Wednesday 28 October, 2020

Psalm 22

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David. 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. 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. 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 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 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 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!

It’s almost impossible to read this psalm without seeing Jesus all through. It’s clearly prophetic, but I think it would be wrong to treat it like a checklist of how to recognize the Messiah. When Jesus shouted the first verse from the cross (Mark 15:34), I don’t think he was saying “this is all about me”. Quite the reverse. I think he was saying that his coming and dying on the cross is all about us. He’s stepping into David’s desperate situation, into the depth of his despair. (David is writing from his own perspective.) He’s stepping into my darkest moment when I’m hopeless and helpless. He doesn’t rescue me from a distance. He does it from right in the middle of my messy life. This is more about how to recognize myself in Christ.

Scholars have puzzled over how it could be that God could abandon God, in the person of Jesus on the cross. But I think it’s a rhetorical question. God’s answer to David would have been “I never abandoned you”. Jesus’ answer to us is “I never abandoned you either. I came looking for you when you abandoned me.”

And his goal? That “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD” (v27). That I should step into his resurrection life. That I should step into the restored relationship as God’s child. That I should embrace his Holy Spirit living in and with me.

Thank you, Jesus. We “will proclaim [your] righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” (v31).

Written by David Cornell

2 replies
  1. Howard Reed says:

    Thanks David. Always helpful! BTW, I agree with you that God did not abandon either David or Jesus. It just felt that way to them for a short time, just as it does for us sometimes. It was their felt experience, not their reality!

[comments section is closed]