Psalm 69 – Pastor Paul Linzmeier
“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.”
Last Sunday we celebrated our annual baptism service. I remember a conversation I had with an elder of the church on the day of my baptism before the service started. He was overjoyed knowing the opportunity I would soon have to publicly tell of the saving work of Jesus and that many prayers had been answered over the salvation of my soul. I was terrified about the public speaking portion but at the same time very ready to publicly declare Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Then he paused and looked at me with great seriousness and said something to the effect of, “Now please listen closely to me Paul. Following Jesus brings with it a target from the enemy and all who oppose God and the testimony of His Son Jesus Christ. In a few moments you will testify to a crowd that will celebrate with you but you will also be called to testify of Christ to those who will hate you and want to hurt you or end your life. Do you understand what it means to follow Jesus?” I gulped kind of nervously. I knew his words were true and had known that Jesus said the world would hate those who are His disciples. This elder spoke to me like a father to his son, reminding about the responsibility of carrying the name of Jesus. That moment really caused me to think soberly about what I was about to do. I appreciated that he approached me beforehand, and it caused me to be more resolved to testify of Jesus that day and every day after, no matter what may come. For it was God who saved me, and I was not following Him for an easy life but following Him because I, a depraved sinner, have been lovingly shown mercy by God, having received the forgiveness of my sin and the sure promise of eternal life.
Some people may want to be baptized because it makes family and church members really happy for them. Others may want to get baptized because they feel it makes them clean or will bring God’s favor in their life. Even some may want to get baptized because they just want to be saved and go to heaven, and the list goes on. However, water baptism is meant to be an outward public testimony that you trust in and fully identify with Christ in His death for your sin and resurrection to new life. With this, and each day after believers identify with the One the world hates and put to death! Jesus prepares His disciples for this in John 16:33. Jesus said, “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation, but take heart I have overcome the world.” In many places around the world if the rulers or tribal leaders or even your own family members find out you were baptized in the name of Jesus identifying with Him, they would be after your very life.
King David faced this kind of attack as he describes throughout this Psalm. In his kingship David identified with the God of Israel and the word of His testimony through the Law. Because of that identity, many times David’s life was sought after. He faced false accusations, cursing, mocking, and hatred without cause, so much that he would cry out, “Save me O God!” Now David was not sinless, and he knew he deserved God’s judgment, but God, faithful to his promises and rich in mercy, made a covenant with David, and he trusted in the Lord’s forgiveness and in the steadfast love and saving faithfulness of the God of Israel. So in this prayer his cry is for God to deliver him from his enemies. David was a type, pointing to our Savior Jesus, the perfect and righteous King, sinless, the one the world and His own people rejected and scorned and put to death. Yet this was God’s eternal plan and Jesus willingly went to the cross to satisfy the payment for sin for those who would trust Him. And that payment was proven perfect and complete in His resurrection, conquering sin and death, so the believer can now say, “Oh death where is your sting!”
So be reminded dear Christian, the world, enemy, and flesh will accuse, attack, and try to weary you until your throat is parched in your cry (vs 3). But let not your hope be shaken. In Christ no longer are you under judgment but only discipline, abundant mercy, and saving faithfulness. For those of you recently baptized, we rejoice with you for the testimony of God’s saving work in you. All glory to Christ! Now as we continue to walk and follow Jesus, let us with sober minds know what that confession brings, and when pressed and our life sought after, let us take heart and persevere in the faith with all endurance, for so did the world hate and persecute the prophets and the Lord. Let us not shrink back in this testimony but boldly proclaim Jesus is Lord by sharing of His saving work in our lives through the Gospel, loving even those who hate us, with a prayer on our lips that they too may receive mercy as we have.
As this psalm concludes, may we praise the name of Jesus with a song and magnify Him with thanksgiving. For He will save His people and bring those who love His name to dwell securely in His eternal kingdom.
Looking to Jesus with you,