What do you do when everything goes wrong? Have you ever had one of those moments or one of those days, weeks, months, or years? I’m talking about a day or a time in your life when everything goes wrong but not only that but everything that was a consequence of all the things that went wrong are now going wrong as well. It’s like you’re caught in this endless downward spiral of things going wrong. What do you do in those moments when it feels like everything is going wrong, everything is falling apart and everything is crashing down around you?
David finds himself in such a situation. Everything you need to know about David’s situation can be heard in the first words of the Psalm, “Save me, O God!” Most of us have uttered that cry at different times in our lives and for different reasons. Hopefully at one point we realized our depraved sinfulness and cried out to God, “Save me, O God!” Or we walked in open rebellion against God and his will for our lives, and this led to a chaos in our lives. We don’t know how to get ourselves out of our own mess and we cry out to God, “Save me, O God!”
David’s life is in a state of chaos. He continues the verse with the reason for his plea, “For the waters threaten my life.” The word “life” is the Hebrew word nephesh and it doesn´t only mean his physical life, although it certainly means that. The word is more holistic than that. David feels like he is physically and spiritually about to drown! Oh, I don’t have to explain that feeling to you, do I? Your life is so chaotic that you feel like suffocation is just seconds away. You just need to stop sliding deeper and deeper. David felt that way. Look at v. 2 where he says I sink in deep mire.” What is mire? “Mire” is an area of wet, swampy ground. It is slimy soil that is usually very deep.
David uses this word in Ps 40:3 and listen to how he describes it there. “He [the Lord] drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon the rock, making my steps secure.” If you think about it, we often use geography to depict our lives. We call the good times the mountain tops and the bad times the valleys. Here when it comes to stability and instability, stability is being able to walk on solid ground, on the rock, and being able to take secure steps, not having to worry about what you’re walking on.
In contrast, the miry bog is the picture of instability. In the miry bog there are no sure steps, only struggle and strife. It is almost tortuous. To have only one thing you need and you are stuck in the one place that doesn’t have the one thing you need. But David continues by saying that he is in deep waters. Have you ever tried to tread water? You may know this about me but at one point in my life I was one signature away from enlisting in the Navy. One of the fitness requirements was being able to tread water for 5 minutes. I remember going to the pool and thinking, “Okay, I just have to sort of float and stay up for 5 minutes. No big deal.” It was about 1 minute in that I realized I was in trouble.
David is in deep water and he is exhausted. He then says the “flood sweeps over me.” The imagery is just relentless. The chaos and craziness is unrelenting! And David is starting to lose hope. He says in v. 3, “I am weary with my crying out.” That word “weary” is used in another interesting context. In 2 Samuel 23, David’s mighty men are battling the Philistines. A man named Eleazar was fighting and it says in v. 10, that he “rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to his sword.” What a picture! It’s like David is fighting, and fighting, and fighting . . . and he is so, so weary. How is he fighting? By crying out!
We talk about crying out to God but David cried out time and time again. He was weary with his crying out. He says, “my throat is parched.” He’s going horse pleading for God to answer and save him. He closes with almost a heartbreaking language. It’s like seeing a great warrior about to give up even though you may be cheering for him. He says, “My eyes grow dim,” they are failing. He’s seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. No hope. No coming deliverance just on the horizon. He’s looking to the horizon for a sunrise and yet he only sees pitch black midnight.
Have you been there? Was there a time in your life, or maybe it is right now where you need to cry out to God, “Save me, O God!” If you’re in the midst of such a time in your life and you haven’t cried out to God to save you, I would encourage that you do that. I spend so much time highlighting the nature of David’s condition because I think it only magnifies what we read towards the end of Psalm 69. Look at what David says, “I will praise the name of God with a song, I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” Wow.