Psalm 22 is a Psalm with deep significance. It is read aloud each year at The Passover Seder. Every faithful Jewish person knows it, the way every student from my generation knows The Gettysburg Address, or the Pledge of Allegiance. It is the psalm that Jesus quoted as He hung dying on the cross when He gave His life for us. He only had to say that first sentence and every Jewish person in attendance who had just celebrated the Passover Seder remembered the Psalm and couldn’t help but see the prophetic words manifested.
Verses 1-2 read,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.”
There are times when we feel as if God has left us, when we feel as if we are suffering with no end, crying out to God with no answer. But we know that isn’t true. Abandonment is a lie from the devil. God will never leave us.
Jesus knew God wouldn’t and couldn’t forsake Him. He is God. He took all our sins upon Himself and at that moment He represented the conflict between God and man. God doesn’t forsake us, we forsook Him until we accepted the gift of Salvation. God is Holy and He is good beyond what we can fathom. Man is separated from God by sin. Verses 3-5 read,
“Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”
The Old Covenant called for a relationship based on laws. It was getting to know who God is by following the law. Israel could trust God because He gave the Law, He led them through the wilderness, He anointed them with the Law, and He delivered them to The Promised Land. The Jewish nation got to know God and could have faith in Him, because when they cried out He answered.
When we cry out to God, when we call on the name of Jesus, He redeems us. He removes our sin. We are no longer sentenced to death. We are destined for eternal life. Romans 8:1-4 says,
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Jesus, the Son of God came to earth and was like us. He experienced life like us, yet He remained sinless through it. He followed the law perfectly but refused to give in to the ritual rules and tradition that the Pharisees worshipped. Jesus completely empathized with us. The religious hated Him. The powerful despised Him.
David cried out about his enemies and haters taunting him. And when he did, He described what was happening to Jesus as He chose to give us His life for the New Covenant which would allow us to know God on a level more intimate than the Law could. Verses 6-8 read,
“But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Now read Matthew 27:41-43
“So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
Psalm 22:9-13 read,
“Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.”
From before we were born God chose us. He has been sovereign over us, and He makes us His glory. (Romans 8:28-30). The devil, our enemy seeks to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8-11). He wants to use suffering to hurt us, yet God uses it for our good.
Jesus suffered and His anguish was good for us. His torment on the cross, His death for us, is the crux of the New Covenant. We can suffer horribly. It will never be worse than what Jesus willingly suffered for us. Our suffering is often the consequences of our own poor choices, but Jesus was innocent. He agonized for us. We may feel alone through our tribulations, but we are not. Jesus understands. The Holy Spirit has sealed us for eternal life. Verses 14-18 read,
“I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet--
17 I can count all my bones--
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
I have felt like that, my heart melted and completely alone in the midst of people who want me devastated. I was not alone. David felt it. You’ve probably felt like that. And my God, Jesus Christ underwent it. Matthew 27:33-36 describes His torment.
“And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there.”
God is our Salvation! Jesus our Messiah was pierced for our transgressions! (Isaiah 53:5). We need Him and He answers. He is with us. He never leaves. He understands. He cares. He saved us from Satan. He was hated, yet He loves us. We have been and are hated if we truly are the image of Christ. (Matthew 10:22). He saved us and we respond by glorifying Him, by praising Him, and by testifying to who He is. The devil despises us. God adores us. Verses 19-24 read,
“But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.”
Jesus gives us eternal life. Life, not only on this earth, but forever on the New Earth. Salvation is for all of us, none have to be excluded, Jew or gentile, rich or poor. All we have to do is call on Jesus. Verses 25-31 read,
“From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.”
You are not forsaken. God has not and will not abandon you. You have not been rejected. Give your shame to God and let Him make you new. You can trust in Him. He understands. He cares. He loves. He is with you, now and always.