REFLECTIONS ON PSALM 69
Bible Background: Psalm 69 fits in the category of a “personal lament” psalm, as when a troubled individual cries out to God for help. (The other kind of lament psalm is the “communal lament”, where the whole community or nation cries out.) Lament psalms help give words to our deepest hurts and longings. They may have very painful and angry thoughts in them. They often end on a more upbeat note, calling on people to praise and trust God. Psalm 69 has similarities to Psalm 22, a psalm associated with the crucifixion of Jesus.
Digging Deeper: 1. Name some feelings the writer might be feeling as s/he cries out “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck”. Overwhelmed? Persecuted? Swamped? Falsely accused? Shamed? Which can you relate to?
2. The Bible’s culture was an “honor/shame” culture, as many middle-eastern cultures (and the Japanese culture) still are. This writer is concerned for his community, that those who seek God may not be dishonored because of his life or situation (v.6). In our culture, we know almost “no shame”. Can you think of those who care more about the Christian community or the nation or the human race more than they care about their own reputation?
3. Verse 13 expresses the writer’s trust in God’s faithfulness. How do you/would you express your trust in God to help you or to deliver you from trouble?
4. We didn’t read the whole psalm today. Verses 22-28 express the desire that God gives these ‘enemies’ everything they have coming. That may not sound faithful or loving. But note that the writer trusts God to judge and deal with these enemies, whoever they are.
5. Verses 30 + 34 show that movement from lament >> to praise of God. When is a time when you’ve gone from feeling down or threatened, to feeling like a load has been lifted off you, making it possible for you to praise and thank God?
6. The psalms were meant to be sung. What song or hymn helps you sing out your cries to God? #772 in the blue book would be a good song to keep in your head and heart: O Lord, hear my prayer! O Lord, hear my prayer! When I call, answer me. O Lord, hear my prayer! O Lord, hear my prayer! Come and listen to me!
A quote on Psalm 69: “Sometimes closeness to God means alienation from others.”