By Henry Mahan
C. H. Spurgeon said, 'This is a Psalm of David, but if any inquire of whom speaketh the Psalmist this? of himself or some other man? I would reply, of himself and some other man--the Lord Jesus Christ.' This is indeed a Messianic psalm! No portion of the Old Testament Scriptures is more often quoted in the New Testament, with the exception of Psalm 22.
v. 1. 'Save me, O God.' His enemies mocked him, crying, 'He saved others, himself he cannot save' (Matt. 27:42). As our substitute, bearing our sins, he could not save himself, but rather offered up himself (Heb. 7:27; Heb. 9:14) ; and he was heard (Heb. 5:7-9). 'The waters are come into my soul.' Our Lord's chief sufferings were his soul agony (Isa. 53:9-10).
v. 2. Our Lord calls his state under our sins 'deep mire' and 'deep waters.' Sin is as mire (Jer. 38:6) for its filthiness and its hold on men. In deep water there is no place to stand, and the waters go over the head. The judgment of God is described as waters that overflow (Isa. 28:17). Our Lord is not a faint-hearted weakling; his sufferings were real and terrible.
v. 3. He wept as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He prayed until he sweat great drops of blood. His throat was dry and parched under the fires of God's wrath against our sins, and he cried, 'I thirst.' He looked and waited for his God; but he was left alone, crying, 'My God, why hast thou forsaken me?'
v. 4. 'They hated me without a cause' (John 15:25). From the cradle to the cross his enemies were without number. They were very many and very mighty. All earth and all hell despised him (Isa. 53:3; Acts 4:27), all without cause, for there was no sin nor fault in him. 'I restored that which I took not away.' Though innocent, he was treated as guilty. The sheep went astray, but the shepherd was smitten; and on their behalf he restored the honor of God's justice and law and their happiness (Rom. 5:19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Psalm 23:3).
v. 5. David might truly say this but not our Lord, unless he refers to our sins imputed and laid to his charge. He was made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).
v. 6. It seems to some that he prays that true believers will not be ashamed, confounded, and confused by his crucifixion and death; but it may be better understood, 'because I, for their sakes, do bear their shame, let them, for my sake, never be ashamed nor confounded' (1 Peter 2:6; Rom. 9:33).
vv. 7-8. Christ died for our sake, to redeem us to God; but he was set forth to be a mercy-seat, to declare God's righteousness, and to enable God to be both just and justifier (Rom. 3:25-26). Even his brothers did not believe him (John 7:5).
vv. 9-10. Some men are eaten up with pride, covetousness, and hatred; but the master-passion of Christ was his Father's glory, will, and truth (John 2:13-17). The hatred of men for God fell upon Christ, and everything he did or said only increased their reproach.
vv. 11-12. Being identified with us in our poverty, laying aside his eternal glory and clothing himself in flesh, humbling himself and being found in fashion as a man should have won him acclaim and pity; but it only increased their mockings and revilings (Matt. 27:27-30). From the judges and leaders who sat in the gate to the drunkards on the street, all men by nature hated the living God (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7).
vv. 13-18. While they mocked and scoffed, our Lord prayed to the Father. Here in these verses is his prayer for victory and deliverance according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, according to thy lovingkindness, and according to the truth and promises of thy salvation! He speaks as our representative, and as such his deliverance and redemption are ours!
v. 19. Here are three words that describe our Lord's sufferings for us and the contempt poured upon him because of our sins-- reproach, shame, and dishonor. We deserve all three, but he bore them in our place (Isa. 53:4-6).
vv. 20-21. Our Lord died with a broken heart (John 19:34-35). Reproach, loneliness, and heaviness broke his heart. There is no suffering quite like it. In his thirst, they gave him gall and vinegar (Matt. 27:34, 48). Someone wrote, 'Whatever he sought for, there was none; our Captain fought the field alone. As soon as the Chief to battle led, that moment every soldier fled.'
vv. 22-28. The Lord calls for judgment upon rebels and a judicial curse upon the despisers of the Lord's Christ. Their ceremonies, tables, and types, which should reveal his redemptive work, only serve as a stumbling-block and a trap (Rom. 11:9-10). A veil is upon their eyes (2 Cor. 3:15). They persecute him whom the Lord hath smitten (Isa. 53:4, 10). Iniquity is added to their iniquity; for they are now guilty of the blood of his Son, and they are blotted out of the book of God (Exo. 32:33).
vv. 29-30. Our Lord returns to prayer and praise. 'I am poor now but shall be exalted' (Phil. 2:8-11). Even in the depths of agony I will praise and magnify him.
vv. 31-32. God never found pleasure nor satisfaction in the sacrifices of the Old Testament, but he is fully pleased and reconciled through Christ's sufferings (Heb. 10:5-7). Those who are taught of God rejoice in him; and they live, who seek God in Christ.
vv. 33-35. Believers, in their own eyes, are poor and needy prisoners; but because of our Lord's redemptive work, they are in God's sight sons of God, complete in Christ (Col. 2:9-10). He will hear, despise not, save, and build them on that Rock.
v. 36. They are the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29). They are heirs of God (Rom. 8:17). They love his name (1 John 5:1-2). They dwell in God (1 John 4:15).