Save Me, God!
(H) For the director of the choir, set to “The Lilies,” of David. (1) Save me, God, for the waters have come up to my neck. (2) I sink down in deep mire where there is no foothold. I have come into deep waters where the flood washes over me. (3) I grow weary with calling out. My throat is parched. My eyes fail, waiting for my God. (4) More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without a cause. Mighty are those who would destroy me, who attack me with lies. That which I did not steal I am forced to restore. (5) God, you know my folly. My wrongdoings are not hidden from you.
Several repetitions express David’s anxiety as he feels overwhelmed by the opposition that confronts him. Both the noun, “waters,” and the verb, “come,” are repeated to portray how precarious his situation seems to him (vss. 1 & 2). Twice he uses the word, “deep,” to describe both the slippery mud and the flood of water that threaten to swallow him up (vs. 2).
Three times in this segment, David invokes the name of “God.” First, he directly addresses God with the desperate cry, “Save me,” setting the tone for the rest of the psalm (vs. 1). Then he describes himself as waiting anxiously for God to answer his cry (vs. 3). Finally, he addresses God directly as he confesses his “wrongdoings” (vs. 5).
Save me, God:
- when floodwaters threaten to overwhelm me. (1-3)
- when my enemies attack me and deal with me unjustly. (4)
- when my own folly and sinfulness become my undoing. (5)
Crying out to God for help is all we can do (and what we must do) when faced with dangers that threaten to overwhelm us.
The well-known cliché, “There are no atheists in foxholes,” conveys the reality that in times of extreme stress or peril many who would never otherwise turn to God may well find themselves crying out to him for help. It is when we have no other recourse that we desperately look to God to provide the relief that we need.
This truth gives us another good response to the question so many ask in the face of human suffering: “Why would a good and loving God allow so many of us to endure so much pain if he had the power to eliminate such difficulties from our lives?” Pain is one of God’s most effective tools for making us aware of our need for him. God often permits suffering in our lives to produce in us the same response David had in Psalm 69, crying out to him for help in moments of deep despair.
C. S. Lewis put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, but he shouts in our pain. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” When we are in the greatest danger we pray most earnestly. In our suffering we turn to him for help, drawing near to him as he desires. Otherwise, in our self-satisfied complacency, we would likely remain indifferent to him and never experience the blessings of a deepening relationship with a loving God who wants us to know how much he cares for us. So when the floodwaters endanger us, our enemies threaten, or we are overwhelmed with adversity and trouble, let us make it a point to remind ourselves that our heavenly Father uses such difficulties to draw us into an ever-deepening dependence on his loving care.