Sunday August 1st, 2010
To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A Psalm of David.
My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
Why are you so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
Psalm 22 is a wonderful Psalm. It is prophetic of Jesus’ crucifixion. I wonder what David was thinking when he wrote it. The torturous death that David describes in detail had not yet been invented. However, David didn’t only write this Psalm, he set it to music. I don’t know what “Deer of the Dawn” sounded like, but I’m sure I would like to hear it.
Of course the first verse of this Psalm is famous, since it is quoted by Jesus on the cross at the ninth hour. (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34) Perhaps this was to draw the attention of whoever was there to the Psalm they learned as children. Just the first line alone is troubling. Who has God forsaken? Who is God far from helping and who’s groaning words does God ignore? Is God not known for coming to the rescue of His people? Did He not send Moses back to free people as they groaned under slavery in Egypt? Did He not stay with them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in the wilderness? Did He not feed them manna for which they neither toiled nor reaped, but simply gathered every morning? Did God not rescue His people time after time in the book of Judges when they followed false idols and played the harlot with false gods? Did He not bring them back from captivity and restore the temple through Nehemiah and did He not bring forth the Messiah, just as He promised? My God does all these things, and even the evil have not been forsaken. I know because I was one. So was Saul who became Paul. The only One that God forsook was His one and only Son. The only One that He didn’t help was Jesus off the cross. The only groaning He ignored was the cry of Jesus as He was beaten for my sin. David sang this in song, and I wonder if Jesus sang this with His disciples when they sang a hymn. (Matthew 26:30) Jesus lived this Psalm out. I read it in awe of what Jesus did for me, and in awe of the prophetic Word of God.