Theme: Jesus Our Example
In this week’s lessons we are given a vivid picture of Christ’s sufferings.
Scripture: Psalm 69:1-18
Verses 6-12, which we studied yesterday, contained the first renewal of the psalmist’s lament. In a similar way, verses 13-18 are a first renewal of the psalmist’s plea for help. This stanza renews the imagery of the first verses, referring once again to “the mire” and the danger of sinking in it (v. 14), “deep waters” (v. 14) and the “flood” (v. 15). One new image is a “pit” which was likely to “close its mouth over” the psalmist (v. 15). This refers to a cistern which would normally have water at the bottom, the top of which would be closed with a stone. The idea of a cistern closing its mouth over the psalmist means something like being buried alive.
The new idea in this stanza is David’s description of himself as God’s “servant” in verse 17. This makes us think at once of the great “servant songs” found in Isaiah 42, 49, 50 and 53, which point to Jesus as God’s unique servant. He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
The point of this is that Jesus is to be an example for us, that we might behave as he did. We have been told by Jesus that if we seek to please God, we will be hated by the world, because we are not of the world. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you…. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:19, 20). Nevertheless, although we may bear abuse for his sake—and we certainly will if we are living close to him and are bearing a genuine witness for him and for righteousness—we are to bear persecutions patiently without trying to retaliate, that we might please God.
This is an enormous privilege and a daunting challenge. If it were not for the power of Jesus Christ within, we would not respond to either, because we would put ourselves first, as the world does, and avoid the insults. To live as Christ, we must grow in his power by close fellowship with him.
Describe the psalmist’s image of a pit.
What is the point of Jesus being called a servant?
If we are like Christ, how will the world treat us?
What gives us the strength to face this ill treatment?
Application: What will you do to honor God as a result of this study? How will you pray, speak, live, and act toward others?
For Further Study: To learn more about the sufferings of Christ prophesied in the Old Testament, download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “The Suffering Servant.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)