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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #78
Posted: April 7, 2006

PSALM 22:12-21

We continue our study of the great crucifixion, Psalm 22.  Its title ‘The Crying Deer’ is the picture of a dying animal crying out under the pains of death.

We desire to study verses 12-21 which say, Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am proud out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”

This section gives us some of the greatest word pictures in the Bible to illustrate the sufferings of the Son of God.  In verse 12 we see the picture of the ‘bulls of Bashan’.  This was an area known for its fat, strong bulls.  These were the priest, elders, scribes, Pharisees, rulers, and captains stamping their feet, foaming at the mouth and desiring to gore the helpless naked Lamb of God.  In verse 13 we find their mouths open and spewing forth blasphemy like the roar of a wild lion.  O what wickedness the blessed Saviour endured just for me.

In verse 14 we are confronted with a word picture that should bring tears to ones eye that observes this scene.  Our Lord says He is “…poured out like water,” He speaks of the poured out offering which tells of being emptied of ones self.  He says, “…all my bones are out of joint:” There are 206 bones in the human body.  Can we imagine them all being out of joint.  He says His ‘heart melted and ran into his body’.  This may speak of the excessive hidden suffering of Hell that our Saviour suffered.  We may see here that He died of a broken heart.  John Gill said this, “If the heart of Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah melted at His wrath, what heart can endure, or hands be strong when God deals with them in His wrath?”  In verse 15 we have the picture of a clay vessel baked in the fire until there is no moisture in the vessel.  It simply burns with the heat of the fire.  Our Lord’s tongue cleaves to His mouth because of a lack of water.  He who made all water has none.  He has rolled in the dust with His enemy, death.  What humility my Saviour suffered just for me. 

In verse 16 we are confronted with those weaker in position called “…dogs…” and the “….assembly of the wicked…”  They are weaker in position but just as ungodly.  Our Lord said, “…they pierced my hands and feet.”  This could not speak of David, but a greater than David, my Redeemer who died just for me.  The Bible says we were engraved on the palms of His hands.  Could it have taken place when His hands were pierced?

In verse 17 He has endured such suffering He could count all His bones.  He says the crowd stares upon Him.  Can you imagine the gloating and staring at the naked Son of God?  “Let us blush for human nature, and mourn in sympathy with our Redeemer’s shame.  The first Adam made us all naked before God and therefore the second Adam became naked that we might be clothed with His righteousness.” (Spurgeon)  He did it all just for me.

In verse 18 we are reminded of the inspiration of the Bible.  Years before it happened it is recorded in Holy Writ just as it will be.  I am reminded of what our Lord said as they rolled the dice for His clothes.  He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

No wonder in verses 19-21 our Lord returns a prayer to His heavenly Father.  Where could I go, O where could I go seeking a refuge for my soul?  Our Lord asks not that He be right there but in humility asks that He not be far off.  O is that not just like my Saviour who died just for me.

He calls the Father “…my strength,” He asks Him to hasten with help.  Drastic cases demand drastic measures.  This gives a whole new meaning to ‘I am weak but thou art mighty’ or ‘when I am weak then am I strong’. 

The sword of verse 20 speaks of the end of utter death.  He calls Himself the “…darling…” which means ‘my only one’.  The dogs would be those who have hung Him between life and death.

In verse 21 He asked to be saved from the “…lion’s mouth”.  This would be Lucifer, the devil himself coming in for the final blow of death.  Our Lord crying from the horns of the unicorn speaks of the altar of persevering prayer to the Father. 

 I am reminded of the chorus of the great old hymn which says,

Blessed Redeemer, Precious Redeemer, Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s Tree, Wounded and bleeding, For sinners pleading, Blind and unheeding, DYING FOR ME!’