In the most general sense, Psalm 22 is about a person who is crying out to God to save him from the taunts and torments of his enemies, and (in the last ten verses) thanking God for rescuing him. Jewish interpretations of Psalm 22 identify the individual in the psalm with a royal figure, usually King David or Queen Esther. Esther is described in the Book of Esther as a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. In the narrative, Ahasuerus seeks a new wife after his queen, Vashti, refuses to obey him, and Esther is chosen for her beauty. The king’s chief advisor, Haman, is offended by Esther’s cousin and guard.Psalm 22 is the prayer of a suffering martyr, who suffers unto death for the sake of his people, and is about salvation and resurrection by God as an answer to prayer. Great Jewish commentators like Rashi understood that in this chapter David is not only speaking about himself, but about the coming Messiah. The Jewish Sages contemplate Psalm 22. Now, we would like to demonstrate how even our Jewish Sages recognized and admitted that Psalm 22 was a prophetic psalm about the Messiah. In fact, Rashi explains verse 27 as referring: “To the time of redemption, to the days of the Messiah.”
Because Christ suffered on the cross for our salvation, we must proclaim it to all nations.
(1) Put the cross at the center of your walk with God.
(2) When I focus daily on the cross, my heart is filled with joy and thankfulness for God’s priceless gift to me.
It reads in Psalm 22:1-31, NIV
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” 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 on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him, may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him, those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!
“Christ’s sufferings and exaltation.”
Poem of Psalms 22 © Isaac Watts
Now let our mournful songs record
The dying sorrows of our Lord,
When he complained in tears and blood,
As one forsaken of his God.
The Jews beheld him thus forlorn,
And shake their heads, and laugh in scorn:
“He rescued others from the grave;
Now let him try himself to save.
“This is the man did once pretend
God was his Father and his Friend
If God the blessed loved him so,
Why doth he fail to help him now?”
Barbarous people! cruel priests!
How they stood round like savage beasts!
Like lions gaping to devour,
When God had left him in their power.
They wound his head, his hands, his feet,
Till streams of blood each other meet;
By lot his garments they divide,
And mock the pangs in which he died.
But God, his Father, heard his cry;
Raised from the dead, he reigns on high,
The nations learn his righteousness,
And humble sinners taste his grace.
Isaac Watts was an English Congregational minister, hymn writer, theologian, and logician. He was a prolific and popular hymn writer and is credited with some 750 hymns. His works include “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, “Joy to the World”, and “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”. He is recognized as the “Godfather of English Hymnody”; many of his hymns remain in use today and have been translated into numerous languages.
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