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Read Psalm 22

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.
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!

Go Deeper

Throughout Scripture, we see examples of God working outside the boundary of explanation: Daniel in the lion’s den, Hannah’s prayer for a child, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace- stories of the impossible.

Psalm 22 is quite possibly one of the best examples we have of God’s miracle-working power. Charles Spurgeon called this chapter “the Psalm of the Cross”, describing both the darkness and the glory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He also said it should be read with reverence: “Putting off our shoes from our feet, as Moses did at the burning bush, for if there be holy ground anywhere in Scripture it is in this psalm.” This should cause us to pause and read this chapter again more closely. David continues to exemplify faith in action as he has in previous chapters, showing us his grief, honesty, and transparency–followed quickly by his praise. But, here he also gives us direct and clear signals that point to the One who would be the ultimate “But, God” story.  

Upon closer examination, we can see that verses 1-21 describe the agony that Jesus would experience. Jesus even quotes this Psalm while hanging on the cross (Matthew 27:46). Verse 15 references Jesus’ thirst on the cross (John 19:28), and verse 18 foreshadows those who cast lots for His clothing (Matthew 27:35). Did David know of what he was prophesying or was he simply faithful to speak the words that God placed on his heart? Either way, he knew his God and he trusted His word, even when he was scorned and mocked for doing so (verses 7-8). 

Do we, like David, trust God when our situation feels impossible? Are we honest and transparent with our feelings, recognizing that even David and Jesus felt forsaken by God? Things seemed impossible for them, and they were honest with God about their heartbreak. Yet, they trusted and worshipped. They knew that God sat on His throne as the Holy One, and He was not far from them. They knew that their situation was humanly impossible.  

But, God.  

Questions

  1. What is your favorite story of God miraculously intervening in Scripture?
  2. What situation seems impossible to you today?
  3. Have you been honest with God about how you are feeling? Don’t worry–He can handle it and wants an honest and transparent relationship with you!

Did you know?

Some versions of Psalm 22 translate the last verse as “It is Finished.” This draws another comparison to this chapter as the Psalm of the Cross, as it begins and ends with words spoken by Jesus on the cross.

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3 thoughts on “Psalm 22”

  1. When I was reading this this morning I felt I was there with Jesus on the cross and witnessed what He was going through. Such a wonderful psalm.

  2. Psalm 22 is titled “From Suffering to Praise” in my copy of scripture. David is once again under siege from his enemies. He bears his soul, honestly feeling hopeless and deserted by God who has helped him in the past. David uses powerful images to portray his enemies, bulls, lions, dogs & evil men. He is exhausted from fighting and his come to the end of his strength. Yet again, David models that true prayer is all about God’s faithfulness in spite of our circumstances. The parallels between David and Christ’s crucifixion are striking. What glorious truths and hope are contained in this chapter!
    1 Peter 5:10 says “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm & steadfast.” Verse 30 challenges me to continually serve and share the glorious hope we have, the One who rescues & delivers and never hides his face from our cries.

  3. I think of this verse often that we learned last summer: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
    Praise God always!

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