Summary: For Christians Psalm 22 is a "messianic" psalm. But when it was written many would have seen the picture of a man struggling with doubt and despair, who overcame that hopelessness by what his mother taught him.
OPEN: An anonymous son wrote the following observations about his mother. He said that:
His Mother taught him LOGIC...
She once asked: "If everyone else jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"
His Mother taught him MEDICINE...
"If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way."
His Mother taught him how to BECOME AN ADULT...
"If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.
His Mother taught him about GENETICS...
"You are just like your father!"
His Mother taught him about my ROOTS...
"Do you think you were born in a barn?"
His Mother taught him about the WISDOM of AGE...
"When you get to be my age, you will understand," AND "I’ll explain it all when you get older."
His Mother taught him about ANTICIPATION...
"Just wait until your father gets home."
And the all time favorite thing his Mother taught him - JUSTICE
"One day you will have kids, & I hope they turn out just like you. Then you’ll see what it’s like!"
APPLY: As I was looking for a passage for preach for Mother’s Day, this Psalm caught my attention. What impressed me as I read it was the apparent connection between what mothers taught us and what we now believe about God.
Look with me at verses 9-10. Talking to God, the Psalmist says “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 upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”
Notice, the psalmist doesn’t talk about the faith he gained at his FATHER’S knee. Noooo, he’s telling us – about the depth of his faith he found when he was with his mother.
ILLUS: There was a recent study reported in the October 2004 issue of “Psychological Science” that showed that Children who have the good fortune to interact with their mothers a lot develop healthier consciences. In that article they said that toddlers were encouraged to imitate their mothers in such simple actions as playing tea party/tending to a stuffed animal.
In that part of the experiment the researchers graded the children based on their readiness to imitate what they observed. Then, in subsequent sessions, they evaluated those same children as they were enticed with prizes for games they could win only by cheating or breaking an object that had some value to them. What the researchers found was that toddlers who eagerly imitated their mothers were more likely to follow the rules and were more likely to exhibit a sense of guilt when they broke something.
One person (commenting on that research) stated that God has placed our conscience within us to monitor our behavior. The conscience is like a thermostat, but mothers apparently help us define the settings.
There are things that children learn from their mothers - that they cannot learn anywhere else.
Here in Psalm 22, the psalmist is telling us how critical his mother’s influence was for him.
· He tells how life had become almost unbearable for him. He’s been rejected and people have mocked him. He has seen and experienced how unfair life can be. And ultimately he’s come to believe that God wasn’t near to him anymore. That maybe God had even left him.
He’s filled with despair and hopelessness… and his world is falling to pieces around him. It’s in the midst of his misery he remembers the lessons he learned from his mother. And what might he have learn from his momma?
Well, Psalms 22:10 says that “From (his) birth (he) was cast upon (God)”. In other words, his mother raised him to look to God. She raised him to lean on God for strength and hope.
ILLUS: They say that Susannah Wesley (the mother of two great evangelists of the day – John Wesley and Charles Wesley) spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters.
Because of her faithfulness in pointing her children toward God John and Charles Wesley grew up to make a powerful mark on the culture of their day.
Here are a few rules she followed in training her children:
1. She rewarded politeness and good behavior. And she punished any sign of stubbornness and selfishness in her children
2. She taught her children to pray as soon as they could speak.
3. If she made a promise to her child… she kept it.
4. And if a child freely confessed a sin, she didn’t punish him. But rebellious behavior was always quickly dealt with.
The point is: she took her responsibility as a Godly mother seriously. And she saw her role in influencing her children for Christ as crucial.