My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.(Psalm 22:1-2)
The Righteous sufferer cries out, in a state of utter dereliction. Abandoned by friends, lovers and evidently, he is even abandoned by His God.
The Question is Why? Why is God silent, unresponsive to his cries, why has he been abandoned in this severe trial? The greatest agony of all is abandonment by God.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.(Psalm 22:3-4)
Perhaps the first phrase is the answer to the previous question. Why has God forsaken Him? Because God is Holy… . The Fathers trusted in God, they cried to Him ,(as the sufferer was currently doing) , They trusted and were not confounded.
Because God is Holy He cannot look upon this particular sufferer, for He is as the scapegoat.
But this sufferer hangs in time between the Fathers of faith who led up to Him, and all of the congregation(the generation to come) who would emerge after him. He is unique and his suffering is unique.
He hangs as a substitute, this is why God forsook Him, He hung in the place of all who came before or who would come after him.
I Am a Worm…
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.(Psalm 22:5-7)
The righteous sufferer has become an object of contempt. His friends and his God have seemingly abandoned him, but his enemies are there to mock his faith, and to jeer at him in his humiliation. The very idea of his trust in God has now been openly scorned.
From my mother’s Belly…
But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. (Psalm 22:8-10)
As he hangs there, humiliated and defeated, the Psalmist recalls that from his very youth He had cast himself upon the LORD. There had never been a time in his earthly life when He had broken faith with His God.
Don’t Be Far from Me…
Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. (Psalm 22:11-13)
Faith in God is his deeply ingrained habit, He never stops looking towards him in trouble, although He had seemingly been forsaken by Him.
The savagery of his enemies is intense, their bitter cruelty knows no bounds. Like wild animals, they surround Him, they smite and mock Him, He is naked and vulnerable before all of them, there is no compassion in their eyes, they hate him.
My Strength Is Dried Up…
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.(Psalm 22:14-18)
As he hangs between Heaven and earth, between God and man, and between the Old and the New Testament, He suffers physically as well as spiritually. His life is draining away, is bones are virtually dislocated, He is drowning yet dying of thirst in the harsh sun.
Gentiles surround him, they are everywhere, mocking, playing, trivializing his sufferings and his life. These are the truly wicked, the calloused dealers of death. They love and respect only power and have no fear of God.
He, this righteous sufferer is so helpless he cannot so much as wipe the sweat from his brow, for they have nailed his hands and feet to the cross which they have impaled him upon. He is naked and vulnerable to their cold stares. His only possessions, his clothes are divided up at his feet.
He is cursed, hanging on a tree, and wears the very crown of the curse, a crown of thorns to re-inforce his humiliation.
Please Don’t Leave Me…
But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. (Psalm 22:19-21)
He still prays desperately to the one He had committed himself unto…He had previously committed all, The LORD had heard him from the altar (unicorn Horns). He calls his own soul , “My darling”, and begs God, his Lord to preserve Him. It would be far worse than any physical sufferings He had endured thus far, to lose his soul.
Part 2 tomorrow