For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
What an amazing, extraordinary psalm!
I remember well, sitting on a bus travelling home after work, reading my Bible. I was only 19, and a very new believer in Jesus, having put my faith in Him as my Lord and my God only a month or so earlier. At that time, the majority of the Bible was new to me, including the Psalms, which on that particular day I was reading through. Then, for the first time in my life I came across Psalm 22. I was amazed as I read it, thinking, ‘wait a minute, this is talking about Jesus!’ I didn’t need a commentary for that insight. It seemed so obvious to me.
And I was right of course. When read in the light of the story of the crucifixion of the Son of God, it is as if the writer was the Lord himself, impaled upon that terrible cross, suffering and dying for my sin and yours.
And yet, remarkedly, we know that it was actually written some 1000 years before the birth of Christ, most probably by David.
Kidner, commenting on this psalm says: “No Christian can read this without being vividly confronted with the crucifixion. It is not only a matter of prophesy minutely fulfilled, but of the sufferer’s humility – there is no plea for vengeance [like other psalms we have looked at] – and his vision of a worldwide ingathering of the gentiles.” (see references # 29)
As well as verse 1, quoted above, which is fulfilled in the gospels [See Matthew 27:45-46],
consider other verses in this psalm which were fulfilled at Calvary:
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
[See Matthew 27:39-44]
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…
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.
[See Mark 15:24, and John 19:23-24]
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
[This verse was quoted in Hebrews 2:12 as the words of Jesus, when the writer says:
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”]
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,
[consider the words of Paul in Philippians 2:9-11
“…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth…”]
In summary, let me quote the words of E M Blaiklock concerning this psalm:
“While accepting the traditional authorship, it is impossible to identify the occasion. Nor is it necessary. No choice is demanded between the historical and the predictive interpretations. They fuse, and in their fusing reveal how prophesy is inspired…the temporal [is] merged with the eternal, the human with the divine, and the theme broke the boundaries of the present and touched that which was yet to come. This cannot be other than a preview of the Crucifixion, a passionate and fearful picture of Calvary. It was seen by the Crucified Himself and accepted as the expression of his own desolation…[David’s] mortal words became immortal.” (See references # 37)
Father, your Word continues to amaze us, and particularly the many prophesies in the OT (not the least this Psalm) predicting the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus. Help me to keep ever learning new things from your Word and empower me by your Holy Spirit to apply the truths I learn in my everyday life. Amen.