May 19th 2020 – Psalm 22

"To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and there is none to help.

12 Many bulls encompass me;
    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
    like a ravening and roaring lion.

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

16 For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
    O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dog!
21     Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
    May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it."

Psalm 22

We still have not answered, however, the question 'Why?' Two things must be said, and the first is this: What is it that is able to cut off a soul from God? The answer is: sin. Elsewhere, the Psalmist says, 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me'. This is the issue, and end, of sin: it separates from God. But how could this happen to Christ? He was sinless. 'Which of you', He said, 'convinceth Me of sin?' How could this happen to Him? There is but one answer: it was for sins not His own that He suffered so. This is the proof that He died as a Saviour. He could not have been separated from God otherwise, nor could He have died otherwise. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, being made sin for us, and this is what it involved, and cost Him.

The second thing is this: Why did Jesus ask why God had forsaken Him? Did He not know? Had He not voluntarily and willingly gone to the Cross, knowing it would involve separation from God? Ah, yes. But this belongs to the very essence of the experience of becoming sin for our sakes. To do so was to cut Himself off from God, and in that dereliction His consciousness of what was happening was clouded. That is the real heart of the agony. To have been able to go through it all, and still know that all was well, would not have plumbed the ultimate depths of the mystery of iniquity. He must forgo even that knowledge. It is this that made it a hell for Him. He descended into hell, the place of hopelessness, darkness and despair. It was there, at that point, where the Son of God lost the last, final consciousness of the Father's love - there, that atonement was made and pardon bought and won for men. Ah, does it not bring tears to our eyes, tears of love and gratitude and adoration? What a Saviour!