So hey, remember that King David guy and the ‘man after God’s own heart’ moniker? Well, here is that guy going on a little enemy rant…
22 May the table set before them become a snare;
may it become retribution and a trap.
23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.
24 Pour out your wrath on them;
let your fierce anger overtake them.
25 May their place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute those you wound
and talk about the pain of those you hurt.
27 Charge them with crime upon crime;
do not let them share in your salvation.
28 May they be blotted out of the book of life
and not be listed with the righteous.
Just figured that was a great place to jump into Psalm 69. And an important reminder that the Bible is made up of a whole lot of different types of writing and how important it is to know and understand the type you are dealing with. If, for example, we approach the bible as purely a teaching manual [as some do] then it would look like a good thing to be praying for peoples’ names to be ‘blotted out of the book of life’ . However, that kinda seems to contradict 2 Peter 3 which says, ‘ 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’
So i’m not sure this is a biblical teaching. But it is an honest glimpse into some guy’s heart. A good guy. A guy who was known for being after the things God was after. And yet we see him here, clearly a little broken, a little messed up by his enemies. Requesting something he probably knows God would not be after.
i think sometimes that many christians have been conditioned to avoid the kind of real that David exhibits here so freely and passionately. And so on a Sunday morning, if you take a minute and look around at a typical church service, for the most part you will see a lot of smiling faces. No evidence of the imminent breakup of a marriage, or the verbal abuse that is going on behind closed doors. No idea that that mom is near to breaking point as her relationship with her daughter has met a new and ugly low. No clue that the girl sitting in front of you is wearing long sleeves to hide the fact that last night she cut her arms just so she could feel some sense of power and control in her own life. Or the many men [and some women] caught up in watching pornography. And more.
i do a preach sometimes when before worship singing time happens i get everyone to write down the ‘everything that hinders and sin that so easily entangles’ that we see spoken of in Hebrews 12:
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’
Then, after the singing time, i read out all the pieces of paper we have gathered and it is always incredible how deeply some people respond. As a church body we get some sense of some of the pain and shame and struggle that is going on with our family. And after the preach i give an invitation for people to come forward and be prayed for and with.
A most powerful part of that service is often just letting people know that it is okay and maybe even a good thing to be real. To let it all out. To be honest [even if anonymously on a piece of paper which is at least a good step forward from holding it to yourself] But also just hearing and really getting that other people are struggling with the same crap you are. And giving a space to voice it. We need more occasions like David took in Psalm 69 to just be open and honest and raw and rough and real. Even if some of the sentiments we express are not godly ones. That can help create a space for God to get involved in changing them.
There is so much more in this Psalm, but i am not going to get to it all – read it and meditate on it and maybe this one requires a few days of reading and being still and taking it all in.
But two last things which jump out at me. Firstly David’s attitude and focus as displayed here:
Lord, the Lord Almighty,
may those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me.
The desire that he will not be a stumbling block to those around him.
And in verse 9 we read:
for zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.
Does that describe you? And me? Does the zeal for God’s house consume you? And do you stand and take a hit when people speak against God?
So much to consider.