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. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” 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. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
There is not much of an intro to this emotional, raw prayer of David crying out to God. “Where are you? Why have you abandoned me? Why aren’t you listening to my cries?!” We can imagine bunches of emoticons popping up throughout these verses.
Lent should be a season of honesty about ourselves as sinful people. That stark spiritual truth staring back at us in the mirror should drive us to seek more passionately the truth about God’s heart and God’s ways. Here is some Lenten honesty: I don’t pray often enough and honestly enough to even get to this kind of raw communication with God. When I don’t get an answer, I tend to shrug my spiritual shoulders and fall back on Self. “Well, nobody answered the heavenly hotline, so I guess I’ll take care of it myself.” This is a needless, worldly burden that leads to stress and anxiety. At least David, in his misery, is still trusting God, looking to God for answers as he prays day and night (v2).
Verse 3 gives us the keyword in transition: “Yet.” There is a shift from uncertainty to affirmation. “You are enthroned as the Holy One.” You are God. Our fathers put their trust in You and You delivered them. You showed yourself worthy of all that trust. That history of salvation is so important for us to know and remember as New Testament Christians! God has never displayed unfaithfulness; He has never failed to keep his promises. When He seems silent, or absent, or uncaring, He is still working out His perfectly wise and loving plan to provide the richest blessings for His children. Though many will mock or disdain or belittle us (vv6-8) for living by faith, in spite of the circumstances of life, God is still to be trusted as Rescuer (v8a), Deliverer (v8b), Creator (vv9-10), and Helper (v11).
Here’s the ultimate proof of God’s faithfulness: Psalm 22:1 was quoted by none other than the ultimate Son of David – Jesus of Nazareth – when he was hanging on the cross, not just dying, but suffering Hell in the place of his believing people. The Father had truly forsaken the Son by turning His face away; by pouring out divine wrath upon the sinless Son; by punishing the innocent, so that the guilty – YOU AND I! – might go free. If you believe these things, God will never forsake you because He has already forsaken His Son Jesus. Rise O Church, and lift your voices, Christ has conquered death and hell! Worship Christ, the Risen King!
The GRC Children’s Ministry is also providing a family Lenten Devotional which is available here.
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.