I don’t know about you, but I am a getting tired of “OMG!” being bandied about every time someone is taken by surprise. Such a meaningless exclamation!
But did you know that the phrase “my God” (“O my God” appears mainly in the KJV) occurs over 500 times in the Bible, with over 100 of these in the Psalms. And in Psalm 22, it appears 4 times. The most well-known being in verse 1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, having been prayed by Jesus on the Cross. The others being verse 2, “My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”, and verse 10, “From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”
And in the Bible, the phrase, “my God” is far from some meaningless exclamation. In fact, it is usually used in prayer.
So, before we get into this amazing Psalm 22, and there is much to discover here, we will consider some truths concerning this often used phrase, “my God”.
Firstly, consider just a few examples of the times these words are used in the Psalms:
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)
In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. (Psalm 25:1)
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. (Psalm 42:1)
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)
Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack. (Psalm 56:1)
Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me. (Psalm 71:12)
Basically, this is the language of a very unique relationship, and, as Broyles says, “the theology of this relationship may be encapsulated in the title ‘my God’. He continues that the individual prayer psalms “reflect the conviction that Yahweh answers when called upon. Their common divine title is ‘my God’, in which the worshipper is making a claim to a special relationship with the deity. In these psalms…the worshiper’s obligations are to trust (e.g. 31:14), to call upon God when in distress (e.g. 71:12), and to praise God once delivered (e.g. 30:11-12)…The obligations implicit upon Yahweh are to delight in the individual (22:8)…to hear his cries for help (22:24)…and to deliver him (22:4-5, 8)…The personal guardian God of the worshiper is none other than Yahweh, the God of Israel, the Most High, the one incomparable to all other spiritual beings…[and in Psalm 22 we see that] the intimacy of this relationship is most poignantly illustrated in the speaker’s birth story [“From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” 22:9-10].” (see references # 4)
We often talk about “my mother”, or “my brother” or “my child”, and that’s exactly what we mean. We are in a very intimate family relationship with that other person which doesn’t change even if the distance between us is far (either geographically or even emotionally). They will always be mine!
But what about God? Is it a bit presumptuous to use this possessive pronoun “my” for the Creator of the universe, for the God and Father of Jesus? Well, if we believe what we read in the Bible, it seems the answer is ‘no’, because, firstly, God has no problem using it concerning us!
Listen to what he says:
In the OT:
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. (Psalm 50:7)
In the NT:
As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” (Romans 9:25-26)
As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10)
And then secondly, we see Jesus referring to God the Father as “my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17)
And Thomas, having doubted the resurrection, on seeing Jesus alive said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
By faith in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we can know that we belong to God, we are his beloved children and therefore we can speak of him and to him intimately as “my God”.
So, next time you hear someone use the exclamation “OMG!”, what about asking them to explain who they are referring to, and, if possible, ask them if you can tell them about the One who you have discovered to be “my Lord and my God”.
My Father, how incredible that you call us your people and we can refer to you as my God. Teach us to walk in your presence in such a way that you will be able to truly delight in us as your true sons and daughters. Amen.