A Prophetic Psalm

Psalm 22

1My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant?Why do you ignore my cries for help?

2Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.

3Yet you are holy. The praises of Israel surround your throne.

4Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them.

5You heard their cries for help and saved them. They put their trust in you and were never disappointed.

6But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all!

7Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying,

8“Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him!If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!”

9Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you when I was a nursing infant.

10I was thrust upon you at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.

11Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me.

12My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!

13Like roaring lions attacking their prey, they come at me with open mouths.

14My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.My heart is like wax, melting within me.

15My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.

16My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet.

17I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat.

18They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments. (Psalm 22:1-18, NLT)


The Daily DAVEotional

Usually when I read the psalms, I think of poetic arrangements that communicate lament or praise from the author. I often try to put myself in the shoes of the author and imagine similar circumstances I may have experienced. I seek to lament with the psalmist when he laments and rejoice and praise God with the psalmist when he praises God.

On the surface, Psalm 22 may look like a typical psalm of lament or anguish but upon deeper reflection, it turns out to be so much more. I don’t usually think of the Psalms as prophetic, but Psalm 22 provides a number of verses in which David’s experience ultimately foreshadows the experience of the Messiah.

In verse 1, for example, David utters the very words that are expressed by Jesus on the cross in Matthew 27:46, when he cried out, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”

In verse 7, David’s words accurately describe events that occurred in Matthew 27:39-43, when soldiers mocked Jesus after his arrest and onlookers jeered at Him during His crucifixion.

In verses 14-16, David accurately describes details of a crucifixion, such as extreme thirst, asphyxiation and the trauma to the hands and feet. These verses are all the more amazing because crucifixion as a means of execution was not known until Roman times.

Finally, in verse 18, David’s description of clothes being divided and dispersed by the casting of lots is fulfilled in Matthew 27:35.

All of these events were fulfilled by people who would have had no knowledge of the prophecies concerning Jesus. Yet their actions were accurately described over 1000 years earlier by the very man through whose lineage the Messiah would emerge.

David is not fearful of sharing all his emotions when he pens his words. He is honest with God when he’s sad, lonely and angry. Yet he praises God in spite of his circumstances and in the case of this psalm, his words foreshadow the emergence of the Messiah, the one who ultimately experiences everything David is feeling as he writes those words, yet emerges victorious as the Savior and eternal King!

Reflection

What has been your experience in reading and reflecting on the Psalms? How have they helped you to connect to God on a deeper level?

What is your response to the verses in this Psalm that are Messianic in nature, as they predict events that the promised Messiah would endure?

How do these verses strengthen your faith in the Holy Scriptures as an accurate revelation from God?

 

Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash