Thank goodness we have the Psalms: how helpful they are in our Christian walk, they explore the full range of human experience in a very personal and practical way. However, one psalm, Psalm 22 stands out because Jesus quotes verse 1 as His last words from the Cross. Why did Jesus take us to this psalm? It is obvious when we read the rest of the psalm, the psalm is a prophecy of what Jesus was experiencing on The Cross at the time He spoke it.
David had no understanding God was using Him to deliver a prophecy that provides incredible detail about what Jesus would experience on The Cross one thousand years later. David was obviously going through a terrible time in his life to have expressed the words he did in this prayer but consider that God gave David the words to pray so that His prayer could be used by Jesus to prove He is who He said He was, the promised Redeemer of not only Israel but the World.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you, they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!… 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; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots... ” Psalms 22:1-8
Note how Psalm 22 ends, David understood that regardless of whether God answered his prayer, God is still in control of His universe and this scripture will come to pass:
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God.” Romans 14:11
Moreover, it reveals that King Jesus will rule over the nations from Jerusalem in His soon coming Millennial Kingdom.
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation, I will praise you: 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! 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. From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.“ Psalms 22:22-28
A lot of bad theology inevitably surfaces when we face suffering. When people lose their faith because of suffering, it suggests a weak or nominal faith that didn’t account for or prepare them for evil and suffering. Any faith not based on the truth needs to be lost—the sooner, the better.
Suffering and evil exert a force that either pushes us away from God or pulls us toward Him. But if personal suffering gives sufficient evidence that God doesn’t exist, then surely I shouldn’t wait until I suffer to conclude He’s a myth. If my suffering would one day justify denying God, then I should deny Him now in light of other people’s suffering.
Believing that God exists is not the same as trusting the God who exists. A nominal Christian often discovers in suffering that his faith has been in his church, family, career, or social network, but not Christ. As he faces evil and suffering, he may find his beliefs shaken or even destroyed. But genuine faith—trusting God even when we don’t understand—will be made stronger and purer.
The last three paras have been excerpted from Randy Alcorn’s book “90 Days of God’s Goodness”.