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October 10, 2017

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 10 September 2017

Have you ever been wrongly accused, or simply despised for no apparent reason? Living according to righteousness in a fallen world certainly leads to unjust suffering, which can be a painful experience. “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). God’s people are told, “do not love the world nor the things in the world” (v. 15) because the present world system is not welcoming to those who live by God’s grace.

Psalm 69 is one of the most frequently referenced psalms in the New Testament for the apostles repeatedly applied it to Christ Jesus. As the psalmist suffered for the sake of righteousness, he foreshadowed the coming of Jesus Christ, who was despised and rejected by his own people. The psalm is a cry of distress and imprecation upon adversaries; it is also a model for all God’s people who suffer maltreatment and opposition for seeking to live the revealed will of God. The psalmist was wronged because he was zealous for God, and therefore pleaded with the Lord for deliverance from the distressing circumstances.

At various times, believers will need encouragement when suffering opposition for boldly and consistently living their faith in the midst of a fallen world. Psalm 69 begins with a plea, “Save me, O God” (v. 1). Once he confessed the seriousness of the crisis (vv. 2-4), the psalmist searched his own heart for anything he needed to change (vv. 5-6). He then recognized “for Your sake I have borne reproach” (v. 7), meaning he was suffering for the cause of righteousness (vv. 7-12; cf. Matt 5:10-12).

In the midst of the crisis, the psalmist declared, “my prayer is to You, O Lord” (Ps 69:13). The appeal was based upon the greatness of God’s lovingkindness, not the psalmist’s own merit. Repeatedly the psalmist appealed to the goodness of God’s lovingkindness and the greatness of the Lord’s compassion (vv. 13-18). “Answer me” was the plea (v. 16) for God alone was the psalmist’s hope.

Those who conspired against the psalmist broke his heart, leaving him feeling helpless (vv. 19-21). The embittered betrayal is symbolized by gall for food and vinegar for drink (v. 21), indicating the greatness of the harm inflicted. Motivated by righteous indignation, the psalmist prayed for God’s justice (vv. 22-28). The psalmist pleaded in such a manner that he recognized vengeance belongs to God (Deut 32:35; Rom 12:19).

Psalm 69 concludes with celebration, even in the midst of personal affliction and pain (v. 29). The psalmist knew that God would protect him. Knowing the Lord can be trusted allows one not to focus upon the pain of being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, but to “praise the name of God with song” (v. 30). Viewing life beyond mere circumstances (vv. 29-33), God’s people can look to heaven – beyond the troubling conditions – knowing “the Lord hears” those in need (v. 33). The psalmist called upon all “heaven and earth” (v. 34) to praise God for the salvation of his people (vv. 34-36).

Christ Jesus is the faultless personification of righteousness who was persecuted for accomplishing God’s will. Similarly, believers today are told, “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). When you are falsely accused and people speak lies against you, be encouraged that you are in good company for that is what occurred to the Lord Jesus and to the psalmist. The heritage of God’s servants is such that “no weapon formed against you will prosper” (Isa 54:17).

Interim Bible Study

(for the month of October) is next Tuesday, 17 October
Room 123 CAP, Georgia Capitol, @ 12 Noon