“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2)
Life hurts, and sometimes God seems far away. But if you feel forsaken or forgotten, know this: You are not alone. Jesus not only experienced feelings of being abandoned, He actually was forsaken. The Father turned away from Jesus when our guilt and sin were placed upon the Lamb of God, and he was punished. Jesus endured real abandonment from God, so that you and I would never have to be turned away. This is a major takeaway from Psalm 22.
The opening cry is the most well-known verse in the Psalm, since it was fulfilled when it became Jesus’s own cry of abandonment while he hung upon the cross (Mark 15:34). But there is more here.
These were first the words of King David, as his cry echoed the intensity of suffering in a fallen world. It paints a portrait of life in the darkest tones of gray. Here we see the reality of hurt, and its effects. But we also find hope that transcends pain and loss. The transparency of Psalm 22 allows us to enter David’s painful world, and then see the one to whom the Holy Spirit ultimately pointed—the Man of Sorrows, and our coming King, Jesus Christ.
For our sakes, the Holy Spirit recorded David’s real-life experiences in such a way that they also perfectly foreshadowed the Savior’s suffering. As David’s greater Son, the trouble and abuse our Savior endured are thoroughly described.
Today’s meditation is more like a personal Bible study. To get the most out of it, you will want to open your Bible to Psalm 22, and let me help you see Jesus. Consider how David’s laments are brought to completion in the sufferings of our Savior.
Consider the sufferings of Jesus.
- Deep sense of abandonment, loss of relationship (vv. 1-2). Compare these verses with Mark 15:33-34.
- Despised by others (v. 6). Meditate on Isaiah 53:3.
- Looks of contempt, mocking gestures (v. 7). Read Mark 15:27-30.
- Verbal assault and insult (v. 8). See this fulfillment in Mark 15:31-32 and Luke 23:39.
- Alone and in trouble (v. 11). For one example, read Matthew 26:38-40.
- Surrounded by enemies (vv. 12-13). Compare Matthew 26:43-46.
- Crushed spirit, physical exhaustion to the point of death (v. 14-15). Meditate on John 19:28-30.
- Intense pain, physical abuse (v. 16). John 19:1-3 describes some, as does Luke 23:33.
- Humiliation (v. 17). For one example, read Luke 23:35.
- Shame of nakedness (v. 18). See its fulfillment in Matthew 27:28, 35.
- Need for outside help (vv. 19-21). Read Mark 14:35-36, 15:20-21.
Nevertheless, mingled throughout the horrific suffering described here are truths about the character of God. He is the ultimate source of hope and strength.
Consider the strength of God.
- God is holy and sovereign (v. 3).
- God is trustworthy (4).
- God is dependable (v. 5).
- God is near (vv. 9-10).
- God is our helper (v. 19-21).
As the psalm winds down to its ending, you see more and more glimpses of King David’s faith in the coming Messiah. God’s kingship is declared (vv. 27-28), while David continues to seek the tenderness and love which flow from God’s sympathetic heart.
Consider the sympathy of God.
- God is aware of your suffering (v. 24).
- God will take care of you (v. 26).
Life hurts, but God heals. He heals through Jesus. Because of Jesus’s suffering, you can be assured there is no grief or loss you experience that is outside his understanding or compassion. Nothing beyond his redemption.
So when your heart is broken, and your soul is disillusioned, turn your eyes upon Jesus. He truly understands and cares. And he is the lover of your soul.