Bible Studies on the Messianic Psalms
Psalm 69 - The restoration and the zeal of the Lord
by I Gordon
Psalm 69 is like a smorgasbord of Messianic passages. It is a buffet of
the finest tasty treats. Argh, well, in terms of Messianic passages
that is. We are only going to look at a very small portion of it
(verses 1-9). So we'll start with what is useful this time of the
morning - a test. Here are the first 9 verses and you can tell me which
verses are quoted in the New Testament about Jesus. Rumor has it that
this the actual test that will be applied at the pearly gates. Though
rumor has it you shouldn't believe every rumor you hear. Here's the
Psalms 69:1-9 A Psalm of David. Save me, O God, For the waters have
threatened my life. (2) I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no
foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. (3) I
am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I
wait for my God. (4) Those who hate me without a cause are more than
the hairs of my head; Those who would destroy me are powerful, being
wrongfully my enemies; What I did not steal, I then have to restore.
(5) O God, it is You who knows my folly, And my wrongs are not hidden
from You. (6) May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O
Lord GOD of hosts; May those who seek You not be dishonored through me,
O God of Israel, (7) Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;
Dishonor has covered my face. (8) I have become estranged from my
brothers and an alien to my mother's sons. (9) For zeal for Your house
has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have
fallen on me.
There are three verses or parts of verses that are quoted in the New
Testament from this portion of scripture.
Jesus quoted verse 4 about Himself and His rejection. (John 15:25)
The disciples remembered the first part of verse 9 when a zealous Jesus
cleared the temple (John 2:17)
The Apostle Paul quoted the last part of verse 9 to show that Jesus
came not to please Himself (Rom 15:3)
Now, as I was reading through this, the main part that stood out
concerned the zeal of the Lord which is mentioned in verse 9. We'll
concentrate on that the most while browsing all of verses 1-9. When I
read these Psalms I like to ask myself some questions. Namely:
What is the context of the Psalm? What was happening in the life of
How was it fulfilled in the life of the Lord Jesus?
What does it mean for our lives today?
Does it have any future prophetic relevance?
What was happening in the life of the Psalmist?
So what was happening in the life of the Psalmist? After many hours of
diligent study I can now tell you that I do not know. So that clears
that up. Point number 2... Well, maybe a little more detail. There are
some Psalms where we know the definite circumstances that led to the
Psalm being written. And some we don't. This falls in the latter
category. It is a Psalm of David's and obviously there was a lot of
rejection, a lot of trouble and a lot of opposition going on. The first
few verses give an overview of the desperation:
Psalms 69:1-3 Save me, O God, For the waters have threatened my life.
(2) I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come
into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. (3) I am weary with my
crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.
David is under tremendous affliction and he feels like he is going down
for the count under the relentless pounding of opposition and troubles.
As he says, he is in deep waters. Maybe you have gone out in really
heavy surf and taken a bit of a beating. Sometimes you can get held
under by a big wave and occasionally you don't even know which way is
up. And when you do finally get to the top, coughing and spluttering,
then comes the next wave! Sometimes life can be like that; Deep waters,
crashing waves and no foothold. In verse 4 we find a little more.
(4) Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my
This narrows it down a little for us. David wasn't dealing with health
concerns, financial difficulty or marital problems. He was dealing with
an untold number of people that seemed to hate him - and without cause.
It is quite possible that this Psalm was written around the same period
that we spoke of in the last two messages where we looked at the
betrayal of David by Ahithophel and by his own son Absalom who turned
the hearts of the people against David. David had to flee for his life
at that stage and if you know the story he was given a lovely send off
by a very pleasant man called Shimei.
2 Samuel 16:5-14 As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the
same clan as Saul's family came out from there. His name was Shimei
son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. (6)
He pelted David and all the king's officials with stones,
though all the troops and the special guard were on David's
right and left. (7) As he cursed, Shimei said, "Get out, get
out, you man of blood, you scoundrel! ...
(11) David then said to Abishai and all his officials, "Leave him
alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. (12) It may be
that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the
cursing I am receiving today." (13)
So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was
going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and
throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. (14) The
king and all the people with him arrived at their destination
It says they arrived at their destination exhausted! It isn't an easy
road to travel where you just commit yourself to the Lord and don't
retaliate. Yes, David knew what it was to be hated, and even hated
without cause. But we should also remember that this particular passage
isn't just about David. This brings us to the second question:
How was it fulfilled in the life of the Lord Jesus?
