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My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

22 March • Friday of the Fifth Week in Lent


Psalm 22:1-31

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of

my groaning?

2  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,

and by night, but I find no rest.

3  Yet you are holy,

enthroned on the praises of Israel.

4  In you our fathers trusted;

they trusted, and you delivered them.

5  To you they cried and were rescued;

in you they trusted and were not put to shame.


6  But I am a worm and not a man,

scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

7  All who see me mock me;

they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

8  “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;

let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”


9  Yet you are he who took me from the womb;

you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.

10 On you was I cast from my birth,

and from my mother's womb you have been my God.

11 Be not far from me,

for trouble is near,

and there is none to help.


12 Many bulls encompass me;

strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

13 they open wide their mouths at me,

like a ravening and roaring lion.

14  I am poured out like water,

and all my bones are out of joint;

my heart is like wax;

it is melted within my breast;

15  my strength is dried up like a potsherd,

and my tongue sticks to my jaws;

you lay me in the dust of death.


16  For dogs encompass me;

a company of evildoers encircles me;

they have pierced my hands and feet —

17  I can count all my bones—

they stare and gloat over me;

18  they divide my garments among them,

and for my clothing they cast lots.


19  But you, O LORD, do not be far off!

O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

20 Deliver my soul from the sword,

my precious life from the power of the dog!

21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!


22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;

in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!

All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,

and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

24 For he has not despised or abhorred

the affliction of the afflicted,

and he has not hidden his face from him,

but has heard, when he cried to him.


25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;

my vows I will perform before those who fear him.

26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;

those who seek him shall praise the LORD!

May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember

and turn to the LORD,

and all the families of the nations

shall worship before you.

28 For kingship belongs to the LORD,

and he rules over the nations.


29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;

before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,

even the one who could not keep himself alive.

30 Posterity shall serve him;

it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;

31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a

people yet unborn,

that he has done it.


Meditation

 

As I read these words from Psalm 22, my mind went ahead to Matthew chapter 27 where many of these words were described in the last days of the human life of Jesus. How could a psalmist know what would happen a few centuries later?


It is God who created time and yet lives within time, going through the sacrifice to be made to make the world anew. The nature of the sacrifice recalls what the troubled people of Israel went through in Egypt before the exodus. The people made a sacrifice, that of an unblemished young lamb, whose blood was splashed on the lintels of their doors so that the angel of death would pass them by. That is why that event is called the Passover, God the righteous judge passing over those whom God is redeeming.


Today we are passed over from death to life, but it is a passing over marked by the words of the anguish depicted in this psalm. While words of this psalm are full of anguish, they are also full of comfort and joy. One does not come without the other.


Do we want comfort and joy? Are we prepared for the anguish recorded in the words of this psalm? It is anguish because our sinful natures are unable to face the depths of our own sin and that of others. We prefer only the comfort and joy of our redeemed selves. Yet God came to see us through, and accompany this anguish of what God the Son in the person of Jesus would go through on the way to, and in the cross itself.


It is a cross which Jesus bore and because Jesus went through it fully, you and I can be accompanied by Jesus when we do bear our own cross. As followers of Jesus, we must brace ourselves to bear our own cross. Such a cross could be the loss of a loved one, the scorn of those whom we have helped, the sacrifice of our ambitions and the failure of our achievements. Each of these 31 verses have a reference to a step in the bearing of a cross. But it also has a reference to the joy and comfort given only by God, as we follow in His footsteps.


We need courage, we need hope but above all, we need the love of God in this ever changing world. We have the never changing word of God to show us this love. God loves us by giving us God’s unchanging word.


Prayer

 

Almighty God, show us Your might by Your Word. Thank You that it is a word spoken and also acted upon. It is not just spoken, but displayed in all its power by those around us and especially by our Lord Jesus Himself. May the reality of the presence of Jesus be made real in our life from day to day through the ever continuing presence of the Holy Spirit. You are God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the blessed three-in-one Person who is a mystery yet real. Thank You for who You are, who You reveal Yourself to be and who is in us today. Amen.


Action

 

Pause from your time of busyness each day to reflect on who God is, what God went through and how God is accompanying you all the time. Through such pauses, enable God to become real in word, thought and spirit.


Dr Lee Soo Ann

President

The Bible Society of Singapore

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