13).
Then the words uttered by the Master upon the Stake found a remarkable and wonderful fulfilment in the sterling life of the Apostle Paul - GEM
29 But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O Elohim, set me up on high.
30 I will praise the name of Elohim with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This also shall please Yahweh better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek Elohim.
33 For Yahweh heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.
34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.
35 For Elohim will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.