Summary: Everyone goes through struggles in life’s journey and everyone has an option on how to view that struggle. We can take it as a time to wreck us or as a time to look to the Word of God and lean on God to pull us through.
Value of Suffering
The background of Psalm 22 is some event or series of events in David’s life when he went through much opposition and physical abuse. While suffering on the cross, Jesus quoted part of the first verse. He may have quoted all of it but was so weak the crowd only heard the part recorded in Matthew’s gospel. The journey the psalmist made from depression to victory gives us strength for our days of adversity.
I. Sufferings and plea for deliverance (vv. 1-5)
a. Every person has at some time, like David, felt that God has neglected to answer his prayers.
i. When such a time comes, God seems so far away that he cannot be reached even with repeated petitions.
b. Yet one who has known God in days past knows God is sovereign in power and righteous in character.
i. The psalmist pleaded with God on the basis of his previous mercy to the nation.
ii. The fact that earlier generations trusted in God and were not disappointed made the psalmist confident and caused him to cry out for deliverance in his own crisis.
II. Innocent victim of scornful persecutors (vv. 6-21)
a. No Christian can read this portion of the psalm without being vividly confronted with the crucifixion of Jesus.
i. This song must have been one that we memorized and quoted by all careful students in Hebrew Scriptures.
ii. These detailed statements used by New Testament writers to tell of Jesus’ experience are amazing.
iii. We are startled to realize how God breathed words into David concerning his own suffering that would be reiterated and amplified in the life of the coming Messiah.
iv. Five times he penned words that were picked up by the Gospels in connection with the death of Jesus.
b. The intensity of the suffering seems to transcend the limits endured by any ordinary human such as David.
i. Therefore, scholars see in him the ideal righteous sufferer, fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who did for our sins.
ii. Indeed, the most striking part of these verses is the sufferer’s humility as he refused to cry out for vengeance on those who were causing him pain.
iii. No one but Jesus could have lived and died so nobly.
III. Anticipated victory of the sufferer (vv. 22-31)
a. Beginning with verse 22, the psalmist’s entire outlook changed.
i. He considered his two outbursts of prayer (vv. 11, 19-21) completely answered and he continued the psalm from that viewpoint.
ii. He looked forward with confidence, considering his deliverance an accomplished fact.
1. First, he told of his intention to go to the place where believers gathered to worship that he might express in their presence his gratitude for God’s mercy.
a. Calling upon others to join him in praise, he also assured the people that he would fulfill the pledges he had made to God, which included the bringing of gifts to the sanctuary.
b. What a beautiful parallel to our bringing our tithes and offerings for God’s work to be accomplished.
b. The psalmist then looked out beyond his small world to see the nations that did not know his God.
i. He was convinced that as a result of his sufferings and deliverance, they too would hear of God’s great deliverance and turn to the Lord in love and service.
ii. Generations yet to be born would be told about this God who redeems.
iii. God’s kingdom would know no end.
iv. It would bring the proud down in humility, and the family of God would worship in peace and plenty.
v. All of this would take place because God’s servant had suffered and called upon God in the midst of unbearable adversity.
vi. What a tribute to god and what a lesson to us who are called upon to suffer the arrows unjust people heap upon us.
vii. Whatever else we learn from life and the Lord in our suffering, we come to see that our suffering can be redemptive, and this is the most glorious truth of all.
This psalm is more than a foreshadowing of Christ’s death. It is a picture of how all believers can approach suffering. We can use it as a lever to lift ourselves to a higher knowledge of God’s nature and character. Suffering also can become a tool by which we who are believers can live redemptively, helping to heal the hurts of this battered world.