Summary: In Psalm 22 we find assurance in the truth of God’s plan of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Assurance and hope for all nations for all time.
Text: Psalm 22:1-31
Few of the Psalms are any more interesting and intriguing to study than Psalm 22.
But also, few of the Psalms are any more encouraging and motivating to our own faithfulness to God.
I. Overview Psalm 22
Psalm 22 is a "messianic" psalm: it is a prophecy of the Messiah (Christ, or "Anointed One") who was to come into the world.
1. Like other messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, Psalm 22 has two applications:
a. An immediate application at the time of its writing.
b. An ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
2. The psalm may originally have been written within the context of some ordeal of suffering that David went through, but its meaning goes far beyond anything David might have experienced personally.
3. Psalm 22 falls into two distinct parts, each arranged in a distinctive way.
a. The first part consists of sections which alternate between darkness and light: cries of desperation and prayers of confidence in God’s help - vv.1-21a.
b. The second part consists of widening circles of praise to God for His rule - vv.21b-31.
4. The turning point of the psalm is in the middle of v.21 when, in the midst of crying to God for deliverance, the psalmist suddenly cries out, "You have answered Me."
In our review of this psalm we will first look at its application to David and ourselves as followers of God. And then will examine its prophetic elements as they apply to Jesus.
II. Alternating Despair And Deliverance - Verses 1-21a
Darkness: I am forsaken by God - vv.1, 2.
"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent" (vv. 1,2).
1. As the Psalm begins, David is in a place of darkness, lamenting his perception that God has forsaken him in a time of despair. He is calling out day and night and his complaint is that God is not hearing his call for deliverance. He looks around himself in this world and sees no comfort, no source of aid.
2. How often do we find ourselves as David did, beset by problems, seemingly alone in our struggle with no source of comfort, and no source of aid? We recognize where David’s cry because we have given it voice ourselves.
Light: But God is still God - vv.3-5.
"But You are holy, who inhabit the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed" (vv. 3-5).
1. In verse three David lifts his eyes from this world and looks up to God and speaks of his confidence in God. He expresses his belief and trust in God as proven by the History of those who came before, those who trusted in God and whose trust was proven justified by the actions of God. They were not ashamed by having put their trust in God as God had delivered them.
2. We are recipients of the same comforting thought today. We have another three thousand years of history which proves the faithfulness of God to those with whom he as made a covenant of promise, all the more so in that we have witness to the fulfillment of Gods will in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
3. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, we have a great cloud of witnesses whose lives give testimony to the wisdom of trusting in God. And whose example and presence may serve to encourage and motivate us to stronger faith in God. (Hebrews 11; 12:1)
4. Even in his despair, when David lifts his eyes up to God he sees the light of the truth of God’s nature as proven through the history of those who trusted in Him.
Darkness: My enemies scorn and mock me - vv.6-8.
"But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All those who see Me laugh Me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ’He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’" (vv. 6-8).
1. Casting his eyes back down to the ground, to the world around him, David is again surrounded by darkness. His enemies mock and ridicule him, taunting his trust in God.
2. We recognize this attitude in those who oppose God and our faith in Him today. Our own belief and trust in God is often brought under ridicule, in overt and subtle ways.