The Lord Jesus quoted this verse concerning Himself in John 15:25.
John 15:24-25 If I had not done among them what no one else did,
they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these
miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. (25) But
this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me
Just as the people turned on David, a man after God's own heart, so
they turned on Jesus. They hated Him without a cause. What a crazy
thought. Jesus taught the people about the Father. He healed their
sicknesses and forgave their sins. He delivered the demonized and
lifted up the downcast. Yet He was hated without cause. If that doesn't
speak to us of the twisted condition of the human heart nothing will.
Yet that hatred, without cause, is matched by the love and grace which
He showed us... without cause.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Restoring what He did not take away
Psalms 69:4' ...Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully
my enemies; What I did not steal, I then have to restore.'
I've always enjoyed this verse. The KJV puts it like this: 'that which
I did not take away, I then had to restore.' Something was taken.
Something was stolen. And someone had to restore it. The Lord Jesus
wasn't the One who took it but He was the One who put His hand up to
get it back. Now none of us really like having to fix something that we
didn't cause, do we? You remember when you were little and your Mum
says to you 'your room is a mess... you are not going anywhere until it
is tidied up.' And you say 'I didn't do it. It was Fraser... Fraser did
it!' And she says 'I don't care who did it. But you are not going
anywhere until you've put it right!' 'But it was Fraser... Oh Fraser!
Fraser...' When we are little we don't think it is very fair or just to
have to pay for something someone else did. 'It's not my mess. Why
should I clean it up?' But thankfully God doesn't think like we do and
that is why the Lord Jesus came! 'What I did not take away, I then have
to restore'. And He did so willingly, without compulsion, simply driven
by a love for us and a zeal for His Father's will.
So what was taken? What was stolen from mankind? Innocence, sinless
standing, fellowship with God, a beautiful world free from any curse,
bitterness, disease or violence - one created perfectly for mankind's
needs. All has been taken; All stolen. All lost. That which was taken
Jesus had to restore. Some of this was restored at the cross. Some
awaits His return. But all that was lost at the fall will be restored
and even more so. Those in Christ will find themselves in an even
greater position and standing than what Adam and Eve had before the
'Aside He threw His most divine array, And veiled His Godhead in a
robe of clay
And in that garb didst wondrous love display, Restoring what He
never took away.' (Author Unknown)
And what did it take to do this?
The zeal for His Father's will
Psalms 69:7-9 Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Dishonor has
covered my face. (8) I have become estranged from my brothers and an
alien to my mother's sons. (9) For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
The Bible, speaking of king David firstly, but ultimately of the Lord
Jesus, reveals a zeal that burned within for the things of God. So much
so that it brought reproach from the masses around. So what exactly is
zeal? The Hebrew word has the following thoughts: In the KJV this
Hebrew word, qinah, is used 43 times. 25 times it is translated as
Jealousy, 9 times zeal, and 8 times envy. So it can have good and bad
connotations. It is a feminine noun (I won't read anything into that!)
that describes an intense fervour, passion, and emotion. Let's look at
how this came out in the life of the Lord Jesus.
Where's that whip?
John 2:13-17 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up
to Jerusalem. (14) And He found in the temple those who were
selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at
their tables. (15) And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them
all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured
out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;
(16) and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these
things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business."
(17) His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR YOUR
HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME."
What was happening here? The key is the timing of the event. It was
nearly Passover. Do you know what God commanded the Israelites to do in
the week leading up to the feasts of Passover and Unleavened bread?
They had to remove any trace of leaven from their homes. Leaven was and
is a type of sin in the Bible so it had to be removed. Everyone was
incredibly diligent to search and remove any trace of it during this
time. So Jesus here was simply doing in His Father's house what all of
the Israelites were doing in their own homes - He was removing the
leaven - removing the sin. His Father's house, the temple, had just
become a business. People weren't so much interested in prayer and
learning God's ways as they were making a profit from selling the
animals for sacrifices and charging exorbitant exchange rates on the
temple money that they had to purchase animals with. In short, it had
just become a business and Jesus hated it. The zeal (that is His
burning passion, fervour and emotion) that Jesus had for His Father's
glory drove him to clear it all out.
