They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. (Psalms 69:4)
When commentators comment or preachers preach on the death of the cross, they write and speak with an outsider’s view. We speak without personal experience because we have not been through the great pain and suffering the Saviour endured. In this psalm, the story is not told from a commentator’s view, but from the mind of the precious Saviour Himself. This is one of the fascinating pre-manifestations of Christ as He speaks personally through the pen of David. His story concerns the terrible anguish He must endure.
The psalm begins with the analogy of a flood. Calvary is the place where the torrent of God’s judgment was unleashed upon Christ. Like a flood that completely overwhelms, the Saviour was engulfed with both the sins of the world and God’s’ wrath against it. I can imagine these statements may well have been a part of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane as He contemplated the death of the cross. Luke records His anguish was so great that His sweat was as it were great drops of blood. The mental anguish was so great that capillaries burst pouring blood into His sweat as it beaded and fell to the ground.
There is much to consider in this psalm, but today I am drawn to verse 4 and this phrase: “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head…” Jesus quoted this verse in John 15:25: “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” They hated Him without cause is probably the most perplexing statement ever spoken. For what good reason should we turn our backs on the one who offers forgiveness, who saves us from certain destruction, and who promises the unfathomable blessings of heaven? Why are we not rather lost in wonders of ceaseless praise? And yet, we are not—none of us would have saved Jesus from the cross because we also hated Him without cause.
In the Lord’s Supper, we picture what men did to Christ. The bread is broken to symbolize the beating of His body. The cup is poured to reflect the blood pouring from the wounds in His head, His back, His hands, and His feet. As we solemnly partake of the symbols, we no longer hate Him. We are reconciled to Him by the cross, and the one we hated becomes precious. The contrast of the before and after picture is demonstrated by Peter: Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (1 Peter 2:7-8)
We are humbled by the marvelous grace of our loving Lord who has made us partakers of the divine nature. Our sins are the cause of His torturous death, and His love is the cause of His triumphant redemption. The agony of Psalm 69 leaves us no excuse for any longer hating Him. When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
Which side of the psalm are you on? Have you trusted Him? If not, you hate Him without a cause. If you are not with Him, you are against Him (Matt. 12:30). I sincerely hope you will trust Him today. The only way to find out why He is truly precious is to see Him from the safety of His mercy, love, and grace.
Pastor V. Mark Smith