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.

Blessings can become curses, as we have seen with the first two examples of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Today we mention two more.

  1. Material possessions. I do not need to elaborate on this. Money and other material goods are from God. But they are dangerous, particularly when we possess them in abundance. They should lead us to God in gratitude. More often they lead us from him.

Jesus' command to forgive our enemies and the Psalmist's imprecations may seem like a contradiction, yet that is not the whole story. It is true that we are not to take vengeance. Paul says this in Romans 12, writing, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord" (v. 19). But just because we are not to take judgment into our own hands does not mean that we should not want justice to be done or that God will not punish sin eventually. It is significant in this respect that Paul, the same author who says, "Do not take revenge... but leave room for God's wrath," also quotes verses 22 and 23 of Psalm 69 (in Romans 11:9, 10) as a prophecy of a judicial blinding of the majority of the people of Israel because of their rejection of Jesus Christ.

The second renewal of the plea for help, in verses 22-28, also goes a step beyond the earlier prayers in that it is now no longer merely a plea for personal deliverance from trouble, but is also a request for God's swift and utter judgment on the psalmist's enemies. It is an imprecatory prayer that is equal in its fierce power to any of the explicitly imprecatory psalms and should be handled as they must be.

If there was ever a messianic psalm, it is Psalm 69. Seven of its thirty-six verses are quoted in the New Testament, and there are themes that are developed in a general way in reference to Jesus Christ in the gospels. In exploring the application of this psalm to Jesus, we looked at points that are illustrated by Jesus' earthly experience, saw how he endured them for the sake of the Father and for us, and observed how we should also willingly endure such trials for Jesus. We also saw that we will be able to do this only through the power and grace he supplies.