In Psalm 22, David goes from despair, to remembering what the Lord has done in the past, to praising God:
Despair – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” (Psalm 22:1-2). Have you ever felt like that? At times it can feel as though the Lord is not working on our behalf, but what helps David in times of despair is remembering what the Lord has done in the past.
Remember – “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed” (Psalm 22:3-5). David remembers the Lord’s faithfulness in the past, and he trusts that if God was faithful then, He will be faithful today and always. David is a man who knows the Lord and His story. Therefore, David knows the character of God, and the knowledge of the character of God leads David to praise and worship.
Praise – “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard” (Psalm 22:22-24).
Our feelings can lead us to a place of loneliness, hopelessness, and despair. But when we take our eyes off of our circumstances and place them on the Lord, we can have hope. David finds hope when he remembers what the Lord has done in the past. Later in the story, Paul is going to say, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Since David’s hope is found in the Lord, David puts his life in the hands of God and trusts that He is using his life to accomplish His purposes – and He is! David says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:2-3).
The Lord is working His plan of salvation through David and his descendants. God is sending Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, to sacrifice Himself for us so that we may be deemed righteous. We see a prophecy of what is to come when Jesus arrives on the scene in one of David’s psalms that we read today – “They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:16-18).
The Lord is sending Jesus as the final atoning sacrifice to shed His blood for the sins of the world. And when Jesus comes, they will strip Him before piercing His hands and His feet, and the soldiers will cast lots to divide His garments (Matthew 27:35). And while Jesus is hanging on the cross, He too will cry out as David did to the Lord – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus will experience temporary suffering on the cross when He takes on our sins, and He will willingly do it knowing that the ultimate outcome is victory. Because three days after His death and burial, Jesus will rise from the grave defeating death (1 Corinthians 15:4). And after forty days here on Earth, Jesus will be taken up into heaven where He will sit at the right hand of His Father (Mark 16:19).
The prophet Isaiah will later say regarding the sacrifice of Jesus, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him” (Isaiah 53:10). Why did it please the Lord to slaughter His Son? So that we may have an abundant life, full of joy, here on Earth and for eternity – that is how much the Lord loves us! “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Rest assured that the Lord is never inactive. He is always working to accomplish His plans and His purposes, working all things for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). So we can have hope as we wait on Him to act on our behalf – “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:4). Keep reading. (Psalms 22-26)