Categories
blog meditation Psalms

Meditation Psalm 22d

For the director of music. To the tune of ‘The Doe of the Morning’. A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say,
    ‘let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.’

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Do not be far from me,
    for trouble is near
    and there is no one to help.

Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
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.
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.

Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
    You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Deliver me from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

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. 22:1-31 NIV)

Christ is the divine Psalm singer. As the original author experiences what he writes, the fullness of the meaning of the Psalm can only be entered into by our Saviour. The opening cry of the Psalm is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.’ (Matt 27:46). This is the verse that I have been asked to explain, more than any other verse in Scripture. As Matthew Henry notes this is ‘a strange complaint to come from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Some have reasoned that the whole Psalm was spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross because the opening words are ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me’ and the closing words are, ‘He has done it’. They reason that ‘He has done it’ is like ‘it is finished’. Others will only go as far as to say that the whole of the Psalm refers to Christ. I prefer this second view, but we can say that Christ prayed all the Psalms, that Christ entered into the fullness of the meaning of the Psalms so that we don’t have to. Christ prays the Psalms for us, as we pray the Psalms in Christ. Christ prays the Psalms in order that we can pray the Psalms.

There are a number of parts of the Psalm that appear directly to refer to Christ.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.

(Ps. 22:1-2 NIV)

All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say,
    ‘let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.’

(Ps. 22:7-8 NIV)

…they pierce my hands and my feet.

(Ps. 22:16 NIV)

They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

(Ps. 22:18 NIV)

The cry from verse 1 is taken upon the lips of Christ to indicate that there was a real forsakenness. The Saviour is entering this at a level beyond what the Psalmist experienced. Christ was bearing our sin, he took the judgement that our sins deserved. He who knew no sin, who did no sin, he in whom was no sin, he became sin for us.

In this scene God the Father poured out his wrath against sin. It was poured out upon the Saviour instead of it being poured out on us. To be forsaken by God, is to be damned and cursed by God and Christ was damned and cursed for us. The explanation of this verse raises more questions than can be answered. It will take eternity to plumb the depths of the sufferings of the Saviour and the full weight of the meaning of this verse. It is a meaning before which we ought to bow our heads in silent worship, to stand in awe about what is happening here rather than to venture any further in trying to exhaust this sublime experience of Christ.

This cry is a way of expressing the horrors of abandonment, rather than a question looking for an answer. Jesus had already anticipated this dreadful moment when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was to this hour that the Father had sent him and he had offered himself to go.

When they came to arrest him –

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’

(Jn. 18:4 NIV)

So the Saviour didn’t have to ask why, he knew the answer but he expressed the agony. He took the words of the Psalm upon his lips fulfilling their meaning.

As Jesus knew the beginning, he also anticipated the outcome

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. 22:30-31 NIV)

It is finished, the redemption and atonement are complete. In every generation, out of every nation they will come and embrace salvation because Christ has died.

Man of sorrows, what a name!

Prayer
Our Heavenly Father we thank you that our Saviour dies for us. That he was abandoned that we will never have to be abandoned. Lord God we stand in awe before the cross and silently bow our heads in worship because there we see that we have been loved with an everlasting love. Lord thank you for loving us and sending Christ to die for us. Receive our thanks in Jesus’ name. Amen

bd nEy E iyU yDLTFthVk