AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH September 16, 2007
A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST AND BASE OF THE
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
PLUMBING THE DEPTHS FOR PREVAILING PRAYER
Psalm 69: Poverty, Prayer,
Messiah and Payment,
Mercy and Eternity
I The Davidic Preliminary 69:1-5
The Soul in Trouble
Here it is the overwhelming sauce of the unspiritual that urges the soul to seek
whose help is near. Not fainting, pray! (Luke 18:1ff.).
The Messianic Mission 69:6-21
The Lord our Redeemer
Insensibly, the text now moves from the plight of David - who does not hide his sinfulness, though his enemies expand it ruthlessly (69:4) - as he yearns that none who seek God should suffer shame because of him, to the Lord who had NO SIN (I Peter 2:22-25). Of Him, this is said:
“Because for Your sake, I have borne reproach:
Shame has covered My face …
Because zeal for Your house has eaten Me up,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You, have fallen on Me.”
Prayer therefore ascends (as in Hebrews 5:7, Luke 22:39ff.).
How beautifully it is put (69:13):
“But as for Me, My prayer is to You,
O LORD, in the acceptable time;
O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
Hear Me in the truth of Your salvation.”
First there is the singularity, the individual seeking the Lord, without stint, fad or failure, simply doing so in an acceptable time. It is in an acceptable time that Christ CAME (Psalm 102:13ff.) when the SET TIME had come, and He came to
“appear in His glory”,
“to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death,
to declare the name of the LORD in Zion…”
In the acceptable time, He is heard who cries to His Father at this ultimate duress (Hebrews 5:7), and as Phillips renders it, he was to “prove the meaning of obedience through all that He suffered”, that is, as humbling Himself into the form of a servant, He had the personal experience in direct internal reality, of all that obedience implies.
In Psalm 69, that time HAS COME, and is prophetically reviewed in the way the Lord often does, seeing it as if it were already occurring though it was written near to 1000 B.C.. In the multitude of His mercy, itself like a roving and teeming snow fed torrent, God hears in the truth, in the steadfast certainty of His salvation.
As there is now impact from the one component which brings the Messiah to the sort of ditch which threatened to engulf David, so mercy is needed to swallow up this sin, now to be paid for (69:20, Isaiah 53:6,10-11, Hosea 13:14) by God in person! Divine is the temperance to cover it and indeed even to recognise it (cf. Habakkuk 1:13), in justice to have its atonement accepted (cf. Romans 3:25). Mercy is shown to and through Him (Psalm 69:18), His being the vicarious bearing of the sin of those who would become His, in payment absolute, extraordinary and eternal (Hebrews 9:12, Psalm 17:15, 22:31, 69:26, 40:6-7, Isaiah 53:10-11, 51:11).
“You know My shame, My reproach, My dishonour” – 69:19. Curses come like Russian father-bombs upon the air, scheming reviling, screaming challenge. Yet curse is the shame sin deserves and this it is which the Messiah swallows up like a health drink, though its issue is death. Such is His love for His people, that joy which is set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), despising shame, that He bears it, and with it, the mockery it deserves but He does not! So does He answer for man, as many as receive Him.
But bearing it!
“Reproach has broken My heart, and I am full of heaviness.
I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none,
and for comforters, but I found none.
They also gave me gall for my food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink”
Here the depiction of the depravity of sin as it is absorbed in penal plenitude by the Messiah exhibits the impact of separation on infinite spirituality, and the emptiness of flesh to comfort the Crusade of Christ as He acts effectively with the heart that so many ignore, as they make life plain with pollution. Moreover, it shows the emphasis on detail as reality meets rebellion to subdue it with peace (Psalm 69:33) as Christ, lifted up draws to Himself those who would draw on Him (Ephesians 2:17-18, John 12:32).
“My adversaries are all before You” (Psalm 69:19). Yet He seeks their forgiveness also (Isaiah 53:12), though nothing will deliver them, but that self-same bearing of sin which if retained by them, is their utter ruin. As mercy seeks them out, so shame is their certain ruin, without Him who they slew!
The Abandonment of the Abandoned 69:19,22-25
The Wrath that Broods
As to the adversaries, as in Psalm 22, we find this. They rave like bulls, but they are known to God, who forgets nothing, except the guilt of the sin for which He atones (Micah 7, Psalm 103, Hebrews 8:12).This is a message to the Islamics, the Communists, as likewise to the seductive secularists who bash the ears, literal or metaphorical, of their prey, with bars or instruction in organic evolution and similar myths, as predicted (II Peter 3:1-5, II Timothy 4:1ff.). Either set of blows is severe. Instruction in delusion, and that of the young, this is a distillate of infamy!
God does not forget what befalls (Matthew 18:6) as He assesses those too good for mercy, and too violent for repentance! Thus we move from this, “Reproach has broken My heart, and I am full of heaviness…” as in Psalm 22, to the results – the aweful results as detailed in vv. 22-28. . It is precisely as in John 3:15-19, as it moves on to 3:36.
God did not come as Christ in order to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. His world-wide purpose is statedly NOT to condemn. Yet if He is rejected, despite His love (as in Colossians 1:19ff.) which would have all to be reconciled to Him, yes in heaven and on earth, both! what then ? If mercy is despised, then everlasting shame is the lot of the ungodly who having ONE way out, insist on staying in, like those who stayed in Jerusalem when it was overthrown by Babylon, despite the warning of the prophet. Lamentations showed the scene.
