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.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
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.”
9 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!
We are seeing Psalm by Psalm that all Psalms find their fulfilment in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus himself told his disciples that all the Psalms, along with the whole Old Testament are fulfilled in his death and resurrection (Luke 24:44). Yet if any Psalm transports us directly to the foot of the cross it is Psalm 22.
There at the foot of the cross, we hear Jesus crying out the very words of verse 1: “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) – Matthew 27:46. We hear the insults of verse 7 directed at Jesus. We witness precisely the mockery of verse 8 hurled at Jesus. We see the pierced hands and feet of verse 16 as those of Jesus. We hear echoes of verse 18, as soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing.
What we don’t yet see at the cross is the rescue of verse 21. What we don’t yet see at the cross is the praise of verse 25. What we don’t yet see at the cross are people from the ends of the earth and future generations remembering the Lord as in verse 27 and verse 30. And yet we are right to look for these things. The first half of this Psalm is so precisely fulfilled by Jesus. Will he not also precisely fulfil its second half? That indeed is the deeper meaning of Jesus crying out the first verse of this Psalm from the cross. To quote the first verse of a Psalm is to invite people to recall its entirety. So where do we see its second half fulfilled?
We see that God has rescued Jesus from death as his apostles announce his resurrection (Acts 2:24). We see the risen Jesus praised as Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:26). We see salvation announced to “your children and all who far off” (Acts 2:39) – we see people from the ends of the earth and future generations remembering the Lord.
Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 22? What have you learnt about yourself?
Heart: How does it make you feel that he was forsaken by God for your salvation?
Hands: How might you praise him today?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that Jesus is the forsaken one of Psalm 22. And thank you that he is the rescued, praised, saving one of Psalm 22. I give praise to Jesus as the one who people from all nations will praise eternally. Please help me to declare his praises today in word and action. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.