We step this week
into a rather lengthy study of Psalm 22. This has been called by many
the Psalm of the Cross. The title gives us a hint of this belief.
The title is To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm
of David. The phrase Aijeleth Shahar is the word for a
mourning hind or crying deer. It is the metaphor of a dying deer
giving its final pathetic cries. It seems the cries fall upon deaf
ears. Davids troubles may be in a very modified sense, but he who
sees Jesus will not care to see David.
Let us begin our
study this week with the first five verses of the Psalm which say,
My God, my
God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me,
and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but
thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou
art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers
trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried
unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not
The opening phrase
of our text causes us to hang on every word for it is the key to this
Psalm. It begins with a word of why. The question of the
ages is why would the God of heaven forsake His darling son?
The word hast tells us it was a forgone conclusion and action
done in the past with present affects. He is the Lamb slain before
the foundation of the world. The word thou returns our
thoughts to the opening of this Psalm when the cry is My God, my
God. Our Saviour has had a personal relationship with the Father
emphasized by the word My. The word God is the word
El the almighty one who gives strength. I can understand
Judas and Peter turning their back on the Saviour but not thou.
The phrase forsaken me is the words of one who has been made
an orphan. He who was heavens darling glory now is an orphan all
because of my sins.
The text tells us
in verse 1 that He is far from helping him. The phrase indicates
there is a prayer being uttered but when the Saviour hears no answer
to His prayer He is left to roaring. It is a groan of sorrow
from one who is dying alone with no one to comfort him. It has been
said by some that the desertion of the Son of God prevents my final
desertion and comforts me in my present desertion. Glory to His name!
O what a Saviour is mine.
In verse 2 we are
taught the great lessons of importunity in prayer. The word means the
continual coming, asking, knocking, and seeking. We are reminded that
man ought always to pray and not faint. Our Lord began His prayer
in the garden the night before and continued the next day even when
His Midday turned to Midnight. O let us not lose heart in our prayers
even when there is no answer. Let us pray without ceasing.
Our Saviour when
the heavens were silent in verse 3 did not chide His Father but
magnified Him as the Holy One. It was His holiness that caused Him to
turn His back upon His son who had been made sin for me. When in our
prayers, if He is silent, let us remember because of His holiness He
is working a far better and good work in our behalf.
In verse 4 our
Saviour used a masterful weapon from the arsenal of prayer. It is
that of reminding God of His past dealings with His children. We are
told they trusted and continued to trust in the Lord. The
word means to rest all the weight upon another and because of this He
delivered them. Let us not grow weary in our prayers but let us trust
in Him with all our hearts. He will yet deliver us. It may not be in
a manner of our choosing but deliverance will come.
In verse 5 we are
told that their trust now mentioned three times did not leave them confounded.
The word confound means to be shoved into disappointment. A
wholehearted trust in our Lord will always bring confident expectation
Little did I know
that the happenings of the cross would teach so many lessons on
prayer. How our Saviours work on Calvary causes me to break out in
the thoughts of Sweet Hour of Prayer which says,
Sweet Hour of
Prayer, Sweet Hour of Prayer,
That calls me from a world of care
And bids me at my Fathers throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempters snare
By thy return Sweet Hour of Prayer.
May our crosses find us much in prayer.