As is true with several of the psalms, Psalm 69 begins with despair and desperation and ends with hope and praise. “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it” (vv. 1-4) concludes with “let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them. For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah that they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it and those who love His name shall dwell in it” (vv. 34-36).
David’s experience of suffering and woe are akin to the Messiah’s. He is hated without cause (v. 4), alienated from his earthly family because of his zeal for God’s house (vv. 8-9), reproached (v. 9), and given gall and vinegar for a diet (v. 21).
Like Paul (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10), David is sure that God’s righteous judgment will repay with tribulation those who trouble him. Their table will become a snare before them; their well-being will be a trap (v. 22). Their eyes will be darkened so they cannot see; their loins will shake continually (v. 23). Jehovah’s indignation will be poured out on them; His wrathful anger will take hold of them (v. 24). Their dwelling place will be desolate; no one will live in their tents (v. 25). They will be blotted out of the book of the living; their names will not be found in the book of life with the righteous (v. 28). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Though poor and sorrowful, David is confident that better days are ahead (v. 29). Therefore, he decides: “I will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify Him with thanksgiving…For the Lord hears the poor and does not despise His prisoners” (vv. 30, 33).
The certainty of God’s just punishment of the wicked and His merciful blessing of the righteous transforms despair into hope. It did in David’s day.
It still does today.