A NEW TESTAMENT PSALM
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
When the Old Testament scrolls were written, they didn’t have headings, titles, and verse numbers like we have now. The books of the Bible were known by their first phrase. For example, the book we now call “Genesis” was known back then by its first phrase, “In the Beginning.” Likewise, the title of each of the Psalms was the first line. For example, Psalm 23 was not known as “Psalm 23.” It was known but it’s first line, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” And in looking at Psalm 22, remember it was not known in the Hebrew Scriptures as Psalm 22. But instead, was known by its first line, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” When we read the rest of Psalm 22, we find that it is a detailed description of the crucifixion of a man. Written down at least 600 to 1000 years before the birth of Jesus. And remember, crucifixion was not even introduced to the Roman Empire until hundreds of years after this Psalm was written. This is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross.
1. When you read the first verse of Psalm 22, do you ever feel like this? Forsaken by God? Wondering where He is in the midst of your trials? If you feel that way, what should you do?
2. When you feel forsaken, has God moved? Is He still as active in the world even when you cannot discern His comings and goings?
3. When Jesus was on the Cross he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Did He really think God the Father had forsaken Him? Or, was he possibly crying out this song title, directing people to read this Psalm that predicted his death on the Cross for our sins?
1. Realize. Jesus’ death on the Cross was not an accident or an afterthought. No one (not the Jews or the Romans) took Jesus’ life. With love, he gave His life on the Cross to pay the penalty we owed for our sins (Read Romans 6:23).
2. Identify. When you have trials or feel forsaken, let these feelings help you identify with Christ. In the Bible He is called the “suffering servant” and a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
Dear Lord, as I ponder your pain and suffering on my behalf, I know my sins are paid for. And when I suffer pain or perplexity, I thank you that in some small way I can identify with you. I know that in this world I will have tribulation, but I am still of good cheer because you have overcome the world and you are with me always, even until the end of the age. You’ll never lead me into hard places where you’re not present. You’ll never leave me or forsake me. As the Lamb of God, you offered yourself once and for all upon the cross. No additional sacrifice for my sin remains to be offered. And no fear of being judged by God for my sin remains. Your perfect love has driven away all fear, uncertainty, pride and anxiety about Judgment Day. I boast and rest in your sufferings for me, Lord Jesus… and I also shout a hearty, “Hallelujah!” In Jesus’ Name, AMEN. (Adapted from Scotty Smith)