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Home For Middle Easterners Psalm 22 My God, My God, Why . . ? Ross Tucker

Psalm 22 My God, My God, Why . . ? Ross Tucker

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Psalm 22

My God, My God, Why . .   ?

by Ross Tucker,  PhD

It  must be a terrible thing to come to a point in your life where your despair of evrything, even life itself. You wonder how your life has come to this. Psalm 22 is a paslm that describes such a situation in the life of the psalmist.  The psalm was probably used as a liturgy, in which the worshipper moves from lament, to prayer, to thanksgiving. The words of the lament imply the worshipper's deep state of distress prior to the liturgy; although in the original context, the words represent the particular experiences of the worshippers, which differ from person to person.

1. The Lament: vv. 2-5

The worshipper begins by expressing the darkest mystery of his suffering, namely the sense of being forsaken by God. It is a mystery because it appears to be grounded in contradiction between theology and experience. Theology, based on the traditions and experiences of the past unambiguaously reminds us that trust in God results in deliverance (v.4). It was the grounding of the whole covenant of Israel that those who trusted in the holy God of the covenant would not be disappointed. But on the other side was the fundamenal problem-the apparent farsaking of God at the moment if crisis.
Vv.6-11  the psalmist cries out, that if apparent dissertion by God is not enouugh, those around him are of little comfort, for they mock him and insult him and ridicule him in the face of his suffering. They especially mock him because of his expectation that God would deliver him from his trouble and suffering.

The psalmist cannot believe that his life has come to this, vv9-10-he has also been with God and trusted God, how could he now end up in this situation.

V.11 he cried out to God to uphold him in his loneliness and forsakeness.

Vv 13-19 the psalmist outlines the something of the trouble that surround him. He is trapped, his enemies encircle him, all hope appears to gone. His enemies are like wild bulls of Bashan or roaring lions hungry for a kill; like dogs after food. The psalmist  is "poured out like water" we might use a more modern idiom - "we are completely wash out." His bones are useless in his weakened state-he knowns they are all there, he can feel them but he can't use them; he is just too weak.  Yet not dead, he felt he already been disposed to the dust.

VV.20-22b The desperate plight of the psalmist pushes him to prayer to plead for the removal of what he perceives as God forsaking him, and for the enemies who surround him.
This prayer then breaks from a plea into praise for God, for God reveals to the suffering psalmist that HE has not foresaken him, but has in fact answered him cry for help; answered his cry for deliverance. He then highlights the blessing of those who cry to the Lord for help; they will be answered and receive deliverance and will praise the Lord for His mighty salvation for generations to come. Acknowledging His sovereignty and His righteous

2. Messianic Prophecy:

What is intersting about this psalm is that parts of it are quoted by the Lord Jesus while He hung on the cross.

Matthew 27:46 Jesus cried out in a loud  voice, "Eloi, Eloi. lama sabachthani?" -which menas "My God, my God, why have you foresaken me?"

When Jesus asked why he was foresaken, it was not with impatience or despair, it was not sinful questioning of God as someone with a rebellious spirit might do. But the cry of one separated from the love and presence of the Father. Jesus felt the abandonment of the Father on the cross -in what way we may never known. Could there be a physical seperation of the persons of the Trinity? Was it a moral separation as some suggest? That when Christ bore the sins of God's people, He became the great sin -bearer and was morally separated from God. Whatever it was, it was of the greatest agony and torment to Christ.

Like most prophetic material in the OT there are different layers or different ways in which the prophecy can be interpreted. There is the immediate context; there is a future context often with implication for the people which depends on the obedience to the Lord; and there is often a long term future context which may or may not be messianic (ie refers to the future coming Messiah).

Much of the OT, including many of the psalms are messianic. In Luke 24:13-27 especially v27 Jesus indicates how the OT points to Him.

Jesus often spoke to fulfill Scripture, such as on the cross.

John 19:28 ". . .knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."

When the Lord Jesus cried out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me? He was experincing the emptiness and abandonment of God; rejected as a sinner because He carried our sins. Punished like a sinner, bearing the wrath of God for us. As Paul writes in 2Cor. 5:21 "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus cried out in order to fulfill the Scripture.

This psalm is messianic in many other ways. In v4. we see how the psalmist put his trust God, even though he faced such dispair. Likewise we see Jesus putting his trust in his heavenly Father to the point of giving up his life; to the point of enduring the extreme agony and shame on the cross. Jesus faced the temptations and trials in the Garden of Gesthemene. He wrestled with the what he knew was in front of Him; of giving up His life--of bearing the wrath of God for all of God's elect.
In Verse 8 we see also the correponding mockery Jesus received because of what he had said through His ministry. He had claimed to be God, He had claim that he would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days; He claimed to be the long expected Messiah of God. On the cross he was taunted and mocked by the religious leaders and others who looked on at him whlie he hung on the cross.

Verses12-18 describe this mockery  in further detail. V17 reflects how the Lord  felt the pain of his crucufixion -he could feel the agony in his bones  as people gloated over Him. V.15 reflects how He was physically weakened as he hung there and how thirsty he was. He cried out "I am thirsty")

Verse 16 describes how He is encirlced by evil men who have pierced my hands and feet.

Verse 18 prophectically reveals how His clothes were gambles for by casting lots.

In  verse 21 the psalmist cries out for  deliverance from his suffering. In applying this to Jesus we see that God delivers Jesus from the pain and suffering which He is bearing by bringing Him to a quick death. Jesus cries out to the Father:

"Father , into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 232:46 ); and then was delivered. The Father answered Him, and Jesus cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30 ). Jesus' work of redemption was completed and so was His suffering. God had answered Him.

The universal application of this psalm to the nations and to the generations can only find its fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ. This psalm is clearly messianic, point to Christ. In past generations many people have loved the psalms, learned many of them of by heart and recited them in times of need. But if the psalms are no more than inspirational poetry to you then you have missed to whole point of them. Many of the psalms, like psalm 22 point to Christ, they direct us to Him and His work on the cross and in His resurrection.

What do you see when you read this psalm? Do you see Jesus? Amen.

Ross Tucker, PhD


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