Psalm 22

This is a song of abandonment and restoration, of utter desolation followed by final bliss. David experienced what must have looked to him like abandonment and desolation during Saul's persecution, but when he was finally placed on the throne of Israel he also experienced a wonderful restoration. To a far more intense degree, David's greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, felt both of these, and this psalm is therefore His.

We need to see that because David was to become the covenant king of Israel, any abandonment he felt was an abandonment of Israel as well, and likewise any restoration was Israel's restoration. In a much deeper and even in an overwhelming sense, the abandonment of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross was indeed the abandonment of all the people of God - their utter condemnation - and His restoration in resurrection is indeed their restoration!

All the feelings that David experienced, therefore, are appropriate for us as well. David leads the people in singing of the utter desolation and total abandonment he felt when it seemed that the Lord would not hear him - when it seemed that he had been finally and forever cast off, cut off from the Lord Who was his only source of life and meaning in this world.

But David doesn't charge his Lord with wrongdoing. He sings, "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel." He explains that what he means is that their fathers trusted God and were delivered in times of crisis, that they cried to Him and didn't need to be ashamed, because He heard them.

But, David says, he hasn't been worthy of such salvation, because, "I am a worm and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people." In fact he even sees himself as being ridiculed by the people, because they see him as deserving his fate, as being abandoned because he deserved to be abandoned.

But we too deserve to be abandoned. We have rebelled against a God Who deserves only love and praise. But, wonder of wonders, our Lord Jesus Christ experienced all the abandonment for us - as though He deserved it! He Who "did always those things that please the Father" had to feel as though He had done NOTHING to please the Father! He experienced OUR guilt.

David, even in the midst of his depression, expressed his utter dependence upon Jehovah, his trust in God from birth to death. He cries out to an apparently unhearing God that he's facing the greatest of enemies, that it's almost too late to save him. The enemy is too strong for him. He says, "Many bulls have surrounded me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. They gape at me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion." The result is desperate: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within me! My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue clings to my jaws! You have brought me to the dust of death."

All the people, too, consider him a lost cause. David says about them that "They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots" - as though he would have no further use of them. So it was for the greater Son of David as well - and so it was for us in Him. Satan could look upon us as lost, as ready for eternal damnation.

But David persisted even then. He had trusted his God from his earliest moments, and he would not cease to pray to Him now - even though he knew himself to be unworthy. He prays what no doubt seemed to him like a final, desperate prayer: "But You, O Lord, do not be far from me!"

So it was also with our Lord, Who, when He was charged with all the sins of all His sponsored people and was guilty with their guilt, called upon His Father nevertheless. And the result explodes forth in David's following words. He literally shouts out, "YOU HAVE ANSWERED ME!"

So it is for ourselves as well. We were lost and abandoned, worthless and deserving of eternal damnation. But He brought us to call upon Him nevertheless, brought us to cast ourselves upon His mercy - and in Him we too are saved!

So our Lord, because He is risen, vindicated, and victorious over Satan and death, can say, "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You!" He would have us to praise Him as well. So He leads us in singing, "You who fear the Lord, praise Him, and fear Him all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, HE HEARD!"

What will be the result? He says that "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord's and He rules over the nations . . . They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that HE HAS DONE THIS!"

Did you deserve to be abandoned? Do you trust in the One Who was abandoned for you? Do you rejoice in HIM?

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Trinidad Bay on the west coast where Pastor Moak resides.  Photo taken by Al.

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