I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation 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 disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help (Psalm 22:22-24).
Thank you…in advance.
This isn’t an “if” statement. David is not negotiating here. There is no, “God, if you do this for me, I will…”
You know…the kind of weak promise I may or may not have made a thousand times.
No, David spoke as if he knew, from the bottom of his being, that God would rescue and restore him.
Because he did
Beloved, consider your yuck today. Look squarely in the face of whatever is grieving and afflicting you. Then, look beyond it to the God who will deliver you as surely as morning follows night. Praise him, loud and clear, for what he will accomplish in and through and for you.
Because he will do it, Beloved.
But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life 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 (Psalm 22:19-21).
Well, it’s about time.
I mean, we’re nineteen verses in, and this is the first time David has actually asked God to help. We certainly get the impression that David has asked for help in the past–and God has been silent–but so far in this Psalm he has been more focused on the problem than on the Solution.
You and I never do that, do we?
Ask him, Beloved. He knows what you’re facing. You don’t have to build a case; just
He is not far off–he promised.
You’re his Beloved, after all.
Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing (Psalm 22:16-18).
For David, this was metaphorical.
For Jesus, not so much.
The Gospel writers point out the prophecy of these lines. As the Word of God, now Son of God, now Lamb of God took on the endless, brutal weight of sin and shame and death, the objects of his sacrifice pointed and laughed and argued over his stuff. They had no idea.
But you do, Beloved. You understand–as well as any mortal mind can–what was happening on that cross. You receive–as well as any mortal heart can–the forgiveness he offers. You walk–as well as mortal feet can–in the love and grace he has given you. You submit–as well as mortal man can–to the One who paid the price of redemption and now calls you his own.
You get it.
So…walk in it today, ya?
Happy Monday, Beloved
Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing 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 away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death (Psalm 22:12-15).
I totally get David here.
After all, I teach middle school–the Bulls of Bashan are coming for me in about two weeks.
You could read this Psalm and think, “Well, no matter how bad things get for me, David had it worse!” And, that may be true, but I don’t think that’s the direction we’re supposed to go here. That way lies comparison and spiritual one-upsmanship. No bueno.
I think these verses are less about comparing our troubles to his than about comparing our God to his.
The One David cried out to is the One who hears you this morning. The One who called David the apple of his eye calls you Beloved.
And he will come for you.
This Psalm isn’t over.
Neither is yours.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help (Psalm 22:11).
Many moons ago, I taught my daughter to ride a bicycle. She had one request of me as she pedaled her wobbly way up and down the sidewalk in front of our house:
Don’t go anywhere.
So I didn’t.
Interesting how little we change as we grow up. When disaster swirls around us and we feel completely in over our heads, our cry is simple.
Don’t go anywhere.
Stay with me.
I heard my daughter’s cry–every single one of the 947 times she uttered it.
I heard her, and I loved her, and I stayed by her side.
And God’s way better at this than I am, so…
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
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 (Psalm 22:9-10).
David had never not known God.
How cool is that?
Notice the pattern here. David is fearful because God does not seem to be responding to his situation. Then, David remembers how faithful God has been to his people through the years, and that knowledge gives him comfort. Then David looks at his own unworthiness and is again tossed into the proverbial Pit of Despair.
And then he remembers God’s faithfulness, this time to him personally.
I came to Christ at age nineteen. Before that, God was there; I just didn’t recognize him. I can look back and see that he protected and provided and cared for me long before I realized what was going on. That’s a rock I can hold onto in the ugly times.
And trust me–I do.
How’s about you, Beloved? Do you remember a time when you did not know God? Can you look back now and see him at work, even before you realized he was working? Can you walk into your Wednesday secure in the knowledge that from the womb you have been loved by the One True God?
Then do so.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved
All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let the Lord deliver him, since he delights in him.” (Psalm 22:7-8).
An innocent man who stands for God, mocked by those who will not believe.
David was in good company.
Matthew tells us that, as he died, Jesus was also mocked. Fools laughed and jeered and challenged Jesus to come down from the cross.
Thank you, Father, that he did not.
Most of us will never be called upon to suffer as David did, let alone as Jesus did. But we all will know pain and loss, sometimes in a way the world can see.
Beloved, when those times come, there are people in the world who will use it as an opportunity to mock you
Even if they do not spit in your face, they will laugh behind your back. It is your job to glorify God in your suffering. Let the world see that you cling to the One who is faithful and true. Like Daniel’s friends, be willing to endure the flames–whatever the outcome.
Because in the end, there is only one opinion that matters, ya?
Stand firm, Beloved.
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. (Psalm 22:6)
You probably haven’t endured exactly this.
But you probably have felt exactly this.
There are days when we look at our lives, our circumstances, our hearts, and realize just how pathetic we are. Perhaps, as in David’s case, we are under attack by those who hate us and what we stand for. Or perhaps we endure the judgement of our own mind and emotions, measuring ourselves against who we want to be, who we think God wants us to be, and finding that we fall short.
We look at Friday’s verse, see God’s faithfulness and power to his children, but have trouble grabbing onto that promise for ourselves. We can’t seem to embrace that grace, because we see so clearly who we are.
Dirt sucking worms.
If, perchance, you find yourself in that place today, let me remind you of three things:
- Emotions are notorious liars and quite untrustworthy.
- You are the Beloved of the Lord of Everything. He has chosen you out of this world to be his. He knows you completely, and loves you utterly.
- This Psalm ain’t over, baby.
Happy Monday, Beloved
In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed (Psalm 22:4-5).
It follows as naturally as weeping follows the alarm clock.
David stops to remember who God is, and that leads to considering what he has done, and that leads to a reminder of God’s faithfulness. God has shown himself faithful throughout the generations. Over and over again, God has proven himself worthy of the trust of his people.
And speaking of that word, Trust–do you think maybe David had a poor vocabulary? I mean, he used it three times in two sentences. Perhaps he couldn’t come up with another word to describe how God’s people put their faith in him? Or could it be that David was reminding himself.
And those who would follow.
God’s people have a long history of trusting him.
God has zero history of bailing on his children.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. (Psalm 22:3).
When we feel down, depressed, stressed, panicky, despairish, it’s easy to forget.
He’s God–with all that entails.
And, he’s on our side.
Look, I don’t know what stressers your day holds, but here’s a thought…
Let’s you and I follow David’s lead and remind ourselves who it is we cry out to.
The Praise of Israel
The Praise of Michael
The Praise of….
Happy Thursday, Beloved.