The Shadow of the Cross
Lord God, enable my heart and mind to take in all that You have for me in Your Word today.
Read Psalm 22:1-31
 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?  My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.  Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.  In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.  To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.  But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.  All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.  “He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”  Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.  From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.  Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.  Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me.  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.  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.  Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.  All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.  But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.  Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.  Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.  I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.  You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!  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.  From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.  The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him- may your hearts live forever!  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,  for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.  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.  Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.  They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it! Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat echoes of Jesus' crucifixion do you find here?
Lament and distress are not welcome ingredients in the diet of most worship leaders. Better, we think, to lift the spirits with joyful praise and to sound the note of victory. This psalm is not likely to inspire too many song writers today! That’s a pity for two reasons. Sometimes lament is precisely what we long to express, when it appears as though the heavens are closed to our prayers and our hearts alternate between trust and despair. Also, lament arouses in us empathy for those whose lives are afflicted by that sense of everything being “out of joint” (14) or facing their own roaring bulls and ravening lions (12,13). Psalms such as these enrich our ability to enter into others’ shoes and pray for them. The second reason is that it has become identified with Christ’s passion. In Matthew’s account, the first sentence of this psalm is on Jesus’ lips (Matt. 27:46). He is the one despised (6,7), bones out of joint, dry of mouth, his coat gambled for. While the psalmist has gotten through his troubles to see the goodness of God, for Jesus that road embraces death before resurrection.
Do you need to lament before God (for yourself or for another)? If so, do it now. God is listening.
Lord, I pray for all who find themselves in despair, suffering or isolation. Be with them now and save them.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.