Our Distress and God's Resources

Gordon VanWylen

READ : Psalm 69:1-21

This psalm, like several others, can be read from three perspectives. We can read it as an account of a deeply troubled time in David’s life, when he experienced slander, betrayal and rejection, and in response poured out his emotions and thoughts to God. David was not only a great king and leader, but a vulnerable person, with discerning moral sensitivity and a keen sense of justice.

We can read this psalm as referring to the sufferings that Jesus endured as he approached the cross, particularly the scorn, disgrace and shame (v. 19). This seems appropriate, for in the New Testament this is the most frequently quoted psalm in reference to Jesus. In Handel’s Messiah the heart-rending words of verse 20 follow the crucifixion narrative. This psalm gives insights into the sufferings of Jesus that enrich the gospel readings.

The third way to read this psalm is as an expression of our thoughts and emotions when we have felt ridiculed, neglected or rejected. When we do so we must follow both David and our Lord in directing our thoughts and prayers to God. Verse 6 touches an important issue; our actions must never cause others, particularly fellow Christians, to be disgraced because of us. What magnificent resources we have in the Psalms!


Lord, life is not always easy. I thank you that you know our situation, and that your resources are adequate. Amen.