September 15, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Pictures of His Suffering
I sink in deep mire where there is no standing … deep waters … floods … the pit … the water-floods … the deep.
Psalm 69 is one of the most frequently quoted of the Psalms in the New Testament. It has been rightly referred to as the Trespass Offering Psalm since it speaks of restitution which was given to God: “Then I restored that which I took not away” (v 4).
But this Psalm also affords insights into what Calvary must have been for the Lord Jesus Christ. By use of metaphors, the inspired penman describes aspects of Calvary not disclosed in other Psalms or other writings. Psalm 22 depicts His humiliation and forsaking. The foes of earth and the fiends of hell are described and the ferocity of their hatred revealed. In that Psalm, His forsaking is emphasized. But other aspects of Calvary are seen here.
Here in Psalm 69, it is the character of His sufferings to which our attention is being drawn. We are told that it was like a continual sinking, lower and lower, with no place to stand, no foothold against the pressing judgment from above. The floods overflowed and He sank beneath the billows without any resistance.
A Seeping In
I recall an occasion when a leak developed in a basement floor, revealed by a torrential rain. As I frantically tried to stem the leak, the water kept seeping in at every crack. Nothing could abate the ingress of the water. Similarly, at Calvary, the waters came in “unto My soul” (v 1). In His inmost being He felt all the judgment of God against sin. The great contrast at Calvary is that He offered no resistance to those waters.
A Swallowing Up
“Neither let the deep swallow Me up” (v 15). His suffering and death is likened to being swallowed up, engulfed, and surrounded by the judgment of God. In New Testament language, it was a baptism, an immersion in the floods of God’s righteous wrath against sin. Judgment was on every side. Above and below, to the left and to the right, judgment crushed Him from every side.
A Storm Unleashed
Deep waters and floods remind us of a storm that was His to endure. Anyone who has ever watched an angry, storm tossed ocean pound against the cliffs or surf, can appreciate the imagery employed. Standing by, watching as wave after wave breaks against the cliff, never relenting, never abating; observing as the full fury of each wave breaks against the rock – all this tells something of the awfulness of Calvary.
A Shutting of a Pit
“Let not the pit shut her mouth upon Me” (v 15). Like steel doors closing over a helpless victim, like prison doors closing over a helpless victim, so the cross is likened to being consigned to a pit whose doors were closing over Him. The sense of loneliness, of abandonment are conveyed by this imagery.
All was His to bear.