“They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave sour wine to drink.” Psalm 69: 1
During the season of Lent, Christians focus on their spiritual lives, the Passion of Christ, and their own suffering. The season of Lent is a penitential time for Christians. We focus on our sin, our depravity, our utmost need for a Saviour. Sin is our greatest enemy. Sin attacks us via Satan’s temptations, worldly lusts and desires, and the sinful lust and desire of our own corrupt human flesh. The Holy Spirit shows us our filthy sin. We see it. We despise it. Yet, at times we revel in it. So often when sin attacks we capitulate to it. We need spiritual help. We need a Saviour. We need salvation. Only God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is able to save us from spiritual abuse, sin’s attacks.
In this psalm, David offers this prayer for help in the midst of attacks and sufferings imposed on him by his enemies. As Jesus is the promised Son of David (2 Samuel 7:8-16), these afflictions of David foreshadow the even greater afflictions of Christ. Hence, this psalm is quoted in the New Testament with reference to Christ.
We too can use this psalm as our prayer. We ask God for help in the midst of suffering from attacks by our worldly and spiritual enemies. Jesus the Christ is very aware of our afflictions. Jesus, true God and true man, lived among those who hated him. His enemies persecuted him to death – literally.
Jesus suffered in His body when scourged by the soldiers and nailed to the cross. But much greater was the suffering of His soul, for He felt the heavy burden of our sins resting upon Him and experienced the full measure of God’s wrath. All this suffering was laid upon our Saviour by God Himself who, making use of the wickedness of Judas, Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, and the soldiers, visited on Him the iniquity of us all. Therefore, we with our sins mocked, scourged, and crucified the Lord (IS 43:24). We are the ones that should smite upon our breasts and repent.
Martin Luther said the life of a Christian should be one of daily repentance. Not just during the season of Lent, but every day of the year we call out to God asking for forgiveness of our sin. The Good News is that, for Christ’s sake, we are forgiven. Christ suffered in our place. In our Baptism our sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us. This is the greatest gift of all – redemption. As we journey through this Lenten season let us call upon the Lord to deliver us from our enemies, spiritual and physical. Let us turn to the one who experienced these same afflictions for us and triumphed over them that we would have freedom from sin, death, and Satan.
Let heaven and earth praise him… …for God will save Zion. (Psalm 69: 34-35.) Amen.