You, God, know my folly;
my guilt is not hidden from you.
Psalm 69:5 (NIV)
A few months ago I discussed prophetic writing in my Wayfarer Weekend podcast The Beginner’s Guide to the Great Story Part 7. Two of the things discussed in that podcast was that the prophetic exists throughout the Great Story, not just in the writings of the prophets themselves and that the prophetic (like all metaphor) can be layered with meaning.
Today’s chapter, Psalm 69, is a great example.
This song of David is quoted more than any other psalm in the New Testament with the exception of Psalm 22. The followers of Jesus saw prophetic images of Jesus in David’s lament:
“Zeal for your house consumes me” foreshadows Jesus clearing the temple of the moneychangers and religious racketeers.
“I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children,” foreshadows Jesus whose family thought He was crazy and sought to have him committed.
Jesus’ suffering, trials, and crucifixion are foreshadowed in verses 19-21:
You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed;
all my enemies are before you.
Scorn has broken my heart
and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
for comforters, but I found none.
They put gall in my food
and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
“I am forced to restore, what I did not steal,” prophetically reveals Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed to restore the relational chasm that sin created between God and humanity.
What’s fascinating to me is that this same song was written by David at a time when the consequences of his own faults and sins were at the root of his suffering. David structured the song as if it were two halves. Remember that the “center” refrain in an ancient Hebrew song reveals the theme, the “one thing,” that the song writers is getting at. There are two of them:
You, God, know my folly;
my guilt is not hidden from you. (verse 5)
But as for me, afflicted and in pain—
may your salvation, God, protect me. (verse 29)
The song was all about David’s sinfulness. David even confesses in the lyric that his suffering, the reason his enemies are piling on, are the consequences of his own sinful mistakes. David sees his wounds, his weakness, and his suffering as divine retribution for his own mistakes:
For [my enemies] persecute those you wound,
and talk about the pain of those you hurt. (verse 26)
So, what David wrote as a lament of confession for his own sins, mistakes, and their painful consequences was, at the very same time, a prophetic vision of Jesus who would come and suffer on a cross to forgive and redeem those sins and mistakes. Talk about beautiful.
In the quiet this morning I couldn’t help but think back on the darkest moments of my own life journey when my sins and mistakes wreaked havoc on my life and wounded those I love. I know that feeling. I totally identify with that. I see my own shit in David’s shit. Just like my post a few days ago, I read today’s chapter and my spirit says: “THAT story is my story.”
At the same time, it’s not the WHOLE of my story because Jesus has forgiven, redeemed, and restored my life. My story doesn’t end in the painful consequences of my own mistakes. Because of what Jesus did for me I experienced His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His love. He pulled me out of the pit I put myself in. He led me out of the valley of the shadow of death.
One song is layered with meaning and captures both spiritual realities. My mistakes, and Jesus work to redeem those mistakes.
In the stillness, I hear the voice of Corrie Ten Boom on the whispering wind: “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”