As to each one of these, as in John 3:36, he “shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” So in Psalm 69:22-38, the lot of the man of the family of dis-faith is to be found, their dwelling place desolate, theirs such a lot, for had these not persecuted even the One whom as Saviour sin had stricken (Isaiah 53:4-6), the sacrificial devotee, deeming Him stricken by God! Wrong! was their unrighteous declaration concerning the Righteous One!
What then of those who would wrong even the righting of evil by goodness, the exclusion of sin by bearing it, the atonement through separation! They are to be “blotted out of the book of the living, and not … written with the righteous.” The disease of dis-faith is a deadly dynamic which blinds the eye, seizes the heart, obscures the mind, one only God can heal, who forces none. Small wonder Christ KEPT ON CRYING, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” The Greek tense in this verb is imperfect, signifying this continuity, the more emphasizing the perfection of His concern!
The Deliverance from the Redeemer 69:29ff.
The Hearts that Live Forever
Now we pass to the result for David of this involvement in the foreseen Messiah. His mercy was available to one then, as it is to one now; for then it was like goods bought on account, but now they are paid for in the ransom of Christ (Matthew 29:20). Then already the payment was passed in the foreknowledge of God, in whom all His own for all time were of course known (Romans 8:29ff., Ephesians 1:4). "Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high," (Psalm 69:29, 22:26-31).
The humble will see this, says the Lord through the mouth of David, and be glad (Psalm 69:32).
What says Psalm 22 at this juncture in this multi-exposure of the redemption wrought through the Saviour ? This:
"All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations shall worship before You ...
A seed shall serve Him, it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
How is this so ? It is simple. Christ had no children of His own (Isaiah 53:8), so those rescued by His redemption are given a new life, as by a new seed, the seed of salvation, and it is THESE, THIS group who will be accounted to the Lord for a generation, for His prodigious family. What then ?
“And you who seek God, your hearts shall live”
(Psalm 69:32) or as Psalm 22:26 puts it,
“They shall praise the Lord who seek Him: your heart will live forever.”
Thus the Lord “hears the poor, and does not despise His prisoners” (Psalm 69:33), as in Psalm 102:20 and Isaiah 61:1-3. David is heard, for he was abiding where sin has an exit and grace a subsidy to provide!
Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT, said Christ, and this poverty, born of being redeemed by One who bore such shame and anguish for redemption, brings one near to the Lord who will ‘save Zion’ (69:35). This means not only the city as He has done first through Cyrus after Babylon, and more recently in its startling restoration to Israel in the New Testament era, as foretold in Luke 21:24, Revelation 11:1ff.. Of this, He will do much more, when the outpouring of His Spirit on the embattled Jerusalem at last comes (Zechariah 12:10), and they will "look on Me whom they pierced" as "the Spirit of grace and supplication" is poured out on them. ‘Zion’ also covers the case of the rest.
Who are these ? Firstly, it is His Church, against which the gates, the counsels of hell will not prevail (Matthew 16). Certainly it will be hugely divided by fraud and contemptible construction of false christs, and many will be the false teachers in what claims wrongly to be it (as in II Peter 2, Matthew 24), illustrated by Bishop Spong’s irrelevant, plagiarizing rehash of Christ. Yet the living body of Christ will remain testifying to truth, as we do, even on the Web also to many nations, to this day, for though we be small, yet by estimate, more than a million chapters have been downloaded.
By such means, many will thus be saved, refreshed, restored, for the word of the Lord is NOT returning to Him void (Isaiah 55:9-11): through the multitudes who testify by the power of the Spirit, He acts and will act, convicting, convincing, converting; and many more through them.
Finally, Zion is every one who loves the Lord, and His word which is HIS! and inseparable from Him! Every stranger cast out, in prison, in trouble, falsely dealt with, frankly slandered, put aside because of faithfulness to the word of God, each one will be precious and none of His own lost. Some like Elijah have lonely vigils; but their hearts seek Him, and they will live. Zion is the centre of faith in Christ, and its inhabitants are His. The term as in many cases, has applications and extensions divulging more as the generic principles of the Bible are applied (cf. Revelation 21:9ff.).
Therefore be faithful, whatever anyone else does, and accept nothing which savours of contempt for His word, and LIVE BY IT! (Psalm 15:7). His truth is like nectar, resolving issues, informing ignorance, advising in depth, clearing mysteries, making profundity clear and tenderness triumphant, conferring the treasures of His promises, living and as light that anoints the bloom of fruit, declaring beauty. Moreover, His mercy to His 'seed' is trustworthy; and in that mercy, the Christian abides (II Timothy 1:9-10) with depth and certainty (I Thessalonians 5:9-10). Are we not then stirred to act in prayer as in that superb, spiritual prayer of Psalm 69:13, led of the Lord’s own example!
His word is truth, and truth responds to truth (John 8:47). Abide in Him and His words in you, and so does He bear you and through you (John 15:7); and so does He hear you readily, and so do we hear Him! With the sun of righteousness shining upon you, how fruitful you can be (Malachi 4:2).
Praise the Lord.