Lord, thank You for suffering to redeem me.
Read PSALM 22
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
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?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
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.
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.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
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.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
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,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
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.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Read and reflect upon one of the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion.
The haunting opening words cry to us from the cross of Jesus. The closing words commission us to proclaim to the nations the salvation he obtained for us. In between we see the agony of our Savior suffering what it took to redeem us. If these words were only about a human being, we would be shocked at the level of suffering; but we see that our God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. This is the extent of the love of God for us. Whenever, like the psalmist, we feel that God has grown distant from us, we need to remember this separation within the Trinity that we might know and appreciate this love.
The fact that Christ on the cross cried out to God in this way should embolden us to cry out when we feel abandoned by God and the heavens seem oblivious to our prayers. It underlines the fact that Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because he himself suffered like this. It also teaches us that even when God appears distant we can still cry out to him. Just as Jesus was brought to the point where he could cry “It is finished” and say to his Father, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” so we can look for God’s response to our cry.
The psalmist does not look for Israel alone to hear of the greatness of her God but for all nations to come and worship him. He does not limit the proclamation of his message to one generation but also looks for those not yet born to rejoice in the deliverance of God. Like him, we have a message to be proclaimed to all people, and we are now seeing people from every nation respond to it. This is our God in action.
Find ways today to proclaim the truth of this psalm.
Oh God, comfort me when, like Jesus on the cross, I at times feel abandoned by You during stressful events here on earth.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.