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FRAMEWORKS: Psalm 22: Anguish leading to Confidence & Amazing Prophecy


For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.


[Preliminary Comments: This psalm is unique in its clarity AND confusion, in its profundity AND simplicity. On one hand it shows David in a state of great anguish because of his enemies threatening his very life, calling on the Lord, but on the other hand there are things that, if applied only to him, seem a little over the top. It is only when we realise that we are hearing the prophetic cry of the Christ on the Cross does it truly make sense and give us a far deeper understanding of what the Son of God went through at Calvary. For this reason we will adopt main subheadings and then in the notes that follow each section, apply them first as for David and then, second, for Jesus. As we will see the first 18 verses are expressions of anguish, interspersed with two sets of regaining perspective verses. In the remaining verses the tide of faith has turned and we see constant declarations of confidence in the Lord.]





v.1,2 David cries out to the Lord from a position of anguish


v.1  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
     Why are you so far from saving me,
     so far from my cries of anguish?
v.2  My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
     by night, but I find no rest.


[Notes: David: Feels a time where Gd is distant, not turning up for him in his time of need. He cries out but seems to get no answer.

Jesus: The cry on the cross Mt 27:46 as sin overwhelms him and blots out the vision of the Father.]



v.3-5 Yet he makes what he knows of the Lord his anchor


v.3  Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
     you are the one Israel praises.
v.4  In you our ancestors put their trust;
     they trusted and you delivered them.
v.5  To you they cried out and were saved;
     in you they trusted and were not put to shame.


[Notes: David: He falls back on what he has known, that God reigns, the One who delivered Israel and had ben there for them throughout their past history.

Jesus: In the blackness of the Cross he too declares the truth.]



v.6-8 He feels utterly opposed by others


v.6  But I am a worm and not a man,
     scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
v.7  All who see me mock me;
     they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
v.8  “He trusts in the Lord ,” they say,
     “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
     since he delights in him.”


[Notes: David: His enemies have demeaned him and he feels a nobody. It has the feel of what some would have been saying when he fled from Absalom.

Jesus: Physical pain fuels emotional anguish but is added to by the derision he received while hanging on the cross – see Mt 27:39-44]



v.9-11 So yet again he regains perspective – God with him throughout life


v.9  Yet you brought me out of the womb;
     you made me trust in you, even at my mother's breast.
v.10  From birth I was cast on you;
     from my mother's womb you have been my God.

v.11  Do not be far from me,
     for trouble is near and there is no one to help.


[Notes: David: seeks to hold on by remembering the relationship he has had with the Lord since a child.

Jesus: reminds himself of who he is, the Son of God from the beginning.]



v.12,13 His enemies surround him to destroy him


v.12  Many bulls surround me;
     strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
v.13  Roaring lions that tear their prey
     open their mouths wide against me.

[Notes: David: his enemies surround him and his life is under severe threat.

Jesus: no doubt screamed and shouted at by the invisible demonic hordes of Satan, seeking to get him to cry out denying God.]



v.14,15 Physically he feels terrible


v.14  I am poured out like water,
     and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
     it has melted within me.
v.15  My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
     and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
     you lay me in the dust of death.


[Notes: David: he feels a physical wreck.

Jesus: hanging on the cross in agony is aware of every bone and every joint and his mouth dries up so he cries, “I am thirsty” Jn 19:28]



v.16-18 His enemies bring him down


v.16  Dogs surround me,
     a pack of villains encircles me;
     they pierce my hands and my feet.
v.17  All my bones are on display;
     people stare and gloat over me.
v.18  They divide my clothes among them
     and cast lots for my garment.


[Notes: David: Again the emphasis is on his awareness of his enemies seeking to attack hm in every way possible, and his self-awareness of feeling utterly down and having his life stripped away.

Jesus: A threefold summary of what has happened – the harsh soldier pierced him with thorns and nails, he is hung out on display and his clothes are taken – see Jn 19:23,24)





v.19-21 Yet the Lord will be his deliverer


v.19  But you, Lord , do not be far from me.
     You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
v.20   Deliver me from the sword,
     my precious life from the power of the dogs.
v.21   Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
     save me from the horns of the wild oxen.


[Notes: David: Fourfold prayer request for help.

Jesus? possibly the same and in what follows.]



v.22-24 Yet he is assured that the Lord will help


v.22  I will declare your name to my people;
     in the assembly I will praise you.
v.23  You who fear the Lord , praise him!
     All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
     Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
v.24  For he has not despised or scorned
     the suffering of the afflicted one
he has not hidden his face from him
     but has listened to his cry for help.


[Notes: David: Despite everything he will praise the Lord and remain true to Him.]



v.25,26 Before God he will praise, knowing God is there even for the poor


v.25  From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
     before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
v.26  The poor will eat and be satisfied;
     those who seek the Lord will praise him—
     may your hearts live forever!


[Notes: David: He holds to the truth that God is to be praised by His people for He will be there for them.]



v.27,28 All the earth will realize God reigns and is there for all


v.27  All the ends of the earth
     will remember and turn to the Lord ,
and all the families of the nations
     will bow down before him,
v.28  for dominion belongs to the Lord
     and he rules over the nations. 


[Notes: David: Continues to declare the truth: the Lord rules and all will bow before him.]



v.29-31 The Great & the Poor will worship, continuing through all generations


v.29  All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
     all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
     those who cannot keep themselves alive.
v.30  Posterity will serve him;
     future generations will be told about the Lord.
v.31  They will proclaim his righteousness,
     declaring to a people yet unborn:
     He has done it!


[Notes: David: Whether rich or poor, all will eventually come and bow before Him who has provided for them, now and in future generations.]



[Additional Thoughts: For David, even though prophesying about the Messiah (without realizing it), he is obviously going through a most trying time himself, a time of anguish and desperation – not uncommon in his writings! Again and again he seeks to regain perspective (see v.3-5 & 9-11) in the midst of his anguishing which is general in v,1 & 2, specific about those who oppose him [v.6-8, 11 & 12, 16 to 18], leaving him physically worn out [v.14,15].

But then the psalm takes a turn and in the remaining verses faith pours forth a variety of declarations of the Lord greatness and goodness. In he midst of troubles, the truths about the Lord remain unchanging.]



Continue to Psa 23