Wednesday 11 January, 2017

Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? 2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.[b] 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.[c] 4 In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. 8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” 9 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. 10 From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. 12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13 Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. 15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce[e] my hands and my feet. 17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. 19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. 20 Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. 21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. 22 I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

This Psalm is painful to read. The anguish conveyed by the author is palpable. But who is the Author?

It’s King David, approximately 1000 years before the birth of Christ.

So the question that I have to ask is this: Was David writing about his own suffering and persecution, or was he describing a vision of the death of Jesus Christ? Is this a case of divine insight from David, or is it history repeating, with Jesus going through a torment that many others have experienced?

A comparison of Psalm 22 with Matthew 27:31-40 is eye opening. In fact 80% of the text in Psalm 22 is almost directly quoted by Matthew in his description of Jesus’ suffering and another 15% of the more figurative representations in Psalm 22 are played out in Matthew’s narrative.

For me this raises a question that goes to the heart of one of the big themes of the Christian faith – Does God reveal things about himself and things of the future to people?

Prophesies about Jesus in the Old Testament (before Jesus was born) are a special type of prophesy. There are about 350 of these in the 39 books of the Old Testament. Repetition and consistency of these prophesies suggests that they weren’t just incidental mentions of things that Jesus happened to do while he walked the earth.

For me, I know that I worship a God who knows the future from the past, right into eternal future, but he is also intimately interested in me – in my struggles and hopes and dreams.

Thank you Lord for your Word and your love.


Written by Ps Justin Ware

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