It makes you wonder what He would do today does it not? When the church
is run like businesses for profit, driven by CEO's essentially with
corporate business and marketing principles, what would Jesus think or
What does it mean for our lives today?
Reading this got me thinking about two things and how it relates to me.
They are simple enough.
It made me ask what is God's house today? The zeal that Jesus
showed, that emotion, passion and fervor was for God's house. 'Zeal
for your house will consume me'. If Jesus had zeal for God's house
then, how would that apply today? We are God's house today. Our
bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He has the same passion
and, in a good sense, jealousy, to see our lives free from
worldliness and used for God's glory today.
Deuteronomy 6:12-15 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who
brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (13) Fear the
LORD your God, serve him only... for the LORD your God, who is among
you, is a jealous God.'
The Lord is a jealous God in the same sense that a husband would be, or
should be, if his wife starting looking at other men. If a husband
wasn't jealous in that situation something is just plain wrong. God's
intense love for His people looks and longs for a singular love,
devotion and faithfulness back.
Secondly, it got me wondering what I am zealous for. Do I still
have that passion and fervor for the things of God? J.C Ryle said
Zeal is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to
advance His glory in the world in every possible way. '
Does that describe me? Does that describe you? Each of us can only
answer that in our own hearts. It isn't saying that we have to be
exuberant or a particular personality type. It isn't saying that
you suddenly have to be an excitable and over the top type of
person. We are all different. But is there a burning desire within
to know God, please God and to advance His glory? It's interesting
that the Greek word for zeal used in this passage in John is
'zelou', a masculine noun meaning heat, to be hot, fervent. Like an
inward fire. It brings back memories of the Laodicean Christians in
Revelation whose assessment is that they were lukewarm Christians
(unfortunately indicative of Western Christianity today as a
whole). Not completely cold, but not hot either. Jesus actually
said He would rather they were one or the other. And what command
is given to the Laodicean church? What's the solution for lukewarm
Revelation 3:19 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline;
therefore be zealous and repent.
We are like a balloon... We have leaks. We need to be filled. The world pulls at our feet
and even the lightest weight can pull us down.
What future prophetic significance does this event have?
Let's finish with a brief look at the future prophetic outworking of
this passage. In the book of John, the cleansing of the temple is
closely linked to the wedding where Jesus performed the miracle with
the wine. This points to what will happen when Jesus returns. There
will be the long awaited marriage of the Lamb and there will be a total
cleansing of not only God's temple, and Jerusalem, but of the entire
Zechariah 14:20-21 On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed
on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD's
house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. (21)
Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty...
And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite
('merchant','trader') in the house of the LORD Almighty
When I was doing this study I looked to see where else 'the zeal of the
Lord' is mentioned. I found that most occasions are mentioned,
especially in the Old Testament, in connection with the return of the
Lord. Let's just look at one following passage. Well, maybe two. In
this study of Psalm 69 we have focused most on two things:
Jesus will restore all things: 'That which I did not take away, I
then had to restore.'
He was filled with zeal for God's name, glory and people.
These two points meet together and have their ultimate fulfillment at
the second coming. Look at this passage:
Isaiah 59:16-20 And He saw that there was no man, And was
astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm
brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him. (17) He
put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation
on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. (18)
According to their deeds, so He will repay, Wrath to His
adversaries, recompense to His enemies; To the coastlands He will
make recompense. (19) So they will fear the name of the LORD from
the west and His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come
like a rushing stream which the wind of the LORD drives. (20) "A
Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from
transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to
us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name
will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace. (7) There will be no end to the increase of His
government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his
kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and
righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish
That which was lost will be restored and even more so. And it is the
zeal of the Lord - the intense fervour, passion, and inward burning
desire of the Lord that will see this accomplished. Jesus still has the
same zeal for that which is God's as he did when He drove the merchants
and money lenders from the temple 2000 years ago. Only this time it
will be worldwide. The earth is the Lord's and no ISIS, no Islam, no
human force or kingdom will stop this from happening. He will reign
from then on and forevermore - The zeal of the Lord will accomplish