The passage I chose for contemplation today required me to read ahead in order to find comfort. Psalm 22 is famous for the prophecy of Jesus’ death. But like most prophecies, it has multiple fulfillments and applications. Just today, I felt like this a little bit:
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 (Psalm 22: 1-2, NIV)
This is a Psalm of David. Sounds like he Jesus (who quoted this Psalm on the cross) both knew what it feels like when God seems to hang up the phone. I dial him up, then ring, ring: no answer. Not even voice-mail.
This is where I had to read more of the Psalm than allotted today. I read on down to here:
I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
For [the LORD] 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.
… those who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever! (Psalm 22: 22, 24, 26b, NIV)
So, in the end, God does pick up the phone and listen!
I noticed that there were a bunch of steps in between that perhaps helped the Psalmist arrive at the final hopeful conclusion of the Psalm. I shall therefore enumerate what I need to do based on Psalm 22:
- Remember that the One who seems far off is the Holy God of the Universe, someones worthy of love (vs.3), someone who I can trust because He has taken care of me in the past. (Vs. 4-5)
- Even when I feel put upon by circumstances (vs. 6-8), remember that God gave me life and has sustained me ever since (vs. 9-10).
- Repeat (and keep repeating!) my request for God to remain close because He is the only One who can truly help me with life’s troubles (vs. 11)
- The next seven verses (vs. 12-18) are an almost perfect description of what Jesus suffered on the cross – written 1000 years before the fact. It helps to know that Jesus understands my difficulties – which is nothing compared to his suffering. And that if He suffered for me, everything He gives – distressing situations and disquieting silence – is borne by the level of love that took Him to the cross.
- Again, call more often on the Lord to stay with me, to give me strength, deliverance, and rescue as I face circumstances that overwhelm me. (vs. 19-21)
- No matter how I feel, keep teaching the Bible and worshiping God (vs. 22). Plus more deliberately and more frequently stop to praise God (vs. 23).
- Realize that God is in complete control of all that happens in every life, family, and nation. No matter how it feels, my circumstances are part of the plan (vs. 27-29).
In the end, everyone will praise God.
Because He does what needs to be done. (vs. 30-31)
Readings: Exodus 35:1-36:38, Psalm 22: 1-8, Proverbs 8:6-11, Matthew 26:26-56. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.