My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (Psalm 22:1, NLT)
This is a Psalm of deep sorrow and intense persecution.
I’ve read Psalm 22 over and over through the years with the thought, “This is a psalm of David, but as I study the life of King David, I can’t find a period of time in his life that matches this type of suffering.”
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief (v. 2).
Yes, David fled from King Saul, endured the betrayal of his son Absalom, and sought forgiveness for his sin with Bathsheba. But nothing happened like the following descriptions . . .
My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet (v. 16).
And . . .
I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing (vv. 17-18).
I’ve had a journey with this psalm.
Realizing that it didn’t entirely relate to King David, the phrase “pierced my hands and feet” helped me understand that this psalm describes the suffering of Jesus.
There are two people of suffering in this psalm – King David and King Jesus.
This psalm describes victory in both; however, different types of victory for David and for Jesus.
The suffering of David yielded final victory in his life on earth. He died as King of Israel — his lineage secure — with his son Solomon ready to lead the nation. David’s prayers were answered with deliverance in his life . . .
For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them but has listened to their cries for help (v. 24).
But the suffering of Jesus ended in death, with eternity bringing full deliverance . . .
The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations (vv. 27-28).
Psalm 22 is about suffering with two conclusions: Sometimes we find our salvation on earth, but sooner or later, all will find salvation in heaven.
In both types of suffering, there is only one path to redemption . . .
All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy (v. 26).
This Psalm has a difficult message for us because some sicknesses will end in healing and some in death; some wars will be won by the righteous, and in other wars, a country will be defeated that contains both the righteous and unrighteous; and some of our requests will be answered, while with others God seems distant.
We walk by faith!
Fortunately, the suffering of Jesus assures us that when we have faith in Him, we will find ultimate peace in all our trials.
(A note: Interesting that this is Interruption #1040, and this psalm is about suffering. Some may have made the connection with income taxes!)