Out Of Despair, Thanks
God of hope and help, show me more of Your ways today as I read and meditate on Your Word.
Read Psalm 22:1-31
 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
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.
“My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me” (1). Ponder Jesus’ words from the cross, and what they mean to you.
When we know Scripture, we read Psalm 22 and see the pitiable sight of the crucified God-man Jesus, and hear his cry of desperation. We know it is our sin separating him from his beloved Father as he is emotionally and physically abandoned, bearing our guilt. Later verses of this psalm remind us that our shame, too, is laid on him as he suffers the disgrace (6-8) of public spectacle, his bones out of joint (14), his tongue sticking to the roof of his mouth (15). Mockers circle his tortured body as others cast lots for his garments (18). We can imagine him nearly naked in these hours of torment; our shame laid on him is as distressing as our guilt.
Those of us who have suffered depression, or been close to someone who has, can also hear in these verses echoes of the psalmist’s deep distress, and it startles us. Was this young David’s story, harassed and hiding in a cave with enemies encircling him like wild animals? Is it ours? Even as it sounds familiar, we realize that in our darkest hour Jesus has known what we are experiencing and has gone further, into and through death itself.
At a first reading, the optimism, the public testimony, the praise and worship of the second half of the psalm seem strangely out of tune with this very real understanding of human despair. Yet from v. 22, the psalm takes the form of a celebration of a prayer fulfilled, of deliverance even from the jaws of death. So it is indeed a celebration of the Messiah (as in Acts 2:30; Heb. 2:12), of what he has done for the one who prayed, and testimony to the whole congregation.
The psalm ends with a shout of praise reminiscent of Jesus’ cry from the cross: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). What work do you want the Lord to finish in or for you?
Lord Jesus, I offer my thanks to You for Your completed work for my redemption. I pray You will continue Your sanctifying work in me as I surrender to You.
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