Weekly Word – Psalm 22

I’m sharing thoughts on a Psalm each week for the college students I work with.  This week would be Psalm 9, but it seems appropriate to skip ahead to Psalm 22.

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.

These are the words Jesus cries out on the cross.  He is quoting the words of David in Psalm 22.  Go ahead and read that Psalm now.

(Welcome back)

Jesus cries out to God the Father, being separated from God for the first time in all eternity (if you believe in the Trinity, God is literally broken in half here).  At the same time, Psalm 22:3 says:

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises

He talks about how his ancestors trusted in God(22:4-5) and how he is mocked by trusting in God (22:6-8)  The Psalm continues with cries for God not to be far as the darkness and evil surrounds him.  Is it too much to marvel at how, in the midst of the existential despair of feeling forsaken, the Psalmist continues to pray to God?

After all, Jesus still says “My God.”  This is not any sort of rejection of God, but a cry of how the God who is could be absent in the darkness.

With this in mind, the second half of the Psalm becomes more positive.  Like in other Psalms, this shows the faith of the writer as the situation has not changed yet the attitude changes.  Even in darkness, the Psalmist finds a way to praise:

I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he 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.

Jesus cries out, asking how God could be absent.  Have you ever felt like Jesus here? Have you ever faced such a darkness, such trial in your life, that you wonder if God abandoned you?

At the same time, Jesus trusted in God the Father and this Psalm, as well as his life, points us t hope in the despair.  God may seem absent, but God is always there.  God may seem absent, but God also raises the dead!

Where can you find hope in the midst of the darkness?

Know one thing, its Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

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