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blog meditation Psalms

Meditation Psalm 22c

I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honour him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
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.

From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
    before those who fear you I will fulfil my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek the Lord will praise him –
    may your hearts live for ever!

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,
for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.

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.
Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!

(Ps. 22:22-31 NIV)

The Psalmist turns from lament and petition to praise. The only thing that has changed with his circumstances is that he has come into the presence of God in prayer. The presence of God has reassured him, even though he started his prayer from a very dark place in his life. Now he has stepped away from his individualism and he is aware of a congregation of God’s people. He vows to praise God in the assembly of God’s people. Not only has the Psalmist turned to praise, he is calling on all others, everyone who fears the Lord, to come and praise the Lord. All of the people of God are to come and honour and revere the Lord. In v24 the Psalmist has a change of heart and mind. God has never despised or scorned the suffering that he has been through. We should not dismiss the earlier part of the Psalm too lightly. The experience was very real to the Psalmist. We only have to consider the graphic description of his suffering to realise the depth of feeling that the Psalmist went through. God has recorded this experience for us for our learning. When we feel like the Psalmist feels, it makes us feel guilty for our lack of faith and we try and ignore our feelings. But in the Psalm we learn how the Psalmist worked through his fears by honestly bringing them before the Lord. Recall how the Psalmist compared himself with his ancestors and even with his younger self. We tend to compare ourselves with others and wish we had faith like they have, and because we are ashamed of ourselves we don’t bring those concerns to God. It is encouraging to see that God recognises the reality of these feelings of despair and abandonment. To know that we can bring our doubt, our suffering, our insecurity and our disappointments to God is a blessed relief. The Psalmist has spent this time in the presence of God and the Lord has given him a new song to sing. God has given a new theme of praise 9v25). The sound of praise drowns out the voices of the mockers.

It is like the ‘flash mob’ who sing the hallelujah chorus and bring every else to a standstill.

God has shown mercy and the Psalmist responds in votive worship. That is, he vows to serve the Lord and to trust in Him. V25-26 refers to a fellowship offering (see Lev 7:11-21). The offering is made with a vow (Lev 7:16) and the offering is shared with others. The hungry are fed, so many benefit from the blessing that the Psalmist has received. When God blesses us it is good to share that blessing with others. The food that is shared strengthens their bodies and the Lord strengthens their hearts. They have life in their hearts.

The Psalmist projects his praise to the future. This can only be realised in Christ, when all the ends of the earth will hear the message of the sufferings of Christ on the cross, and from across the world people out of every nation will turn to Him. People who have prospered in this world and those who lie in the dust of death (as the Psalmist had at the beginning of the Psalm) will turn to the Lord to praise Him. The praise of God will continue throughout the earth and across each generation. People yet unborn will be raised up to praise the Lord. This is all the work of the Lord, He has done it.

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

(Ps. 40:1-3 NIV)

Lord we thank you for salvation, that you heard our cry for mercy and You lifted us. Lord many times since we have come to know You, we have needed You to lift us again. There were days when we didn’t pray, because we couldn’t pray, and You came to our aid and lifted us. Lord when our feelings of doubt and fear make us feel ashamed, help us to bring all our concerns before You in prayer, so that we can be reassured that You have promised never to leave us or forsake us. Hear our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen