Theme: Victory and Praise
In this week’s lessons we observe how David expresses himself honestly before God, and see how God hears and understands the great difficulties we go through.
Scripture: Psalm 69:19-36
There is a great deal of sorrow and tragedy in this life. A person would have to be blind not to see it. But for the Christian, tragedy is never the final word. The final word is always victory and praise. So this is the note on which the psalm ends, just as Psalm 22, which was also a psalm of pain and suffering, ended on a note of victory.1 In this case the psalmist first voices his praise to God, then calls on “heaven and earth… the seas and all that move in them” to praise God also.
Since David was the original author of this psalm, as the title of the psalm says, and assuming that the reference to rebuilding the cities of Judah in verse 35 came from a later age than David’s, the last stanza was probably added by a later hand for the benefit of a later congregation’s worship. If that is so, then the original psalm would have ended with verse 33, which would have been a perfect conclusion. In fact, verse 33 is the key and still most important verse of the psalm as we have it: “The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.”
I wish I could plant that truth in your mind so that nothing would ever blot it out and that it could ring there with a constant glad clarity. In this world there is always much pain and evil. It is what life is like. What is more, God does not always remove the pain or troubling times. Jesus prayed in great agony in Gethsemane, asking that the cup he was about to drink might be taken from him, and God did not remove the cup. Jesus had to drink it. But God nevertheless heard his prayer and did not despise his agony. Moreover, he sent angels to minister to him and strengthen him so that he might go through his trial gloriously for God.
Be assured that this will be the case with you also. Whatever cross you are given, tell God about it and know that he will hear your prayers and come to strengthen you. You will certainly praise him for it one day.
1Psalm 22 is preeminently a psalm prophesying Christ’s crucifixion. But it ends with Jesus praising God for that “great assembly” of believers whom God will have given to him and announcing that generations yet unborn will glorify God because of his atoning work for them.
Why isn’t tragedy the final word for the Christian?
List the reasons why David will praise the Lord in verses 29-33.
Reflection: Think about a tragedy you have experienced. How did you get through it? Now think about all you have to praise God for. Take time to thank and praise God for who he is and what he’s done for you.
For Further Study: Like David, Jonah also cried out to the Lord, expressed his praise, and received help. Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “Prayer from the Depths.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)