Just Two Things

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck,” cries David the beginning of Psalm 69. It has been a difficult week; death tragically and unexpectedly descended upon our church. “I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold,” continued the king. We know what that feels like; some of us are there. “I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me,” David said echoing our feelings. “I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched,” David admits and we know exactly what he is saying. “My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God,” he admits. And we know what that’s like, too.

Life can be going so well. And then, out of nowhere, like a sucker-punch outside our vision, we’re dropped. Hard providence takes a swing, and we stagger. Sometimes others know our pain; they observed the roundhouse that caught us on the chin. Other times, the punch slips through and no one saw it. We weep alone.

If the psalmist’s experience is similar to ours, what did he do to recover? He did just two things; two rather simple things, actually. Despite water up to his neck, sinking in mire, flood waters sweeping over him, and a weary and parched throat; he petitions God. “But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness” (v. 13). He acknowledges and even wants relief in God’s “acceptable time” and knows it will come because of God’s “steadfast love” and “saving faithfulness.”

Also note how specific his petition is to his desperate condition: “Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me” (vv. 14-15).

Second, on the heels of the petition, he praises. “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving” (v. 30). Why does he praise? It is not because anything has changed, in verse 29 he says that he still is “afflicted and in pain.” He praises God because he knows it pleases God to do so. “This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.” It may be difficult to praise God given our poor estate, but it is pleasing to His ears. And if we needed another reason to praise, David provides one: “For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people who are prisoners” (v. 33).

Do you want off the floor of your cell? Off your bed of tears? The psalmist provides instruction; petition and praise—just those two. When we are weak and overwhelmed, it’s not time for a lengthy prescription. Perhaps that is why it is just two things.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

September 5, 2013


  1. Thank you for this good word. May we all receive grace to keep on pleading and to keep on praising.

  2. Thank you for bringing comfort to us through your words, Pastor Rich. This Lord’s Day, I look forward to gathering with our church family, bringing our petitions to our Sovereign Lord and lifting our voices in praise & thanksgiving to Him. SDG