Praise for Deliverance
(29) But I (am) afflicted and in pain. Let your salvation, God, set me (securely) on high. (30) I will praise the name of God with song, and I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (31) This will please Yahweh more than (offering him) an ox or young bull with its horns and hooves. (32) When the afflicted see it, they will rejoice. You, who seek God: may your hearts revive, (33) for Yahweh hears the needy and does not despise his own (who are) prisoners. (34) Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them, (35) for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah so that they may dwell there and possess it. (36) The offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall live in it.
Again, repetitions and synonyms help us discern the message of the segment. First, “afflicted” occurs twice (vss. 29 & 32), and its synonym, “needy,” is also used (vs. 33). Next, “salvation/save” is emphasized by repetition (vss. 29 & 35). Then, God’s “praise” is found twice (vss. 30 & 34). Note the movement from personal (vs. 30) to universal praise (vs. 34). Finally, we encounter several synonyms for “dwell” (vss. 35 & 36). In essence, the afflicted who have been delivered by God will praise him for providing for them a permanent home in Zion.
I. Personal praise of the needy delivered from affliction (29-33)
II. Universal praise for Yahweh’s delivering Israel (34-36)
Because Yahweh has delivered Israel and given her a home in Zion, he is worthy of universal praise.
All’s Well that Ends Well, the title of one of William Shakespeare’s least known and least performed plays, is the story of a young nobleman trapped into marrying a lowborn woman whom he does not love. In a typically convoluted plot, Bertram, the young count, eventually falls in love with the woman whom he initially rejected so that by the end of the drama, “All’s well that ends well.”
Psalm 69 recounts a similar but far more meaningful narrative. Israel’s Messiah in his incarnation experienced rejection, untold suffering, and ultimately death to accomplish the salvation God had in mind for those whom he loves. While the servant’s afflictions were almost beyond endurance, he ultimately triumphed and, in the words of the title, all’s well that ends well. In fact, the story of Messiah ends so well that Psalm 69 closes with universal praise to God whose grace made it all happen.
This truly is the greatest story ever told, the drama of salvation in which the most tragic defeat imaginable turns into a triumph beyond our wildest dreams, death swallowed up by victory. When we consider what it cost our Savior to secure this salvation, our hearts should overflow with boundless praise! The words of hymn writer P. P. Bliss help us express the gratitude that should well up within our hearts: “‘Man of Sorrows,’ what a name for the Son of God who came / ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Savior! // Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood, / sealed my pardon with his blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!”